F1 News, Views and Reviews

Donington On Track and Has 17 Year Contract

Donington Park boss Simon Gillet was almost iron fist in his conversation with Autosport this week as he discussed the future of the British Grand Prix and Donington Park’s development into a Formula One ready venue.

Gillet hit out at the British Motorsport Establishment’s criticism of Donington, and also their future as the host of F1.

In direct relation to the claims by media that they would not host the event in 2010, Gillet claimed that was never an option – despite Ecclestone saying they could take one year’s grace.

“Sitting here today, I can’t see any reason for doing that,” said Gillett. “What Bernie Ecclestone has done is given us a safety net. Part of the problem with our financing has been that everyone is out there saying it doesn’t matter if Donington doesn’t make it because Silverstone will pick it up.

“So that’s a distraction for our financiers – they read in the press that Silverstone will get it back so ask why they should go with us. But what Mr Ecclestone did was very carefully say that if Donington is there in 2010, he’ll wait because it’s not going back to Silverstone.

“In doing that, he has made 2010 even more viable because now finance houses understand that it is our contract. To give us one-year breathing space is an absolute show of commitment.”

Gillet confirmed that Donington has an epic 17 year contract, if F1 keeps going that long of course !

“The great thing about the credit crunch is that building is cheaper! So we’re now looking at about £30 million. We’re confident with what we have – and that’s with a 10-year contract.

“Now, with a 17-year contract, we should double that as well. It’s a very solid way of financing. It’s just that we caught the market at the wrong time.

“But now we’re talking to a lot of different funds and individuals about them backing this scheme because people now realise that this current situation is not going to last forever.

“We have a 17-year contract, and everyone knows that we will be out of this within that period.”

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