Ecclestone ponders moving GP to Donington


Taking time out from his "war" with Max Mosley, Bernie Ecclestone has turned his attention on another foe, the British Racing Drivers' Club (BRDC) and Silverstone.

While race fans in Britain ponder the prospect of the forthcoming Grand Prix at Silverstone being hit by a drivers strike, the F1 supremo has admitted that he is pondering moving the event to Donington once the current contract runs out. A move predicted by Pitpass when Donington Ventures Leisure Limited (DVLL) bought the Derbyshire circuit from Live Nation (formerly Clear Channel Group) in February 2007.

"We are discussing the possibility of reaching an agreement with Donington to host the British Grand Prix," Ecclestone told The Times, clearly his organ of choice these days. ""We are trying to save the British Grand Prix and we want it to be staged at a venue which befits an event of its stature. I've been in negotiations for a long time and whether or not we're going to do a deal with Donington or Silverstone, I don't know.

"Donington have said they are going to build everything we want," he added. "Have they got the money? Only time will tell. But I think there is more chance of Donington having the money than the BRDC."

Of course, in the same way that Ecclestone uses the media to apply the pressure to Mosley, and just about everyone else, he is now turning up the heat on the BRDC and Silverstone.

Ecclestone memorably took F1 to Donington in 1993, when the event was staged as the European Grand Prix. While the race is remembered for the stupendous exploits of Ayrton Senna, those in the know are well aware that Ecclestone cynically exploited Donington and its owner, Tom Wheatcroft, who paid a heavy price for the event, both financially and health-wise.

While the new owners of Donington have made no secret of the fact that they would dearly love to host the British Grand Prix, the reality is that the Derbyshire track needs even more work carried out on it than Silverstone.

However, as Ecclestone well knows, the best way to apply the pressure a la Silverstone/Melbourne, is to suggest that there is an alternative venue eager to take the event and willing to splash out more cash.

That said, the new owners at Donington would very much like to have the GP, having made no secret of the fact, which means that in the not too distant future we could have two state of the art tracks in Britain. All that would be needed then is the money to pay Bernie and some decent weather.

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Published: 20/06/2008
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