Another Donington deadline missed: will Ecclestone give Silverstone its race back?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

The fate of the British Grand Prix hangs in the balance
The fate of the British Grand Prix hangs in the balance

Donington Park’s plan to hold the British Grand Prix in 2010 had its doubters from the start, and it looks like they were right all along.

Yesterday Donington missed its deadline to confirm it had the funding in place to complete the building work at the track in time for the race – a deadline that has already had several extensions.

Will Bernie Ecclestone now save the British Grand Prix by giving it back to Silverstone? Or will he confirm the suspicions of those who feared this was a scheme to get the event off the calendar to make room for more lucrative races?

Ecclestone told the Daily Mail:

This is the final deadline – 200 per cent. It’s not good is it? Even if they come up with the money they can’t build the circuit in time.
Bernie Ecclestone

He has changed his position on whether Silverstone could hold the race next year several times. After the Donington deal was announced during the British Grand Prix weekend in 2008 he insisted there was no way back for Silverstone, then conceded earlier this year that might not be the cased, and has changed his mind at least once more since then.

If Donington can’t pull it off, this will be the second time in seven years the British Grand Prix has been promised to a circuit other than Silverstone, only for the deal to fail.

Ecclestone originally gave the race to Brands Hatch for 2002 in a deal with circuit owner Nicola Foulston. But she sold the circuit on the strength of its British GP contract, making millions. The reconstruction work at Brands Hatch wasn’t completed in time and Ecclestone brokered a deal with the circuit’s new owners Octagon to hold the race at Silverstone.

Now we will find out if Ecclestone has anything up his sleeve to keep the British Grand Prix on the calendar – or if he is really interested in sparing it at all.

Damon Hill, president of the British Racing Drivers’ Club, has said Silverstone will take the race back, but not on a one-year deal that might see the race returning to Donington in 2011:

If Donington does not happen, then you have to ask yourself what that says about the decision to look into it in the first place. And in those circumstances it would be nice to think that we could get round a table with FOM and put to bed once and for all the uncertainty over the future of the British Grand Prix.
Damon Hill

Is Hill’s optimism justified or misplaced? Could there be no British Grand Prix next year – for the first time in the history of the world championship? Have your say in the comments.

Keep an eye on Brits on Pole who are watching every move in this story.

2010 British Grand Prix

Update: Stephen Northcott on Twitter suggested I create a Twibbon for F1 fans to show their support for the British Grand Prix – so here it is! Grab yours now:

71 comments on “Another Donington deadline missed: will Ecclestone give Silverstone its race back?”

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  1. I don’t know if the weather in Britain would be conducive to this idea but I have an idea. Donnington, Silverstone, and Brands Hatch. I’m sure they would all love to have a race held their. So this is my idea.
    In 2010, the race goes to Silver. But, two pre season races are held at Brands Hatch and Donnington. Obviously this would mean and introduction to a form of pre season, but I think it would be great for the fans. I know that you British folks love your racing and that the stands would be full for all three of the races.
    The following year, the actually race could be held at Donnington and the pre season races held at Silverstone and Brands Hatch, then the year after that the race is held at Brands Hatch and son on anon.
    Eccy would never go for it, it is too fan oriented and would make everyone too happy.

  2. I wonder what is going to happen.If Bernie wants the U.K GP in Silverstone then will Hill wants it there for 1 year only.

  3. Guess Bernie learned something from Nicola Foulston and pulled a quick one on Simon Gillete, oh well gotta pay your tuition..

  4. It’s good to know Silverstone will be there next year

    And Kamui Kobayashi will be there too replacing Glock from Brazil

    A spinal injury at the back, is it true?

  5. They could use the Huddersfield ring road. Nice corners, hills, a tunnel, straights and plenty of traffic lights all ready in place!

    1. lol!!!

      Actually they should come over the hill and do it outside my house in halifax :)

  6. was thinking earlier, a bit off topic i know, but bernie could see whazts hazppened with the football and make televised races ppv. anyone else think he could turn around and do this?

    1. If I remember correctly I think it was Ecclestone who said quite a few years ago that F1 would always stay on free to air TV rather than satellite TV because of the increased exposure for sponsors etc, so hopefully it will never go pay per view.

  7. Can someone kidnap his hot daughter to hold hostage until he agrees that Silverstone is back on from next year? Of course, I’ll hold her at my place until he agrees ;)

  8. Not wanting to say I told you so, not wanting to say I told you so, not wanting to say I told you so.

    Next up, USF1’s ignominious first (and probably only) year….

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