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Silverstone Loses Out To Donington Park From 2010 Onwards

Silverstone Loses Out To Donington Park From 2010 Onwards

The FIA has announced that from 2010 onwards, the British Grand Prix will be held at the Donington Park circuit in Leicestershire. The announcement has come at the start of the now-penultimate Silverstone-hosted British Grand Prix, and after a continous run of 21 races (41 in total), Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA have decided to secure the country’s race and move the venue. Donington has vowed a £100m investment programme for the track and it will host the British event for at least ten years.

Silverstone has been a popular venue for drivers and fans alike, but in recent years Ecclestone has been very outspoken about the gradual decline in the facilities at the track. While the old airfield is synonymous with British motor sport, the governing body along with FOM feel that with Donington’s planned improvements, the Leicestershire track will offer a more secure future for the UK’s grand prix.

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.

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. Max Mosley.

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. Bernie Ecclestone.

Ecclestone went on to say that he wanted the UK government to support Silverstone with their planned redevelopment and estimated it would have cost about 0.002% of the government’s commitment for the 2021 Olympic Games.

The news must come as a bitter blow to the BRDC, Silverstone’s circuit owners, and their president and former British Grand Prix winner and world champion, Damon Hill. Along with Jackie Stewart and many other British motor sporting alumni, they have tried to negotiate with Ecclestone over the years and plans to improve the circuit were recently submitted to the Northamptonshire authorities for approval. Unfortunately, it seems it was too little, too late.

Donington Park was brought-out last year by Simon Gillett and Lee Gillm, and even back then there was a rumour that they may appraoch Bernie about hosting the British Grand Prix. With investment from a shareholder in the company that owns the track, Donington Park will undergo improvements and development ahead and after its first race in 2010.

At the beginning of last year when we acquired the circuit and its substantial lands, we made clear our commitment towards realising the full potential of the Park by making the necessary investments in current and future events that will see Donington revitalised, ensuring its leading position as one of the most iconic racing circuits in the world. Simon Gillett & Lee Gillm.

The last time a Formula One car was driven in anger at Donington was in 1993; Ayrton Senna blitzed the field on the opening lap in torrential rain and performed one of the greatest laps to have ever been driven in a grand prix car.

Oliver White

7 comments

  • I have to say that I was hugely shocked to discover this. Looking beyond the bare facts of the announcement it may be that there are some politics at play. There is some interesting analysis on grandprix.com – http://www.grandprix.com/ns/ns20551.html. It’s not the first time this has happened – in 1999 Brands Hatch announced that they would host the race from 2002. Then they were bought out by Octagon and it all went pear-shaped. It’s also interesting that Moseley has publicly made the announcement for a number of reasons, which the article also speculates on.

  • I have to say I am shocked at this decision. Not only do I regard Silverstone as The motorsport venue in the UK, but it’s also technically challenging and a thrill to drive on.

    I hope that they do improve the facilities substantially before 2010.

    Ste

  • I swear, if Tilke even contemplates modifying either Q1 or Q2 of Donnington Park, he, and his business associates will see a brick fly through their window.

    I’m not unduly disappointed with Silverstone’s Grand Prix exit, as the Leicestershire venue is an excellent circuit. The only element the modern organisation is disassociating themselves with is the purest sporting foundations and rich heritage of Formula One, and i’m sure fanatics will eventually reduce their speculation of this surprising agreement.

  • Maybe I lack the familiarity to both circuits being from Canada, but isn’t this the equivalent of going from the penthouse (or at least a fully functional home) to the outhouse? It sounds like Bernie is going for the shock and awe of making this announcement right before race weekend starts simply to get people moving. I wouldn’t be the least surprised if this is nothing more than an attempt to get either the BRDC or the British government to cough up the money he needs to get Silverstone to where he wants it to be.

    Even if the intent is to move the race to Donington, where’s the rich bugger who will pay for the upgrades??? (since the facilities there supposedly make Silverstone look like Sepang by comparison) Just to get the facilities to the level Silverstone is currently at would cost more then the proposed upgrades to Silverstone.

    Hopefully this is Bernie just getting his panties in a knot again…

  • @Jamie: Yeah, the first corner and the Craner Curves are pretty exciting. I wasn’t aware of Tilke being at the track as Vi84 mentioned above, but as Bernie says, “they’re completely rebuilding it”. And as Tilke’s the favourited track designer by Bernie and the Band, he’ll probably get involved somehow.

    @Caleb: According to Bernie, the contract has been signed. That’s it, no going back. Those were pretty much his words when he spoke to ITV in qualifying (or prior to qualy anyway). And interestingly, it was the FIA who made the announcement. Ecclestone was there, I believe, but the statement came from Max. Normally the FIA doesn’t get too involved in where the races are. They play a part, but in the past it was always Bernie who made the announcement. I get the impression there is something else going on in the background, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.

  • On the face of it good news, future of the race secured and a more central location. I am concerned about their ability to raise the kind of finance they need in the current climate and also the timescale involved. Knowing how long it takes to get through planning and then actually get the work done in this country it makes the 2010 deadline look tight. Also concerned about what Tilke might do to Donnington, his tracks are generally characterless, dull and unchallenging only positive is the changes he made to Spa. I know the drivers like Istanbul, but to watch it’s not particularly interesting. Good luck to them and prove me wrong and please Mr Tilke add an extra loop and leave the original track alone!

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