Donington Park has come under fire for abusing its licences, with East Midlands Airport claiming that a section of its runway had to be closed and two big cargo planes diverted after the circuit failed to notify it of constructions put in place for June's MotoGP round held there.
The British Grand Prix is due to move to the Leicestershire venue as of 2010, in an agreement that brings to an end Silverstone's tenure of the race and claim to be the celebrated 'Home of British Motor Racing'.
Following numerous suggestions that the track and its facilities will not be up to Formula 1 standard in time, however, the latest news is just the latest in a long line of embarrassing revelations to come to light since the ten-year F1 deal was announced.
Now, according to grandprix.com
, East Midlands Airport general manager Neil Robinson has told a council licensing review hearing that a fairground ride, television broadcast platforms, mobile phone towers and seven eight-metre high telegraph poles put up 'in close proximity to the runway', erected ahead of the MotoGP meeting and infringing on airspace, caused the airport to have to close down a 400-metre section of runway and divert two big cargo planes which were unable to land because of the hazards.
“A systematic management failure at the premises has led to a number of instances where the safe operation of aircraft could have been endangered,” Robinson argued. “As a result of these obstacles, the airport could not continue normal operations. The airport was forced to issue a notice to pilots to this effect and to declare a reduced runway length.”
Robinson complained that Donington had not informed the airport of its plans, explaining that according to the terms of its licensing agreement, the circuit must give at least 28 days' written notice to the airport and wait for confirmation before beginning any installations or constructions.
During the three-man North West Leicestershire District Council hearing – which took place at the behest of Leicestershire Police, following a worrying series of alcohol sales to underage teenagers, working undercover for the police, at 14 different bars within the circuit over the MotoGP weekend – Donington accepted that there had been 'significant failings'.
The track was permitted to retain its liquor and entertainment licence, but must henceforth comply with both police and airport requests, hire an event safety co-ordinator for each event whose attendance tops 20,000 people or more and submit an 'aerodrome safeguarding plan' to East Midlands Airport ahead of major meetings.