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Gap year for British GP?

Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he would be prepared to give Donington Park the chance to postpone its first British Grand Prix until 2011 if work at the circuit isn't completed in time.

Ecclestone met with Donington Park chief Simon Gillett in London to discuss progress at the East Midlands circuit, which has been beset by problems in recent months.

Firstly, the circuit saw its racing licence revoked after work to create a tunnel into the infield reduced the run-off between McLeans and Coppice while Donington Park Ventures Limited was then informed that it was being sued by circuit owner Tom Wheatcroft for unpaid rent.

The unpaid rent issue will be discussed in a hearing in the coming weeks, although racing had now resumed at the venue following revisions to the circuit works, which has enabled a licence to be issued.

Doubts still exist however over whether the circuit will be ready in time, with Ecclestone revealing that he would be prepared to give the British GP a gap year in 2010 – with a move back to Silverstone not an option.

“If the work at Donington is not finished in time, we would be happy to skip a year,” he told The Times. “I don't want to lose the British Grand Prix — that's the last thing we want to do, but we aren't going to Silverstone for sure.

“I think they [Donington Park] are getting their act together, I think they are getting things up and running. The debt will be sorted out. It's not a problem and raising money from the banks is looking positive.”


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Donington boss Simon Gillett
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16.04.2017 - Race, Zak Brown (USA) McLaren Executive Director and Bernie Ecclestone (GBR)
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Alan D - Unregistered

May 12, 2009 12:46 PM

A move back to Silverstone is "not an option". In other words, snubbing Silverstone is more important to Bernie than having a British GP. Countries like Britain and France are the historic heartland of Formula 1, and it is shameful that he is so happy to cut traditional GPs in favour of countries with no motor racing tradition. On some of these new circuits, it sounds like they are never used outside of the annual F1 visit because there is just not enough local interest in motor sports, unlike British circuits where there is a variety of classes, on two wheels and four, taking place most weekends.

Janet - Unregistered

May 12, 2009 12:56 PM

I completely agree with Alan D's comment - and if Donington isn't ready for 2010, why not hold a British Grand Prix at Silverstone? The circuit has proved it's ready and able - last year's GP was hailed as one of the most successful - DESPITE the poor weather. Bernie definitely has a grudge against Silverstone - and is willing to sacrifice a great BRITISH event for the sake of pettiness



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