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Simon Gillett: Q&A, Pt.2.

Thursday evening saw Donington Park receive the planning permission it required to move ahead with its plans to play host to the British Grand Prix from 2010.

Crash.net was amongst a group of journalists invited to sit down for a round the table chat with Simon Gillett, the chief executive of the circuit, at the Autosport International show to discuss the news and to get up to date with how the work is moving along.

This in-depth, three part, question and answer reflects on what Gillett had to say...


Q:
Have you spoken to Bernie since the application went through?

Simon Gillett:
I spoke to him this morning [Friday].

Q:
What did he say?

Simon Gillett:
Congratulations. He is over the moon and very happy.

Q:
Going back to the financing. Can you clear up to what extent you and your co-director Paul White have a stake in this. Are you in a position to bail out the race if you hit problems?

Simon Gillett:
We know what we are going to achieve and what we have and haven't put in is between me and Paul so I'm not going to clear that up at all. But the circuit is safe.

Q:
With all these events going off to the Middle and Far East for state backed grand prix, how are you going to make a profit? Are you confident you can make a profit?

Simon Gillett:
Absolutely. We wouldn't be doing this otherwise as we are not a charity, we are a commercial business. We have spent a lot of time working through this plan and negotiating and we have only done a deal that we felt was commercially viable.

Q:
Where do you think you will be able to make a profit where others have failed?

Simon Gillett:
Utilisation of the assets we are building. A prime example is where you guys will be sitting in the media centre. You typically go to a grand prix, it looks like a hangar and they hang a series of plasma screens from the roof and that is pretty much it. Our media centre, when you look at what we are building, is a 500 seater stepper auditorium with four large screens at the front. In other words, it is a conference centre for 363 days a year and not a media centre when you guys aren't in town. That is what you do. You don't build stuff for Formula One, you build stuff that is commercially viable and then adapt it.

Q:
Can you explain why your chief operating office Lee Gill stepped down in the autumn?

Simon Gillett:
I said at the time, Lee was there to help us to get to a point where the plans were submitted. We have been friends for a long time and the idea was to get us to a certain point. I would work on F1 and the submission, he would work on running the business. When that was finished, there was no point in having two of us at the top of the pile. I was always agreed that when we got to that point, Lee would go on and focus on his other commitments.

Q:
The idea of a public transport grand prix. How easy will that be to pull off as a lot of fans said how will they bus 90,000 fans in and out of the event without it being problematic? How do you see it working?

Simon Gillett:


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Simon Gillett - Donington Park
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