Welcome to the beta version of the new Women & Golf website. Our web monkeys are still hard at work and welcome your feedback.  


Robin Miller: What now for Britain's MotoGP round?

Britain’s MotoGP round will take place at Silverstone on August 27, 2017. Short, that is, of World War III breaking out – which is not entirely unlikely given the rantings of the two mad men who rule the United States and North Korea.

But the certainty of it happening was thrown into serious doubt following the collapse of the Circuit of Wales project when the Welsh government decided to withdraw support. The issue? Money. Who was going to pay for it continuing to be held at the Northamptonshire circuit.

To recap. When the British Racing Drivers Club, owners of Silverstone, decided they weren’t going to pay Dorna’s fee, circa €4m, any more the Spanish owners succumbed to the blandishments of the Welsh company who promised them more in order to give the project credibility.


The deal, which suited both Dorna and Silverstone, was that CoW would rent Silverstone, making sure the event happened pending the construction of the circuit, and Dorna would get their fee. Perfect.
The Welsh government, lured by the sexy prospect of creating a huge industrial area focussing on motor sport and employing hundreds of people in a deprived area, divied up £9m and agreed to underwrite many millions more provided that private money could be brought in.

Not surprisingly this took longer than anticipated and, in fact, has never happened. Those who were interested, including Insurance giant Aviva, could not be given the guarantees they required. Two months ago the Welsh government lost patience and, effectively, pulled the plug. Their money, it has to be assumed, has been spent, directors have left various companies and lawyers are being put to work.

During this period it is also assumed that Silverstone and Dorna were being paid. But it is highly unlikely that they have got all the money owed because there wasn’t enough of it. Indeed, it is rumoured that mortgages were taken out on the leaders personal properties to ensure some payments were made to the creditors.

Back to the British MotoGP in three weeks time. In the light of what can only be termed a financial crisis, the question which has caused much debate between circuit owner and promoter over the last few weeks/months is ‘What’s the deal?’

Dorna found themselves in a very embarrassing situation with their decision to back the Welsh project. It was high risk and they should have known better. Unlike other countries, Spain in particular, UK governments have no fondness for backing projects of this nature especially involving a motor racing circuit, which was supposed to the big come on with the promise of MotoGP, and became its big turnoff.

But Dorna were between a rock and a hard place. They quickly realised it was running into the sands but for them to back out would cause its collapse for which they would get all the blame. So they had to wait.

But the British round was looming, tickets were being sold, what were they to do? Doing a deal with Silverstone was their only option because it was probably too late to switch to Donington, the only other British circuit able to run MotoGP.

They could, of course, have called the whole thing off and that possibility almost certainly came into the equation. But pressure from manufacturers and others, plus their own loyalty to the history and value of a British round, won the day.

There will have been some financial wrangling between circuit and promoter and one, or probably both, will have taken a haircut with their fees. So the show will go on and hallelujha to that.
But the interesting question is, where will MotoGP be in 2018? There is no great love lost between Silverstone and Dorna following the previous dealings which ended in Dorna’s departure to the Welsh valleys. And BRDC chairman John Grant is no soft touch when negotiating fees as Formula 1 and its US owners Liberty Media have found out when they received notice to quit unless they reduced theirs.
The only alternative is Donington.


They would quite like to have MotoGP but they would have to spend money and new owner Jonathan Palmer does not find anything compelling unless he can make money. And to do that he and his colleagues Messrs Higgs and Tate would not be looking to pay what, in their terms, might be called silly money, i.e. less than Dorna were promised by CoW. But at least they would get it.

So neither circuit wants it badly enough to, in their terms, overpay. How badly do Dorna, the FIM and the manufacturers and sponsors want a British Grand Prix?

Articles you may like


More MotoGP

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram