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Donnington will not host the British Grand Prix

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Donnington Park

It was announced yesterday that Donnington Park, the racing circuit in Leicestershire, will not be hosting the British Grand Prix from 2010.

This follows nearly a year of delays, budget overruns, confusion and ever-extending deadlines.  These problems were compounded by the world-wide recession which affected every sector of British construction.  Funding went through the site like shit through a goose.

On a visit to Silverstone in June, one of the curators outlined Donnington’s problems.

1.    It has no helipad to evacuate the wounded.

2.    Crucially, it cannot land helicopters because it is in East Midlands airport’s airspace.

3.    It has little in the way of parking space

4.    The entire track is merely half the size of Silverstone F1 track.

With these problems it is hard to see how Donnington ever got the commission in the first place.  Furthermore it had to cancel most of the 2010 events to make way for the construction work necessary to turn DOnnington into a modern F1 track.

Donnington did host the European Grand Prix back in 1993.  But following the death of Ayrton Senna in 1994 a lot of stringent safety measures were put in place that made these changes necessary.

But deadlines came and went and Bernie Ecclestone lost patience with Simon Gillette, the Chief Executive of Donnington Leisure.  Finally Bernie had had enough and closed the book on the project.

So will the British Grand Prix now remain at Silverstone?  More than likely.  If not in 2010 then in 2011 certainly.  Silverstone has a lot of bookings for 2010, the main one being the British MotoGP.  One of the biggest advantages of a Motorbike Grand Prix is that they can host twice as many people.  Why?  Because everybody turns up on motorbikes, so they can fit twice as many in the car park.

So all this has left Silverstone in a win/win position.  It will come out of this a whole lot stronger and much better funded.

Only time will tell what will become of Donnington.

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Written by Nick Gilmartin

October 13, 2009 at 11:59 am

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