Ecclestone confirms Donington’s British Grand Prix hopes are over

Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that Donington’s hopes of staging next year’s British Grand Prix are over after the circuit failed to raise the necessary funds to redevelop the Leicestershire circuit.

Speaking to reporters in Abu Dhabi, the Formula One supremo said that Donington had failed to meet last Monday’s deadline, after failing to gain enough interest in their ¬£135 million bond.

“There’s no Donington. They’ve missed the deadline which we kept extending for them,” Ecclestone told reporters in Abu Dhabi.

“It’s unfortunate for them, to be honest with you. It was the credit crunch that caused them to be in trouble because their intentions were good, that’s for sure.

“It’s bad for Tom (Wheatcroft) because he’s been an old friend for a long time.”

Ecclestone also reassured that media that he was still in talks with Silverstone, insisting that there was no differences of opinion between the BRDC and the commercial rights holder over a proposed contract.

“We’re talking. A deal can be done if they want to,” he said, adding there were no differences of opinion over contract details.

“There isn’t actually. As far as I’m concerned, no problems.”

Meanwhile this weekend will see Formula One debut around the state-of-the-art Yas Marina circuit in Abu Dhabi. Speaking ahead of the event, Ecclestone paid tribute to race organisers.

“What they’ve done is unbelievable. It was in April 2006 I saw and spoke to the crown prince, and at that time we didn’t start to discuss a race.

“But during dinner we came up with the idea that maybe we should have a race here, and it’s magic what they’ve done.

“I never thought it would be finished like this. I thought bits and pieces would be done. I said to them ‘I hope we’re not going to be racing on a building site.’

“But no one is going to top this… although I’ll be happy if someone does the same.”