Donington deadline expires – Silverstone on alert

The deadline for Donington Park to raise the £135m loan to guarantee its hosting of the 2010 British Grand Prix expired at midnight last night.

News was not forthcoming from either Donington Park itself or Bernie Ecclestone, who two weeks ago insisted the circuit and its CEO Simon Gillett were already in breach of contract.

But crucially, the Donington Park website has removed the 2010 British Grand Prix from its race calendar.

Discussions are thought to be in progress between Silverstone, which has held the race since the mid 1980s, and Bernie Ecclestone. Ecclestone has repeatedly criticised the lack of investment in Silverstone by its owners the British Racing Drivers’ Club. The BRDC, in turn, has bemoaned a lack of public investment, which many other tracks around the world benefit from.

Although the FOM Chairman has seemed more accommodating to the idea of the event returning to Silverstone as Donington’s plight has worsened, it is still far from certain whether an agreement can be reached.

”There’s a whole load of reasons why it should happen here [at Silverstone],” BRDC Chairman Damon Hill told the BBC.

“But ultimately you are competing against countries which are able to inject public money into their infrastructure and into the contract of the grand prix. And that seems to be the stumbling block here.”

“He [Ecclestone] can get a value globally that is far in excess of what he can get for the UK,” Hill said. “We can respect that it is a difficult position for him to be in. He has to answer to his shareholders.

“There are options on the table. There are discussions taking place and I’m hopeful something can be sorted out.”