Current situation. Lewis Hamilton is beating all and sundry. The weather in the UK is turning warmer (at the time of writing) and Silverstone is readying itself for the biggest event of its year. It’s said on raceday, Silverstone has the biggest amount of air traffic anywhere in the world on this date, beating New York, Heathrow and LAX. But will this continue?
In recent days, Silverstone has announced that 95% of its raceday tickets for paying punters are sold out. This is a direct result of Silverstone – under new MD Patrick Allen – reducing its packages sizeably so race goers don’t have to remortgage their homes just to watch this annual spectacle. A full Silverstone is great for the race and the track. Hark back to the days of “Our Nige” and Damon Hill, they would both bask in the glow of the cheers from the crowd. A full house will definitely help the British drivers – Hamilton, Button, Stevens – in their drive for glory. And to complete the perfect circle, the fans love and adore the ambience, noise and colour of the event.
But what about corporate entertainment. Are clients taking their customers, staff and suppliers to the jewel in the UK motor racing calendar? Corporate entertainment is managed mainly by Bernie Eccelstone’s commercial rights to the GP. The Paddock Club is the official corporate entertainment package affiliated to the GP Circus, but with a 2 –day ticket cost £3350 per person you can see why Silverstone have been successful. A £95 ticket will be seized upon by both corporate and race-goers.
Other businesses do set up their facilities, but these come at serious costs too and when return on investment is still very much in the thinking of CEOs and FDs, the pricing initiatives by Silverstone could have totally ended the need for corporate hospitality at “the home of British motor racing”. Not sure what Bernie will think of this when he checks his bank account the day after the GP, yet Silverstone have made a point. The British GP is about the fan. Every fan.
So, maybe, the air traffic above Silverstone will be heavy after all. The saving’s made by business on tickets ensure they can spend their budget on other things – like a traffic-beating trip in a helicopter.