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Friday, July 4, 2008

British Grand Prix moves to Donington Park from 2010

After years of bickering with the British Racing Drivers’ Club, Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley have confirmed the British Grand Prix will leave Silverstone and move to Donington Park from 2010.

“Finally the uncertainty is over. A contract has been signed with Donington Park and the future of the British Grand prix is now secure,” Ecclestone is quoted as saying on the Official Formula One Web site. “We wanted a world class venue for Formula One in Britain, something that the teams and British F1 fans could be proud of. The major development plans for Donington will give us exactly that. A venue that will put British motor sport back on the map.”

Ecclestone took one last swipe at the British government’s refusal to help Silverstone improve the circuit to the standards he wanted.

“I am sorry that we could not have helped Silverstone to raise the money to carry out the circuit improvements and run Formula One. I believe that the government should have supported them which would have cost probably less than .002% of the government’s commitment for the Olympic Games.”

The BRDC had long been in talks with Ecclestone to extend the contract, securing permission to expand the pit and paddock areas as part of a multi-faceted improvement project aimed at improving the track. Ecclestone, however, never masked his dissatisfaction with the circuit, nor his opinion the BRDC would not be able to improve it to his liking.

Mosley, long at odds with the BRDC, was pleased.

“After many years of patient but fruitless negotiation with the BRDC, we are delighted that Bernie has nevertheless been able to ensure that the British Grand Prix will keep its place on the Formula One World Championship calendar,” Mosley is quoted on the FIA Web site. “We understand that the development programme planned for Donington will achieve the very high standards we and FOM expect from a modern F1 circuit. Finally, British Formula One fans will get the Grand Prix venue they deserve.”

The BRDC was obviously disappointed with the announcement.

"Silverstone Circuits Limited and the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) would like to express our disappointment at the announcement released by the FIA today concerning the future of the British Grand Prix, the club said in a statement. "It is particularly disappointing to receive this information during the course of the British Grand Prix weekend, while we are celebrating 60 years of Silverstone and 80 years of the BRDC. The BRDC and Silverstone Circuits Limited are considering our position following in-depth and on-going contract negotiations with FOM. We shall release a statement once the full facts of this announcement have been established with both FOM and the FIA."

Donington Park emerged as a strong candidate to replace Silverstone recently. The circuit staged one grand prix, the 1993 European round, and is the home of the British round of MotoGP.

“We are naturally delighted and extremely proud to have acquired the rights to bring Formula One back to Donington Park from 2010,” Circuit owners and joint CEO’s Simon Gillett and Lee Gill said on the circuit’s Web site. “We have now entered a new and exciting chapter in the development of the Park and one that will bring significant investment and regional development while securing the future of one of the most important and significant sporting events in Britain.”

Donington Ventures Leisure Limited said over £100m is to be invested in the track over the next five years, plans for which will be released at a future date.

Read Maurice Hamilton's take on this turn of events at Top Gear's Sunday Afternoon Club blog. Don't miss the top stories of the day, subscribe to the SpeedRead Web newspaper now! -- Email SpeedRead -- Learn more about author C.D. Six


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Bob Varsha, of SPEED, said he thinks this is the first time that Max has commented, in print, about a circuit change.

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