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Page last updated at 16:17 GMT, Thursday, 29 October 2009

No Donington GP, says Ecclestone

Donington Park in 1993
Donington has held one Formula 1 race before, the 1993 European Grand Prix

Formula 1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has categorically insisted there will be no British Grand Prix at Donington Park next year.

"There's no Donington," said Ecclestone at the new Yas Marina track in Abu Dhabi ahead of the final race of 2009.

The proposed move from Silverstone to Donington collapsed because the company redeveloping the circuit failed to show it had the £135m funding required.

Silverstone are trying to ensure there will be a British Grand Prix in 2010.

The company which owns the Northamptonshire circuit, Silverstone Holdings, stalled when a new deal was being renegotiated.

That allowed Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd - who lease Donington Park from the owning Wheatcroft family - to sign a 17-year deal with Ecclestone, which is now dead in the water.

This is a very British institution and every effort must be made to keep the race in the UK

Business secretary Lord Mandelson

But Ecclestone says any possible deal is now in the hands of Silverstone to make sure the British Grand Prix goes ahead next year, and beyond.

"We're talking," he said. "A deal can be done if they [Silverstone] want to."

Asked if there was a difference of opinion over the details, Ecclestone added: "There isn't actually. As far as I'm concerned, no problems.

"Donington have missed the deadline which we kept extending for them.

"It's unfortunate for them. It was the credit crunch that caused them to be in trouble - because their intentions were good, that's for sure."

On Thursday, Business Secretary Lord Mandelson contacted Ecclestone to stress the importance of Formula One and the British Grand Prix to the UK.

"This is a very British institution and every effort must be made to keep the race in the UK," said Mandelson.

"Losing it would be a body blow to UK sport, the teams, and the fans. Bernie reassured me he was doing everything possible to maintain the British Grand Prix in the UK. "

Former F1 world champion Damon Hill, who is trying to land the event for Silverstone, said on Tuesday that he feared the future of next year's British GP is far from certain because of competition from around the world.

"F1 can go anywhere in the world and get a huge amount of money," he told BBC Radio 5 live.

"That's what Bernie's wrestling with. But it's not his job to give a discounted job to the UK."


The British GP has been held every year since 1948 and has a rich history, while recently English drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button have won 2008 and 2009 world titles respectively with Brackley-based Brawn also clinching this year's constructors' crown.

Silverstone has hosted every British Grand Prix since 1987, while Donington, which is synonymous with MotoGP, has held only one F1 race, the European Grand Prix in 1993.

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see also
McLaren to fight for British GP
28 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Hill fears for British GP future
27 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
Silverstone warned by Ecclestone
24 Oct 09 |  Formula 1
F1 could mean boost for Donington
13 Oct 09 |  People and Places
Donington confident on grand prix
03 Oct 09 |  Leicestershire
Donington quiet as deadline nears
02 Oct 09 |  Leicestershire
Ecclestone sends Donington threat
26 Sep 09 |  Formula 1
Donington track shuts for F1 work
24 Sep 09 |  Leicestershire
British GP is secure - Ecclestone
20 Jun 09 |  Formula 1
Donington secures 17-year F1 deal
15 Jun 09 |  Leicestershire

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