Silverstone Circuit owners, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC), have triggered a break clause in their contract with the owners of Formula 1, Liberty Media, meaning the track will no longer host the British Grand Prix after 2019, unless a new deal can be agreed.
The circuit, which hosted the first championship race in 1950, has been struggling financially in recent years, its plight exacerbated by the five per cent annual increase it must pay on its Promoter's Fee to Formula 1 as part of its contract.
Silverstone agreed a 17-year deal with Formula 1 from 2010 through to 2026, though a break clause was inserted in the contract, allowing the event to be dropped after 2019, though this had to be triggered before the 2017 Grand Prix, which takes place this weekend.
On Tuesday, the BRDC formally announced that it had activated the break clause in its contract.
"This decision has been taken because it is not financially viable for us to deliver the British Grand Prix under the terms of our current contract," John Grant, chairman of the BRDC, said.
"We sustained losses of £2.8m in 2015 and £4.8m in 2016, and we expect to lose a similar amount this year. We have reached the tipping point where we can no longer let our passion for the sport rule our heads.
"It would not only risk the very future of Silverstone and the BRDC, but also the British motorsport community that depends on us."
Grant is however hopeful a new deal can be agreed in future at a lower rate with Liberty Media, though this in turn could trigger promoters of other Grands Prix to adopt a similar approach.
"I want to be clear that although we have now activated the break clause, we are fully supportive of the changes the Liberty team are making to improve the F1 experience," he said.
"Our hope is that an agreement can still be reached, so that we can ensure a sustainable and financially viable future for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone for many years to come."