Bernie Ecclestone was widely quoted yesterday saying:
If the work at Donington is not finished in time, we would be happy to skip a year. I don’t want to lose the British Grand Prix — that’s the last thing we want to do, but we aren’t going to Silverstone for sure.
I’m not in the slightest bit confident that if the British Grand Prix disappeared next year we would be likely to see it on the calendar again soon.
Ecclestone’s latest remarks are a climbdown from his words to The Times two weeks ago when he said:
If they were to do what they should have done, and what we’ve been asking them to do for five years, we’d have to have a look at it. We’ve got nothing against Silverstone.
But if the British Grand Prix were missing from the 2010 F1 calendar, would it be any more likely to return in 2011?
I’m not sure. When the San Marino Grand Prix was dropped after 2006 mayor Massimo Marchignoli declared his intention to get the race back in 2008. But, despite extensive modifications to the track, it never happened. Instead in 2008 F1 gained a second race in Spain and a new event in Singapore.
Ministers continue to discuss the hosting of the British Grand Prix with various parties and I recently visited Donington to discuss progress with the owners.
It is the Government’s ongoing wish to see a British Grand Prix in this country and we continue to facilitate and support this where we can.
There continues to be no sign the government intends to support the race in any material way.
Donington Park boss Simon Gillett has finally begun to release information about the debenture scheme but details are still rather limited.
With so many doubts over Donington’s ability to hold a race next year, using Silverstone on a contingency basis makes a lot of sense. With six of the ten F1 teams based in Britain it is already the cheapest round for them to attend.
It may be hard to believe that the home country of the present world champion and current championship leading team and driver could be at such great danger of losing its F1 race. But FOM’s revenue from hosting Grands Prix is largely unrelated to ticket sales, so it matters little to them whether the grandstands are full or not.
I will be at the British Grand Prix this year – if you’re going and want to meet up read this post in the forum.