This year's British Grand Prix contributed to a record £3m profit for the British Racing Drivers Club, but the event remains in financial straits.
According to the BRDC’s accounts for the year ending 31 December 2014 distributed to members in advance of its AGM next Wednesday and reported in The Independent this weekend, the race attracted 120,000 spectators making it the third-biggest crowd ever at Silverstone largely thanks to the home appeal of Lewis Hamilton.
A new system of pricing tickets was also said to be responsible for an increase of 20,000 in crowd numbers, while at the same time the circuit managed to reduce staff costs by £1.2m from £5.6m
Overall revenue rose £2.8m to £54.7m with half of that coming from the Grand Prix, and the rest from other events and track hire. A revaluation of the track, plant and machinery by the property specialist Jones Lang Lasalle also helped boost the figures, at least on paper.
"Our assets are static," warned Silverstone's chief executive Patrick Allen. "We can revalue them and that fixes a hole in our balance sheet which, when I was brought in, was pretty weak and, to be honest, remains so. What it needs is a capital injection."
However the future of the British Grand Prix nonetheless remains in the balance: while £3m in profit sounds good in isolation it's nowhere near the reported £16m that Silverstone needs to find for the annual hosting fee is has to pay Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Management (FOM) company.
"If I could magic up another £15m without affecting the balance sheet that would give us a great leap forward to secure the future for the Grand Prix," said Allen.
It's believed that Silverstone already receives a substantial dispensation on the fee in recognition of Silverstone's historic significant in the sport, but Ecclestone has ruled out any further lowering of the fee in future and called instead for a state subsidy to put Silverstone on an equal footing with the majority of publicly-financed venues around the world.
"Our Government should support the British Grand Prix," Ecclestone is reported as telling The Mail On Sunday newspaper. "They supported the Olympics and that cost a fortune, plus other events."