British Grand Prix faces an uncertain future

Forumula1.com’s Ewan Marshall on why yet another extension to the deadline for Donington could potentially mean curtains for the British Grand Prix.

So here we are again. Yet another deadline passes and we are still nowhere near knowing if there will be a British Grand Prix next year, let alone at Donington.

As mentioned previously on this site, Bernie Ecclestone’s continued desire to give the Derbyshire circuit new deadline after new deadline only lessens the chance of Britain hosting a Grand Prix next year.

Having already used several “last chances” Donington has yet again failed to issue any sort of information regarding the funding required to redevelop the famous circuit.

Today s press release from Simon Gillett will do little to reassure the countless British fans who will now feel helpless knowing that any decision regarding the Grand Prix rests on mere circumstance and a set of “what if?” scenarios.

Nevertheless, the long-suffering British Formula One fans are a committed and knowledgeable bunch who will surely pack out the Grand Prix race no matter where it is held and no matter how late the ticket sales are opened.

This is, of course, if the British public even get a chance to make such purchases.

It is wrong to assume that Silverstone will simply step in and host the race next year. The British Racing Drivers Club want financial reassurance in these hard times, they are likely to refuse to hold next year s race in the absence of a new long-term deal and who can blame them?

Standing in the way of saving the British Grand Prix is Mr Ecclestone himself. For as long as the Commercial rights holder continues to stubbornly dig his heels and stands by Donington, the closer the British Grand Prix tips over the edge.

In the summer of 2008 the original proposals for Donington appeared to be a positive though relatively ambitious – step. Single-handedly Donington Park Ventures had seemingly guaranteed the future of the British Grand Prix the jewel in the crown of the Motorsport Valley which exists in the United Kingdom.

However these proposals now seem nothing more than a fantasy, nothing but a trail of broken promises and sadly, as ever, it s the fans who will suffer.

Maybe Bernie and the BRDC have not seen eye-to-eye for a number of years, but he said himself that Silverstone s commercial management had changed for the better. Surely something can be worked out?

Then again could this latest deadline simply be Ecclestone s way of signalling a death knell for the event? Stranger things have happened.

Predictably, the next few weeks will be full of uncertainty for the British Grand Prix, but sooner rather than later a decision will be made to determine the event s future.

Until then we will have to continue to count on Donington, who continue reassure us that their ship is in order.

Go on Donington, the ball is in your court for the final time. Prove us all wrong.