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Donington GP has a future, says Bernie
Donington GP has a future, says Bernie
Posted By:   |  12 May 2009   |  2:33 pm GMT  |  14 comments

The first encouraging noises for a while about the chances of Donington hosting a Grand Prix have come from Bernie Ecclestone. Speaking in the Times, his preferred medium, he says that following a meeting with Donington promoter Simon Gillett, he feels that the financial problems Gillett has experienced with unpaid rent will be sorted out and that financing the construction will be achieved.

Picture 43
On that basis, he appears to be willing to give Gillett a 12 month extension, if required. This would almost certainly mean the British Grand Prix being absent from the calendar for a year in 2010. Ecclestone ruled out the possibility of Silverstone staging the race for another year to bridge the gap.

“I think they are getting their act together, I think they are getting things up and running,” he said. “The debt will be sorted out. It’s not a problem and raising money from the banks is looking positive.”

“If the work at Donington is not finished in time, we would be happy to skip a year,” Ecclestone told The Times. “I don’t want to lose the British Grand Prix — that’s the last thing we want to do, but we aren’t going to Silverstone for sure.”

Sitting out a year is by no means unprecedented. Spa missed a season recently and this year the French Grand Prix is not on the calendar. Next season there will be a new race in South Korea, with India set to join the calendar in 2011.

In the FIA’s sporting regulations published on May 6th, it says that the maximum number of races in a season is 20. We are heading towards that number.

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Are Donington in a position that will still allow them to host other motor racing events this year then? Like the MotoGP and BTCC ?


With these exclusions (France, Belgium, Britain), Bernie is gaining useful information on what the fallout is when each is excluded.

The race with the least fallout can get the chop, freeing another date up for a grand prix elsewhere. Russia? Mexico?


What has Silverstone done to earn the wrath of Bernie, have the BRDC pissed Bernie off that badly?


What did BRDC do to get so on the wrong side of Mr Ecclestone?
Must be bad for him to give so much leeway to Donington/Simon Gillett...


Perhaps a year out will galvanise support for a British GP in the future? It's one thing to be angry about its exclusion, but it's another to buy a ticket!


@ driving courses.

Wearing blazers apparently !

Bernie thinks BRDC is run like a gentlemans country club and that they 'don't like the cut of his jib'. ie He's not 'one of us'.

He's determined to teach them a lesson for allowing him to be stuck in a traffic jam for hours on the way to the British GP
a few years ago.

I think the whole dispute is so stupid it beggars belief !


At least we now have a clear signal from Bernie that he's committed to having a British GP for the foreseeable future, even if that means having to skip a year. If he wasn't, he wouldn't be going this extra mile. There are plenty of other people around the world who want to stage races.

However, given that Ferrari/Red Bull/Toyota's convoys are this evening steaming directly towards the FIA's blockade, one wonders what the championship will look like next year. If bluffs are called & big red buttons get pressed, we might end up seeing Brawn slugging it out with Force India and a bunch of GP2 teams for a very diminished crown. It might actually be a good idea for the British GP to skip a year!

However, I don't believe the F1 bigwigs are that stupid.

They aren't, are they?


Perhaps Ecclestone would like to pay back the money that he insisted his beloved Labour Party spent on the road improvements to Silverstone that will now have no further use.


Hang on Steve, you'll be wanting him to declare his personal expenses next, LOL.

Northern Munkee

A clearer indication of the value BE puts on British Motoring Race fans, who want to attend the GP, you could not wish to see.

He gives Gilllett a years extension, if he's not ready, but does not let the British GP go ahead at a perfectly serviceable Silverstone if it isn't ready, he'd rather take off the calendar.



BTTC is at Donington this weekend. Be interesting to hear the comments from the TV coverage...


[Quote]In the FIA’s sporting regulations published on May 6th, it says that the maximum number of races in a season is 20. We are heading towards that number.[/Quote]

Don't worry Bernie can soon get that fixed!

Paul-W if you saw the pics you would know that motocross is the most likely event to be held at Donington for the foreseeable future


I believe they are still hosting motor racing events. I dimly remember from the [dismal BBC] coverage from Barcelona that Donnington are hosting the BTCC shortly.

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