Bernie Ecclestone has granted those hoping to establish Donington Park as the new home of the British Grand Prix a temporary reprieve before deciding where next year's event should be held.
Although only a matter of days, Formula One's commercial mastermind hopes that the period of grace will allow Simon Gillett enough time to finalise the financial arrangements he needs to cement the circuit - which is currently undergoing a five-year £100m makeover to bring it up to F1 standards - on the 2010 calendar. Should he be unable to do so, Ecclestone has warned that the event will switch back to Silverstone for next season, a move that could have potential knock-on effects for the Donington project.
"[The deadline] was at the end of September, but I think we may extend it a bit - by two or three days," Ecclestone told Reuters
reporters in Singapore, "I think we have given them until 3 October.
"Their problem is a financial one, it is them getting the money together. Everything was done and ready and, when this [global financial] crisis arrived, the banks pulled the plug on them."
The 2010 British Grand Prix has been provisionally scheduled for 11 July, returning the event to its traditional mid-summer slot after a brief June sojourn this season, but has pitched the race in direct competition with football's World Cup final, which is due to take place in South Africa on the same day, albeit several hours after the F1 event is due to finish. Gillett has already proposed the erection of giant television screens in an effort to entice fans torn between the two events to the circuit, but has yet to put tickets for the grand prix on sale - despite Silverstone normally getting its sales push underway in the weeks after its last event.