SEPTEMBER 4, 2000
The British Grand Prix and Brands Hatch
THE future of the British Grand Prix remains clouded at the moment and there are indications that the race could be transferred to Donington Park if the rebuilding work at Brands Hatch is delayed. At the end of June, Brands Hatch was granted planning permission to redevelop the Kent racing circuit into a Formula 1 track by the Sevenoaks District Council. That decision was dependent on the planning permission being agreed by the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions. We understand that the application is now being studied by the department and an announcement is expected shortly. It may be that the plan is given the go-ahead but we hear that it is more likely that there will have to be a public inquiry. This will delay the program by at least six months and probably longer, and that will mean that the plan to have all the work at Brands Hatch completed in time for the British GP in July 2002 may be impractical, although the circuit has said that all the work can be completed in 12 months.
In effect this means that the work will have to begin in July 2001 at the very latest. If the work at Brands Hatch is delayed it is possible that a deal will be worked out for one or more years in which the race will be held at Donington Park, although there is considerable work needing to be done at the Leicestershire track as well and this will take both time and money.
The other option is for Brands Hatch and Silverstone to agree to work together. It is hard to see how this would work as circuits hosting Grands Prix need a race every year to make the event financially viable, given the constant demands from F1 for upgrading work.