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Donington runs into more trouble

NEWS STORY
23/04/2009

In the face of mounting speculation regarding the future of the British Grand Prix at Donington, Wheatcroft & Son Limited, the owners of Donington Park motor racing circuit, have issued legal proceedings against Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd.

Today's announcement comes on the back of speculation in recent days that Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd is going into receivership with the aim of emerging as another entity within days. In as much as it is nothing more than a rumour at present, it is unclear, if true, how this might affect any outstanding contracts, such as the rights to host the Grand Prix.

This afternoon, Lawyers at Browne Jacobson LLP, acting on behalf of their client Wheatcroft & Son Limited, issued the proceedings at Derby County Court, the sum in question is said to be 2.47m and is related to rent arrears and forfeiture of the circuit lease. Wheatcroft & Son Limited awarded Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd a 150-year lease in January 2007. Donington Park has since been awarded a ten-year contract to host the British Grand Prix from 2010.

"It is with great reluctance that we have taken this decision," said Kevin Wheatcroft of Wheatcroft & Son Limited. "Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd owe us nearly 2.5m in rent dating back to September 2008. Despite receiving numerous reassurances over a number of months they have consistently failed to meet their financial obligations under the terms of the lease. We have held off taking legal action for as long as possible but have been left with no choice but to commence proceedings to recover the outstanding rent and forfeit the lease."

While circuit boss Simon Gillett continues to claim that all is well, there is mounting concern as to why details of the means by which the necessary funding for the redevelopment of the track have not yet been announced, when it was claimed that all would be made clear by the end of March. However, senior sources within the sport have intimated to Pitpass that the banks supporting Donington have "pilled back and left it in trouble".

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has said repeatedly that if Donington is not in a position to host the race next year, Britain will lose its round of the World Championship.

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