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LEWIS HAMILTON has put the pressure on Formula One’s owners Liberty Media to agree a new deal with Silverstone, insisting the sport cannot afford to walk away from the British Grand Prix.
Next month’s race is due to be the last staged at the Northamptonshire track unless a contract extension is agreed.
The race organisers had hoped to have a fresh deal in place at least a month before this year’s event. However, with just over a fortnight to go, talks remain ongoing.
It is understood that discussions have taken place this week, with an additional meeting pencilled in for after this weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix.
Hamilton, who has won five times at Silverstone, will head into his home race on July 14 as the championship leader, regardless of what happens at the Red Bull Ring on Sunday.
“I truly believe Liberty have got to keep Formula One in the UK and particularly Silverstone,” said Hamilton.
“It is an awesome track, an awesome place, with one of the biggest attendances of the season. You can’t turn your back on that.
“There are some really awesome circuits and Silverstone is one of those. The UK is the foundation of what this sport is.
“If you take away the legendary races and you are left with only new ones, you lose all of the history and culture of what makes Formula One what it is.”
Ahead of the 2017 British Grand Prix, Silverstone triggered a break clause in its contract in the hope of negotiating a better deal amid escalating hosting costs.
It was a public move that did not sit well with Liberty, who were just seven months into their reign at the time.
Liberty are keen to expand the calendar from 21 to 25 races and take the sport to major cities.
Vietnam will stage a race for the first time next year on the streets of its capital city Hanoi, while Zandvoort, 25 miles outside of Amsterdam, is also returning to the calendar after a three-decade absence in 2020.
Silverstone has been an ever-present on the calendar since 1987, while the British Grand Prix has held a permanent slot since the sport’s inception 69 years ago.
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