Donington appears on the draft F1 calendar for 2010 on July 11th as the home of the British Grand Prix, but the next hurdle it has to overcome next month is to prove to F1’s commercial rights holder, Bernie Ecclestone, that it has the funding to run the race.
Recycling a quote from a couple of months ago, I’ll remind you of what Bernie said about Donington to Bob McKenzie of the Daily Express, “They have got until the end of September to produce a bank guarantee and their contract depends on that. If they don’t, it’s adios amigos.”
“I’m hoping Donington… do all the things they must do. And if they can’t, we will come back to Silverstone.”
Donington’s Simon Gillett is here in the Spa paddock and he told me this morning that everything is on target and that he will reveal the funding plan in the first weeks of September. However he has twice given deadlines by which time he would reveal the circuit’s funding plans and on both occasions no news has been forthcoming. Goldman Sachs pulled out in March, but Gillett says that he now has two banks willing to fund the debenture scheme.
The building programme had fallen a little behind schedule, but Gillett says that McAlpine is now flat out on it and, in his words, “You will be with us.” The July 11th date is not set in stone, apparently. It is the same day as the football World Cup final, which is not necessarily a bad thing, as the football will start at 6pm UK time, and may be shown on a big screen at the race track.
Silverstone has already offered the most that they can afford to pay and this wasn’t enough to secure the deal in competition with Donington last time. However the BRDC members recently voted to invite investors and there are some signs of behind the scenes activity at Silverstone in preparation for hosting a race next year should Donington fail to convince Ecclestone.