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Donington `not a charity` when it comes to F1.

Donington Park bosses are confident that they can make a profit from the British Grand Prix when it moves to the East Midlands venue from 2010.

The circuit overcame a huge hurdle on Thursday when planning applications were approved by the local council, with work having already started on a tunnel that will allow contractors with access to the infield to carry out work on the new loop and on the pit and paddock complex.

Donington's decision to chase the event comes at a time when a number of other circuits have pulled out of the sport, with venues such as Magny-Cours announcing that they didn't feel it was financially viable to host a Formula One race.

However, circuit boss Simon Gillett said he was fully confident that the British Grand Prix will be able to turn a profit and that the venue wouldn't have signed a contract with Bernie Ecclestone if it didn't believe a profit was possible.

“I don't know the commercial terms they [other circuits] have,” he told journalists at the Autosport International show at Birmingham's NEC. “I know what our commercial terms are and we can support those.

“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.”

Gillett added that the plans in place had been constructed with a focus on ensuring money can be made throughout the year, with facilities that can be adapted for Formula One rather than specifically to cater for the sport.

“Utilisation of the assets we are building,” he said when asked where a profit will be made. “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 stepped 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.”

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Frank - Unregistered

January 10, 2009 4:00 PM

I agree although I have never understood the general negativity about the Donington scheme and Gillet himself. When you look at the 'facts': the 150 year lease they bought on the circuit and the swiftness of getting the plans drawn up and approved - this surely means they are very serious about this indeed. The truth is that the development of donington has been in the pipeline for years, Tilke visited the track years ago, I think it just needed all the right peices of the jigsaw to fall into place i.e. the rights to hold the British Grand Prix coming available. Everyone, including the silverstone lovers should get behind the scheme and then start a new campaign - 2 GP's a year for Britain..

forager 1

January 10, 2009 5:24 PM

I understand the British F1 Fans concern for Their beloved GP. What I don't understand is why? someone would spend $150 Mil. to put Themselves in a position where Bernie will stick a Gun to Their Heads & Demand $10 mil more than He gets from Silverstone! :)

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