Donington Park has revealed details of the changes it will make in advance of it holding the 2010 British Grand Prix.
When the deal to take the British Grand Prix from Silverstone to Donington Park was announced early in July one of the circuit owners remarked: “If I touch anything from Redgate to MacLeans I’ll be lynched.”
The new plans revealed today changes pretty much everything apart from the sequence from Redgate to MacLeans. Here’s a look at the planned new track layout and buildings .
The key changes include:
- Moving the start/finish line from its current location to a new position on the straight after MacLeans corner.
- Replacing the left/right chicane (on the former Grand Prix circuit) with a slight left kink.
- Extending the circuit by adding an inner loop including a long left-hander that leads into a new left-handed hairpin, followed by a right-hander that brings the cars onto the former start/finish straight.
- From the diagram it appears that MacLeans corner is to be tightened.
- New club house, suites, medical and media centre, toilets, pit and paddock buildings and grandstands
The news of Donington Park’s deal to host the Grand Prix was greeted with scepticism at the time and although this proposal shows their plans are concrete, it leaves some questions still hanging.
Where is the money coming from? The track owners have mentioned using some sort of debenture scheme to fund the upgrade, which is priced at £100m, but details aren’t clear. Some rumours have suggested Bernie Ecclestone himself is putting some money into the project, out of a desire to take the British Grand Prix away from Silverstone, because of his dislike of the British Racing Drivers’ Club, which runs the event.
What about access into the circuit? Spectators who visit Donington Park even for fairly minor events often find themselves in long queues because of the limited access to the track. This proposal does not – as far as I can tell – attempt to redress that problem. A large amount of money was spent on upgrading the A43 at Silverstone only a few years ago. Brits on Pole suggest a deal with East Midlands Airport (more on them below) could be part of the solution.
There have been some disquieting moves behind the scenes in recent days as well. The chief operation officer of Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd, Lee Gill, stepped down from his position. Its financial controller and PR company have also left, though it is not known why.
Gill’s departure is thought to be linked to an investigation by North West Leicestershire District Council which found the circuit guilty of selling alcohol to under-age individuals. It was also rebuked for allowing the contruction of fairground rides and masts during the Moto GP race weekend in June which caused nearby East Midlands Airport to divert aircraft and close part of its runway.
Donington’s plans look promising and the early signs are quite encouraging – it intends to keep much of the circuits’ best features while modernising it. But these plans are a long way from reality. And Ecclestone has threatened that if Donington is not ready to hold the 2010 British Grand Prix he will not allow Silverstone to take over, even as a one-off.
British F1 fans will hope these plans turn into action very quickly.
More on the 2010 British Grand Prix at Donington Park
- British Grand Prix switches to Donington Park from 2010. Really?
- Donington Park, Silverstone, Brands Hatch and the British Grand Prix
- The Ben Evans Column: Donington Park
- Donington Park 2010 British Grand prix track – your design predictions
- F1 blogs & more: Donington news
You can download PDFs of the plans in full here.