Despite assertions that today [3 October] was the final deadline for Donington Park to prove its financial credentials in order to host next year's British Grand Prix, Bernie Ecclestone has given the circuit another lifeline.

With the Japanese Grand Prix occupying his attention this weekend, Ecclestone has granted race promoter a further six days to gets its funding in place before he considers switching the event to another venue.

"They pleaded for extra time and have had several deadlines, [so] it's 9 October to show me they have the finances in place or we will be finished with Donington," Ecclestone told Britain's Express newspaper.

Gillett insists that he is close to finalising around ?140m of funding for the race, which is requiring a massive overhaul of the Donington Park circuit and its facilities.

Silverstone has provisionally been listed as a replacement for Donington should Gillett fail in his bid, although Ecclestone claimed at last week's Singapore GP that the Northamptonshire circuit is not a certainty to find a place on the calendar.

BRDC president Damon Hill is also unwilling to stage the race at Silverstone for just one year in order to allow Donington time to ready itself.

"If Donington does not happen, then you have to ask yourself what that says about the decision to look into it in the first place," the 1996 F1 world champion told Britain's Guardian newspaper, "In those circumstances, it would be nice to think that we could get round a table with FOM and put to bed once and for all the uncertainty over the future of the British Grand Prix."