Axing of F1 race worries backers

Formula One is facing a potential revolt from its UK sponsors should the British Grand Prix be axed from the schedule next year.

Sponsors such as Vodafone have expressed concern that the race could be cancelled. A company insider says that Silverstone is a crucial part of the company’s corporate hospitality calendar and is used for consumer race day promotions. She adds that the company would “make its views known”.

Jim Wright, marketing director for the BMW Williams team, whose partners include GlaxoSmith-Kline’s NiQuitin, Hewlett-Packard, Hamleys and Budweiser, admits that “all our sponsors want a British Grand Prix.”

Foster’s, which holds the headline sponsorship rights to the British Grand Prix, is also worried about the prospect of the race being axed, claims a company insider. ITV may also find it hard to secure a broadcast sponsor for next season if the UK race is pulled. The Daily Telegraph’s broadcast sponsorship ends this season.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone dropped Silverstone last week, but the race could be reinstated should Ecclestone strike a last-minute deal with the British Racing Drivers’ Club, which owns Silverstone.

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