2010 Donington Park F1 track revealed

Donington Park 2010 track map - see below for more images and details

Donington Park 2010 track map - see below for more images and details

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.

Donington Park Master Plan 2010 circuit layout diagram (PDF)

More on the 2010 British Grand Prix at Donington Park

You can download PDFs of the plans in full here.

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39 comments on 2010 Donington Park F1 track revealed

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  1. Spencer said on 5th September 2008, 22:32

    I have to say that I think the circuit actually looks quite dull. I personally think that Donnington will be a logistic nightmare, not to mention all the problems with East Midlands Airport. With all the broadcast telemetry, communications, radios, journalists, TV etc jamming air traffic control. If that doesn’t cause an air disaster, some private chopper will.

    I think I’m right in saying that when BTC goes there they have to close a runway. I can’t wait to see what a **** up it will be when F1 hits town.

  2. Thanks for linking, Keith – but it’s not us suggesting a deal with East Midlands Airport is the answer. What we do is quote Mr Gillett telling a Castle Donington Parish Council last night that this is what he plans. Full report here:

    http://www.thisisderbyshire.co.uk/news/Donington-Park-best-world-Grand-Prix/article-308530-detail/article.html

    We are, in fact, rather sceptical that he could pull off such a deal, given that the airport’s general manager Neil Robinson has just given evidence to a licensing committee detailing “a systematic failure of management” at Donington.

    Apparently they had to close their runway and draw up aircraft diversion plans due to a badly-positioned fairground ride – way to win friends and influence people…

  3. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th September 2008, 23:16

    Ta mate – does sound rather optimistic. And while we’re talking EMA there’s always the problem of incoming flights dropping waste fuel on the track…

  4. Steven Roy said on 5th September 2008, 23:34

    The fundamental problem apart from all the legal stuff and the internal politics is the funding. Who in their right mind is going to sign up for a debenture scheme when the project has not the slightest hope of succeeding?

    The circuit layout doesn’t look promising. I can’t understand why they moved the start line. The start of a race into Redgate and down the Craner Curves is fabulous but starting just after Coppice with a run down to the Melbourne hairpin has accident written all over it.

  5. Donington Park have recently blotted their copybook with East Midlands Airport and the local judiciary (a police ‘sting’ during the Moto GP detailed 14 individual cases of selling alochol to minors around the circuit) as outlined above. And they expect to get their plan through in time to START work on the circuit hosting the British GP in July 2010.

    No surprises in the infield loop, but if the section from Redgate to MacLeans isn’t at least widened (whilst leaving the same profile), this section of the circuit will be dead to F1 in terms of overtaking opportunity – something no ‘new’ F1 circuit should be aiming for.

    I read an optomist on another site today suggest that the FOTA might put pressure on Bernie to at least use Silverstone as a safety net, if Donington isn’t ready in 2010, given the number of teams that call the British GP home. Suspect the reality is that FOM is quite happy to free up space in July 2010 for a Russian GP, or whomever might make a winning bid. BRDC and DVLL are not going to be big enough players in this game.

    I wish DVLL every success, they are the last hope for the British GP, but suspect Bernie knew their chances six months ago.

  6. Robert McKay said on 5th September 2008, 23:53

    The circuit already is a circuit that was originally built too short and had to have another loop added in to get a decent laptime, so to do the same thing again means you are basically just building corners anywhere there is any sort of space, and not really constructing a proper flowing racetrack.

    With the other stories about people leaving the country, the whole thing increasingly looks like a mental Bernie plot to not just rid Britain of its race, but utterly humiliate the country and destroy its motorsports reputation. He gives it to some people who have no money, no (apparent) plan other than a circuit map and an existing infrastructure which is barely ok for national racing, and watches them royally screw it up. Then Bernie can stand over the remains of the British GP shouting “This is why I wanted to go to instead!” who conveniently will have a gleaming new autodrome (constructed entirely out of titanium and entirely in secret, being based at the bottom of a volcano with a sliding roof to stop the general public riff-raff getting in) ready to take over at a moments notice when it becomes patently obvious that the circuit is a half-complete building site with no way of getting a hundred thousand fans in in a single day.

    He might as well have given it to Knockhill for all the practical difference it would have made. But I really hope I’m wrong.

  7. Robert McKay said on 5th September 2008, 23:55

    I meant to say the Middle East in my rant about Bernie. Sorry, went off on one a bit there.

  8. Salty said on 6th September 2008, 0:28

    Missed the gaff Robert, totally agree with the direction though. F1 has changed into a Global beast. UK plc can’t afford to host it. Sad considering UK provided most of the technicians that made it the success it is – and still do.

    Will the UK reap the benefits of this global windfall? Probably not.

    If it could, then it might be re-invested to continue making the UK the technological center of the best motor sport on the planet. But we do have poor Bernie and his retirement to consider.

  9. bernification said on 6th September 2008, 1:10

    There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that all Bernie is doing here is setting up Donington for a fall. I’m pretty sure he knows where he wants this race to go already and the fee involved.

    There is no clear financial plan, and too little time. Look at it this way- Wembley, late and over budget. The Dome- late and over budget. The Olympic venue- Simplified, I’ll take any money on it not all being completed on time and the budget has rocketed.
    Oh yes, Bernie knows exactly what he’s doing.

    He knows that his and FOM reputations will be damaged too much if he pulls the race from Britain- the teams and public will only stomach so much.

    He’s engineered a plan that will leave the blame solely on someone else. He’s made noises about the lack of government funding and as I understand it, part of the funding to be raised is by public donation, so Bernie has given himself the perfect excuse to take the race elsewhere. The British public and government have failed themselves to secure the GP.

    Either that or this is a ruse to take control of Silverstone.

  10. Stealthman said on 6th September 2008, 4:27

    @ Steven Roy, post 4:

    “I can’t understand why they moved the start line.”

    I’m guessing the reasoning behind moving the start line is that the straight leading up to Redgate, and the existing pits beside it, are simply too short. I mean, where are they going to put all the cars? The solution to this is to build a longer pitlane that F1 will accept in this time and age, alongside a longer start/finish straight, which will conveniently lead into a tight and slow first corner. Hermann Tilke is probably the happiest man on Earth right now…

  11. The extra corner and start/finish move were probably Tilke’s idea. They’re not terrible ideas, but they’re not great either, setting a weak precedent that older tracks are simply a new paddock and a hairpin section away from modernization. Will Zolder and Dijon be next?

  12. I’m far form an expert on circuit design/layout, so I can’t offer much in terms of the new layout for Donnington. The only thoughts in my mind are the ones that entered it when I found out Tilke would take his ax to the layout- don’t expect anything that will produce great racing or be popular with the fans.

    In terms of the British GP, it upsets and angers me a great deal to see the future of F1′s most important GP tossed around like a meaningless exibition race. I’ve never been to Britain and cannot speak from any experience on the many logistical issues at Donnington, but from what many of you say, it sounds like a disaster waiting to happen. Indeed, we never know what Bernie is really up to, and perhaps this is one way for him to gain more control over the event and/or the venue that hosts it. Still, the history of F1 is woven together with that of Great Britain, and for the British GP to be dropped would be perhaps the biggest injustice in the history of motorsport.

    In closing, I very much hope that the new plans at Donnington work out well and the whole thing secures the British GP for the future. But if things go down the drain and the British GP is off the calendar, I’ll be just as furious as I am at the current lack of a USGP on the schedule.

  13. I’m a MotoGP fan before an F1 fan, but I can’t say I’m enthralled by the changes, especially if the “untouched” sections of the track are widened, fundamentally changing the nature of them.

    What about spectator facilities? They are currently dire for the crowds at MotoGP, let alone the larger pack that will arrive with F1. Parking and access is always an issue, even for smaller events. There are a lot of wrinkles to be sorted out, and I’m not convinced they can be in time for 2010.

  14. spectre said on 6th September 2008, 8:59

    As someone put it… The only reason F1 should go to the UK is because of the chance of rain at race day. :)

  15. @spectre:

    That and the fact that we can sell out a Grand Prix here, getting 240,000 people along to Silverstone over three days, while the stands are two-thirds empty at some of the newer venues.

    But enough of Donington – we spent all day yesterday thinking about it, and now we’re going to watch some racing instead.

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