Monday, 26 October 2009

Silverstone or bust

Will we be at Silverstone for the Grand Prix in 2010? That is the question on many British F1 fans. Today it looks more than likely that Donington’s chances will be ended. It was always destined to end like this. There was no way that Simon Gillett could have got the track to F1 standards and raised the money to do so, even if the economic climate was not so hostile.
In June Bernie Ecclestone said we would ‘for sure’ be at Silverstone in 2010 if Donington failed in its bid but now he is backtracking. Why? Well in June Bernie was probably meaning that Silverstone would be a stop-gap so Donington had more time to develop the circuit. Silverstone bosses have quite rightly rejected that possibility. They are now negotiating with Bernie for a long term contract. This is where the problem lies, as it did 18 months ago. The contract is, in Silverstone’s words, unviable. Bernie is saying that they can take it or leave it. We don’t know what this contract entails but if it is unviable how can Silverstone accept it?
Meanwhile Donington will be facing its biggest challenge yet – survival. Their unsuccessful bid for the Grand Prix has made an utter mess of the track. There are holes, diggers and mud everywhere. The iconic Dunlop Bridge has also been dismantled and of course they have lost the Moto GP contract to Silverstone meaning they will barely have any blue ribbon motorsport next year, if that. Bernie will no doubt charge them a cancellation fee, which has been reported in the press as being upwards of £15m. Could this cancellation fee be used to safeguard Silverstone? Stranger things have happened but do not be surprised if there is no British Grand Prix on the calendar next year.