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Page last updated at 11:15 GMT, Saturday, 5 July 2008 12:15 UK

Team bosses back Donington switch

Sir Frank Williams
Williams is relieved the British Grand Prix's future is secure

Top Formula One team bosses have backed the British Grand Prix's move to Donington Park from 2010.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed a 10-year contract with the East Midlands circuit's owners, ending a long association with Silverstone.

And the likes of Sir Frank Williams, Honda chief Ross Brawn and Toyota's John Howett all back the decision.

Williams said: "I'm delighted. Some feared the British Grand Prix may be dropped, but it seems unlikely now."

Like Force India, Honda and Williams have their factory bases closer to Silverstone and moving the race to Donington Park is a minor inconvenience.

But Williams said: "I'm just delighted the British Grand Prix will continue to be mentioned in a calendar.

"If it is at Donington, it's at Donington. If it's at Silverstone, it's at Silverstone.

606: DEBATE
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"Privately I would prefer to come to Silverstone. It is much closer for all our factory staff, to Heathrow and to the largest number of spectators, but if it's Donington, we will be there."

Honda's base is in Brackley, 10 minutes from Silverstone, although Brawn echoed Williams' sentiments.

"The most important thing is we maintain the British Grand Prix because we are under huge competition from circuits like Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, and these new countries that want a Grand Prix," said Brawn.

"It is just very good news we will keep it in Britain, but a little bit sad we are losing it from Silverstone, especially as our company and our factory are so close."

And Toyota's Howett feels Donington Park will carve its own niche.

"The British Grand Prix is secure," he said. "In the end I think it is sad to lose a great circuit with heritage such as Silverstone.

"But at the same time I'm sure Donington will create an environment which will be extremely good for F1."

Ross Brawn
Honda chief Ross Brawn insists keeping the British Grand Prix was the priority

McLaren F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh was at the Woking-based marque in 1993 when Ayrton Senna triumphed for the team in the only Grand Prix to so far be staged at Donington.

"I think it is vitally important there is a British Grand Prix, so that is good news," said Whitmarsh.

"I think Silverstone and Donington are two great circuits, but my personal recollections of Donington are very happy, so I'm pleased to race there if that is where the race is in two years' time."

Donington, which is on the border of Derbyshire and Leicestershire, needs at least 100million to redevelop the track to bring it up to the standards required for Formula One, although private investors are said to be in line to provide the necessary finance.

Silverstone, which had been home to the race since 1987, is owned by the British Racing Drivers' Club and had been in drawn out talks with Ecclestone to secure a new deal.


see also
British GP will move to Donington
04 Jul 08 |  Formula One
Scepticism greets Donington switch
04 Jul 08 |  Formula One
British GP practice as it happened
04 Jul 08 |  Formula One
Does the British GP have a future?
03 Jul 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton upbeat for Silverstone
26 Jun 08 |  Formula One
British Grand Prix is a sell-out
05 Jun 08 |  Formula One
Mark Webber column
02 Jul 08 |  Formula One
Silverstone pit complex approved
30 May 08 |  Formula One
British GP is essential - Button
04 Dec 07 |  Formula One
F1 boss renews Silverstone attack
20 Nov 07 |  Formula One
Silverstone vows to reward fans
09 Jul 07 |  Formula One
Around Silverstone with an F1 star
05 Jul 07 |  Formula One
Hamilton 'could save British GP'
19 Jun 07 |  Formula One
How Blair put the media in a spin
10 May 07 |  UK Politics


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