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Donington: Dennis remains sceptical

NEWS STORY
10/01/2009

While the owners of Donington, and indeed British race fans, celebrate the first step in the battle to keep Grand Prix racing in Britain, there are many who remain sceptical, both in terms of the circuit's ability to host an F1 race in the modern era and also how the necessary funding will be found, especially in these difficult times.

Speaking in Birmingham, McLaren boss Ron Dennis has admitted that he too is sceptical about the Leicestershire track, scene of one of his team's finest victories, with a little help from Ayrton Senna.

"I applaud anyone coming into grand prix racing and bringing competition," said Dennis, on being told that North West Leicestershire District Council had given the circuit's owners the required planning permission.

"But I really do struggle to understand how the economics of Donington will work," he continued. "They have had a 25% swing in the dollar, and the contract will be a dollar-based contract, whilst it has a massive investment into infrastructure."

Referring to the logistical challenge posed by the circuit, which has resulted in circuit bosses opting for a park and ride scheme whereby fans will be bussed into the track, Dennis said: "I don't understand how we are going to get in and out of the place, although I can tell you I will be in a helicopter!

"The reality is I want successful grands prix and I am concerned that, as we go down this path, the economic model, especially in this climate, won't work. That could be to the detriment of us hosting a grand prix in this country."

With Silverstone appearing to have lost all hope of ever hosting F1 again - there won't even be a test there this year courtesy of the new testing rules - if Donington fails then F1 (racing) in Britain could be doomed. The country that has given so much to the sport losing out to the new cash-rich, but passion starved, economies.

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