Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Why Donington Failed

On Monday the British GP saga was settled. Silverstone announced to the world they had signed a 17-year contract to host the British GP and they would be redeveloping the track from the new year. A new pit and paddock complex is expected to be built between Club and Abbey before the 2011 event and a new track incoroporating the International and National straights and a new corner called the Arrowhead linking the two before re-joining the existing GP track at Brooklands. The news has met with mixed reviews from F1 fans. Some will miss the high speed section of the Bridge corner where the cars flew downhill, under the bridge and kinked right through Bridge corner. Some however will be glad the complex has been broken up as it often produced no overtaking.
But in all cases Silverstone is the winner as it the British spectator. But futher up the country the track which from July 2008 until October 2009 held the 17-year contract to host the event lies half built and in a terrible state.
Donington Park went full ahead with their plans to host the British Grand Prix with no funding. They relied on a debenture scheme which from day 1 was risky and with the advent of the recession was unrealistic. They got used by Bernie in his war on the BRDC leaving the track in a state of disrepair and in administration. They were managed badly by Simon Gillett. His ideas of using public transport to the venue were awful and the lack of campsites and local pubs add to the spectators misery. Donington also used the services of Tilke to redesign their track. His tracks are generally thought of my F1 fans as being spectacular to look at but the racing produced is boring (Valencia, Singapore, China, Abu Dhabi).By charging ahead with no funds to host a British GP they have lost their blue riband event of the Moto GP. It's very sad to see a great track and legacy of Tom Wheatcroft at risk because of the poor business planning of Simon Gillett.

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