The FIA has put out a media release claiming the British Grand Prix will switch to from Silverstone to Donington Park in 2010.
This is a surprising announcement for several reasons. Not least because the news has been put out jointly by Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone, whereas usually these matters are solely Formula One Group’s concern (and therefore Ecclestone’s).
But it’s not even clear if Donington Park could be ready to hold a Grand prix within two years.
The circuit has only held one round of the Formula 1 world championship, in 1993. The European Grand Prix held fifteen years ago is fondly remembered by F1 fans by that phenomenal first lap by Ayrton Senna.
However 15 years is a long time in Formula 1 and presumably work will have to be done to bring the circuit up to modern standards.
Spectator access to Donington Park is another problem. The Moto GP round at the circuit often sees queues of several hours – and many spectators arrive on bikes to that event.
Handling a greater volume of cars will put the local roads under massive strain. This is a problem that Silverstone has largely solved, at great cost, in recent years. So why move the race to another location where this problem will have to be sold again? Especially when planning permission for such changes can take so long in Britain.
Bernie Ecclestone said:
I am sorry that we could not have helped Silverstone to raise the money to carry out the circuit improvements and run Formula One. I believe that the government should have supported them which would have cost probably less than .002% of the government’s commitment for the Olympic Games.
I don’t have a problem with the race going to Donington Park (I love the Donington Grand Prix collection), and I’m glad the British Grand Prix is apparently safe. But I’m sad to see it go away from Silverstone. It’s a cracking circuit and it’s the place where modern Formula 1 began in 1950.
For now, the 2009 British Grand Prix looks at being the last in Silverstone. But will the British fans really be at Donington Park in 2010?