APRIL 28, 2009
The future of the British Grand Prix
The financial troubles that have hit Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd (DVL), the operators of the Donington Park, are bad news for the British Grand Prix, which is scheduled to take place at the track in 2010. Unless DVL can find money quickly the project is going to be derailed and that will mean that there is not enough time for the work to be done. The problem, according to our sources, is that the company had a bank loan organised but the bank then changed its mind when the credit crunch hit, leaving DVL struggling.
Much will now depend on what happens to DVL because the British GP contract must be seen as an asset and could be transferred to another entity, depending on the terms of the contract. If DVL went into administration, for example, the contract could be sold on to another party, such as Silverstone. This might suit the Northampton track quite well as the terms of the Donington team are believed to have been fairly generous.
Formula One Management may say that it will not run a British GP but the teams are not very happy with that idea and we have even heard the suggestion that they would do their own deal with Silverstone and run a non-championship race if FOM refused to include an event on the World Championship calendar. Thus negotiation and compromise will be necessary. There is increasing disquiet in F1 circles about the financial strength of the European events, most of which do not get any government support. The French, British, German and Belgian events are all having financial trouble. Hungary is unlikely to be able to pay what it has been paying because of the state of the national finances. Turkey is in economic trouble and has already said that the deal will not be renewed unless the terms improve. There are two races in Spain but one of them (Valencia) is rumoured to be an element in a developing political scandal, which could have implications in the future. Only Monaco, Italy and Barcelona seem to be untroubled.