Hamilton retirement fears partly why Silverstone used British GP exit clause

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Concern that Lewis Hamilton could walk away from Formula 1 had factored into Silverstone's decision to break their previous British GP contract.

Last year, circuit owners, the BRDC, triggered an exit clause in a 17-year deal signed with Bernie Ecclestone a decade ago citing the increased costs of hosting the race.

Fears that this would be the final race at Silverstone were eased on Wednesday, however, when a new five-year contract was announced with Liberty Media.

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But commenting on the decision to seek a new deal, BRDC chairman John Grant admits the loss of Hamilton as the star attraction had played a role.

“We were very bothered about that because we were worried he was going to retire early before we had replacements in place,” he told RaceFans in an interview.

“Now we think he’s going to stay there long enough, so we’re not too bothered about that.

“There would be an impact [if Hamilton retired] but demand is so strong at the moment that we think we’re pretty well covered.

"And actually starting from a sounder contract and a sounder business arrangement we can absorb that risk better than we would be able to before," he added.

Also encouraging the Silverstone bosses is the emergence of the next generation of British drivers, who appear more than capable of taking over Hamilton's role.

“We’ve got the youngsters coming up which make us feel a bit warmer because Lando [Norris] is great, George Russell’s great, very personable, Alex Albon [who races under a Thai licence] as well.”

The only possible threat the circuit feared was Liberty's desire for a London Grand Prix in the future, however, it is also reported under the new deal, that is not going to happen before 2023.