10 February 2015
Donington Park 'breaks off' British MotoGP deal!
2015 British MotoGP heading back to Silverstone after Donington Park-Circuit of Wales split?
Donington Park has severed its deal with the Circuit of Wales to host this year's British MotoGP.
The Circuit of Wales surprisingly won the British MotoGP contract from Silverstone, but building work on the proposed new 830-acre motorsport complex is yet to begin and an alternative venue was needed for this season.
Although many predicted a further year at Silverstone, the Circuit of Wales instead announced a deal with Donington Park, which held the British Motorcycle Grand Prix from 1987-2009.
But that partnership is now over.
A statement by Donington Park declared: '...The Circuit of Wales company, and its new subsidiary GP15 Limited, have as yet been unable to complete their agreement with DPRL [Donington Park], nor meet long-planned payment deadlines, in order to set in motion the operation of the 2015 British Motorcycle Grand Prix, MotoGP at Donington Park.'
The statement added: 'The situation at 10th February 2015 is very clear. Despite DPRL's best efforts, the time lost with CoW [Circuit of Wales] being unable to complete the funding arrangements has resulted in delays in almost all of the event's critically important operational plans, from track works to equipment hire...
'Therefore Donington Park must withdraw from any further participation. Consequently, the 2015 British round of the FIM MotoGP World Championship will not now be held at Donington Park on August 30th 2015.
'Spectators who have already purchased tickets via Donington Park and their agency See Tickets are fully protected, with all ticket monies held safely in an independent escrow account. They will therefore automatically receive a full refund of the amount spent on their tickets, within 10 working days...
'Naturally, any announcement on a replacement MotoGP race or about any future UK dates are now a matter solely for CoW and Dorna, and so DPRL will make no further comment'.
Christopher Tate, managing director of Donington Park, said: “The whole Donington team who have worked so hard here over the past six months to fulfil our part of the MotoGP planning are as disappointed as those many fans will be who wanted to see the event return to Donington Park.
“The position we are now in is of course frustrating and uncomfortable for all concerned.
“We have our overall business, our staff and their futures to consider as well as our concerns for the fans. We have rebuilt so much of this facility and its global reputation in the years since 2010 under new ownership and management, and we are not going to risk all that nor risk affecting the quality of the MotoGP fans' experience – looking after the fans is at the heart of what Donington does.
“It is this week, way past any normal deadlines, when we - in partnership with CoW - would have been committing to major expenditures. CoW have made it clear to us that they are not now in a position to complete, so we have to withdraw and end the planned arrangement.
“As to the immediate future, the team here at Donington look forward to welcoming fans to the wide range of 2015 events at our circuit this season which will, of course, all go ahead as normal, starting with great motorcycle racing on the Easter Weekend.”
The Circuit of Wales has a five-year (plus further five-year option) to promote the British MotoGP round starting from 2015. With Donington out, and the CoW yet to start construction, Silverstone is the only UK venue capable of holding this year's event.
As such, Silverstone appears to hold all the cards.
"We made what we considered to be the maximum sensible offer to retain the event at Silverstone, but it seems that The Circuit of Wales, who have no experience of running a Grand Prix, have concluded they can do better running it themselves, using Donington until their circuit is ready," Silverstone managing director Richard Phillips said at the time of the Donington deal.
A public inquiry will be held in March to discuss plans to de-register common land located within the Circuit of Wales development. It is described as the 'final hurdle in a lengthy planning process' with a successful outcome allowing construction work to begin.
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