Donington Park will be forced to wait to discover if the proposed redevelopment of the circuit can take place after a planning decision was delayed until the New Year.
The venue was due to discover this month whether or not the proposed changes could take place, but North West Leicestershire District Council has now announced that the final call on the redevelopment has been delayed until 27 January 2009.
Having been named as the new home of the British Grand Prix from 2010 in a ten-year deal earlier this year, Donington applied for planning permission to help bring the venue up to the standards required for Formula One – with an extension of the circuit and the development of a new pit and paddock complex at the centre of the plans.
However, officials have now ruled that a full environmental impact assessment is required and have added that document to the application – which in turn has delayed a final decision on whether the proposal will go through.
That in turn has led sceptics to suggest that Donington won't be ready for the race in July 2010, with a decision in late January leaving the circuit with little time to push ahead with its plans.
If Donington failed to meet its self-imposed deadline of 1 April 2010 then it could leave Britain without an F1 race after commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone insisted it was Donington or nothing for the British GP, but the circuit insisted that the work would be completed on schedule, even with the planning delay.
"There is no question that Donington's ability to stage the race will be jeopardised by this delay to the planning procedure," a spokesman told the Daily Telegraph
. "As soon as permission is granted construction work will begin."
Donington has said it expects the modifications to the venue to take around nine months.