F1 »

Gillett: Extension of Donington British GP deal proves Ecclestone belief

The original ten-year contract for Donington Park to host the British Grand Prix has been extended to 17 years, it is understood – with Simon Gillett arguing that the move is a vote of confidence from Formula 1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone and proves his belief in the oft-criticised project.

The agreement for Donington to replace traditional home Silverstone as the venue for what is incontrovertibly the blue riband event on the UK motorsport calendar has been received with a good deal of cynicism and scepticism by paddock observers, and has met with persistent stumbling blocks ranging from a shortfall of funding to the departure of Gillett's business partner Lee Gill and the temporary loss of its racing licence on safety grounds, leading to the consequent enforced and embarrassing cancellation of a number of meetings.

The many naysayers predicted that the final nail in the coffin had been hammered in when circuit owner Tom Wheatcroft launched a legal writ against Gillett's Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd (DVLL) company in April for £2.47 million in unpaid rent. That left the latter's ambitious and costly redevelopment of the track to bring it up to the necessary F1 standard looking to be dead in the water barely a year away from when it was due to welcome the top flight back for the first time in almost two decades, having previously staged the rain-lashed European Grand Prix in 1993, so famously dominated by the late, great three-time F1 World Champion Ayrton Senna.

However, there has been good news of late, with the – albeit belated – approval of planning permission for the work, an out-of-court settlement with Wheatcroft & Son Ltd last month and, appropriately enough given that they say things come in threes, Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive Ecclestone's willingness to prolong the deal from ten years to 17, taking it right up to 2027.

What's more, Gillett has revealed that the cost of redeveloping the Leicestershire site has fallen by 20 per cent from £100 million to £80 million – and the Englishman is confident that after coping with crowd figures of some 135,000 over the Download music festival at the weekend, there will be no issues in successfully managing the number of spectators likely to attend over the course of a three-day grand prix event.

“Bernie Ecclestone has agreed to give us a seven-year extension, so we're now at 17 years running from 2010,” the DVLL chief executive is quoted as having said by the BBC. “That's a nice rubber stamp from Bernie himself to say he believes in Donington and he wants to have a long-term relationship with it.

“We've been through the value engineering process and worked out some of the costs. Because of the credit crunch the cost of building has come down in price, so put all that together and we're at about £80 million now.”


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Simon Gillett - Donington Park
French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard
Lando Norris, McLaren Autosport BRDC Awards [Credit: Martyn Pass PR]
Kimi Raikkonen tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Lewis Hamilton tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Daniel Ricciardo tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Kimi Raikkonen tests the 2017 F1 tyres in Abu Dhabi [credit: Pirelli]
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, Roger Federer (SUI) tennis player and Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of FOM
27.11.2016 - Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of FOM
27.11.2016 - Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of FOM
27.11.2016 - Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of FOM
26.11.2016 - Qualifying, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of FOM office
26.11.2016 - Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of FOM and Flavio Briatore (ITA)
26.11.2016 - Free Practice 3, Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of FOM
26.11.2016 - Free Practice 3, (L-R) Fabiana Flosi (BRA), Wife of Bernie Ecclestone and Piero Ferrari (ITA) Vice-President Ferrari
26.11.2016 - Bernie Ecclestone (GBR), President and CEO of FOM, Fabiana Flosi (BRA), Wife of Bernie Ecclestone and Christian Horner (GBR), Red Bull Racing, Sporting Director
26.11.2016 - Free Practice 3, Fabiana Flosi (BRA), Wife of Bernie Ecclestone

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


topdog - Unregistered

June 16, 2009 9:39 AM

7 years seems to be a common length of extension for Bernie and circuits, although admittedly not often before the first race has actually taken place. But has anyone else noticed the timing of this story? One year (bar a few weeks) from the original announcement, and on the eve of the British GP at Silverstone AGAIN.... surely a case of turning the knife that has already been inserted.....

andrewm

June 15, 2009 10:03 PM

Well, I'm glad to see the back of Silverstone for a while. The race there always bores the socks off me unless it's wet. Hopefully Donnington will be a success. Hannah, 17 years is not uncommon for a commercial lease in my experience by your right a 15 or 20 year lease would certainly make more sense. It'll all depend on the agreement between the track owner, Gillet and Bernie. Probably Bernie has worked out that 17 years is best length for the maximum profits. Here's a thought, if Bernie shaved his head and lost the glasses he would look like Mini-Me. At the moment he looks like a geriatric Harry Potter. :)



© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.