Team owner and apt businessman Frank Williams has joined the growing number of people with doubts about hosting the British Grand Prix at Donington Park in 2010.
F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA made the shock announcement last week that Donington had secured a ten year contract to host the grand prix after negotiations with Silverstone collapsed.
The contract is contingent on the circuit organisers making significant improvements to the track’s facilities and a five-year £100 million development programme has been put on the table.
However, with planning permission yet to be approved, many have cast doubt over whether the development will be finished within two years given the scale of the project and the intricacies of the English planning system.
Team owner Frank Williams is one of the latest figures to express his scepticism and says he will believe it when he sees it.
“When I’m at Donington in 2010, if I’m really there I’ll believe it, but I’m not certain,” he told his team’s official podcast. “I’m sure they can do all the things they must to get the circuit ready in time – two years is a lot of time with which to achieve it – but it will be immensely expensive.”
“I don’t know much about Silverstone’s affairs but I would guess it is a much more expensive project than the one Silverstone are required to do, if they wish to retain the grand prix. I will just find out in course where we are supposed to be.”
Sir Stirling Moss is another leading racing figure to question the move to Donington.
When asked by BBC Five Live if he thought the track would be ready in time Moss added: “In one word, no I don’t, actually. It’s a worry.”
“Silverstone we’ve had taken away from us which is a great shame but then the track is in such a good condition, the drivers love it and so on and there are so many other races and motorbikes, I’m not really worried for its future because it is so good.”
Many have likened the situation to Brands Hatch a decade ago. The Kent track was forced to pull out of a deal with Bernie Ecclestone to host the British Grand Prix after it failed to obtain the planning permission it needed.