Simon Gillett's Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd (DVLL) – the company that owned a 150-year lease on Donington Park, and up until recently had been bidding to stage the British Grand Prix from next year onwards – has been put into administration, it has been confirmed.
DVLL finally gave up the unequal struggle to honour the 17-year agreement Gillett had inked with F1 commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone last year on the eve of this year's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix just under three weeks ago – meaning that if there is to be a British Grand Prix in 2010 at all, it will have to now take place at its traditional home of Silverstone.
An ambitious £120 million redevelopment project to bring the Leicestershire circuit and its outmoded and oft-criticised facilities up to the required F1 standard remains uncompleted – and unfunded. Whilst that has rendered the track presently unusable, administrator Nigel Price of the Birmingham office of corporate recovery specialists Begbies Traynor – tasked with handling the administration – insisted that the British Grand Prix dream is not necessarily over for good.
“This need not be the end of Formula 1 racing at Donington,” he stressed. “We are certainly hopeful that a 2011 grand prix could take place at the site. We are looking for a purchaser for the business and the potential opportunity to bring Formula 1 to this part of the Midlands, by funding the work that needs to be carried out to the circuit.
“It still remains a fantastic location – next to an airport and main motorway connections. It needs people of vision to get the dream to the starting grid, and we would be very interested in talking to interested parties.”
Mr. Price added that Begbies Traynor is assessing just how much is still owed by DVLL to creditors.