The British Government has referred the deal between Octagon Motorsports and the BRDC over the British Grand Prix to the Competitions Commission. At the request of Trade Secretary Stephen Byers, the 15-year deal that secured the race at Silverstone is being investigated. However, a statement from Octagon suggests that the focus of the investigation relates to British Motorsport Promoters Ltd, the alliance formed by all the major circuits in the UK to promote national racing on two and four wheels. With direct control over five of the 11 circuits within BMP, Octagon is in a position to wield significant influence over the new organisation.
Industry reaction suggests that the investigation may involve other areas of activity, as Byers referred to the “market for the provision of motor racing and related activities.” It is believed that track days may be an area to be investigated. Late last year, Octagon’s stance on the provision of track days through independent organisations was referred to the Office of Fair Trading.
“We are surprised by the referral,” said Jackie Stewart, President of the BRDC. “Having worked so hand to bring certainty to the future of the British GP, this referral is a complication that we believe needs to be dealt with promptly, to remove any doubt about this country’s commitment to a sport and industry that, together, represent one of our greatest achievements.”