The transcripts from the House of Lords’ discussion on the future of the British Grand Prix makes interesting reading.
According to them Donington Park’s deal to host the British Grand Prix has been extended from 10 to 17 years.
The government also quoted Dutch financial institution ING saying “resources are in place” for the event – but confirmed the government would not give direct financial support to the race.
You can read the full transcript here – here’s a selection of highlights:
In a show of significant commitment to the new venue, Formula 1 management and Mr Ecclestone have recently extended the agreement with Donington from 10 to 17 years. This is unprecedented. Mr Ecclestone has further helped by, uniquely, agreeing to the fee required being paid in pounds sterling and not US dollars, so giving even more stability to the owners of Donington. This demonstrates the importance that Mr Ecclestone places on retaining a successful British Grand Prix. [...]
British Formula 1 teams tell me that if there is no British Grand Prix, they will lose valuable sponsorship. Their major UK-based sponsors want to “live and feel” the Grand Prix. [...]
The Grand Prix will move to Donington but, critically, remain in the United Kingdom. Each year, the British Grand Prix generates more than £50 million of spending and the equivalent of more than 1,500 jobs. The East Midlands region cannot afford to lose such a unique advantage as this. [...]
I have met the owners of Donington Park. They do not seek any free state aid or a government handout. They would like to secure constructive support and positive encouragement from the Government to help them through these difficult times. Mr. Ecclestone has made it clear in a letter that I have seen that should Donington fail to meet its obligations, the Grand Prix would be lost to the UK.
Lord Astor of Hever (honourary president of the Motorsport Industry Association)
Donington Park has a great history of hosting motor sport events and currently attracts large numbers of people. There is substantial investment required to bring it up to the level now required for a modern Grand Prix. We understand from ING, which is not an innocent of the world in raising money for major sporting venues, that the money will be raised for Donington and the necessary resources are in place. The track is not the issue. The issue is the costly additional facilities required.
We certainly stand by to help—not directly financially. Motor sport is an independent operation in this country, as most sports are. The Government can give degrees of support and help, as with Silverstone in the past. However, no one in this debate or in the industry argues for direct state support. We do not want a state-sponsored motor industry, but the Government can give necessary assistance and support in judicious ways, particularly by emphasising how important the industry is to the development of our society and economy.
Lord Davies of Oldham
Read more: More bad news from Donington