In an extraordinary eleventh hour twist, it appears that Donington Park - which earlier this week looked to have finally run out of steam in its bid to welcome F1 from 2010 onwards - could yet act as the home of the British Grand Prix next year, with a report claiming that circuit boss Simon Gillett has belatedly paid the outstanding funds owed to Formula One Management (FOM) supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

It was understood that after months of setbacks and scepticism, the Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd (DVLL) chief executive had missed his final deadline at midnight on Monday - thereby all-but killing off the Leicestershire track's hopes of staging the blue riband event on the British motor racing calendar.

However, according to the Daily Express, the indefatigable Gillett has since transferred the ?12 million he owed Ecclestone in order to keep the venue's audacious redevelopment bid alive.

Both the initial debenture scheme and subsequent ?135 bond issue ultimately came to nought, meaning that mystery surrounds just where Gillett has found the necessary sum that he hopes will convince Ecclestone not to hand the grand prix back to traditional home Silverstone.

The Express reports that Gillett 'used almost every minute of his time in his efforts to meet Ecclestone's deal' and that the sport's commercial rights-holder had been expecting the payment 'for weeks'

'Where investment has come from to allow him to transfer money is not known,' the newspaper went on, 'but it will have to be absolutely certain to encourage Ecclestone to give him the go-ahead.'

The question now is whether the 79-year-old deems the last-gasp effort to save the deal to have come too little, too late...

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