Donington hit with British Grand Prix blow

Donington Park owner Tom Wheatcroft has rejected American entertainment group SFX's bid to double their 25-year lease after calling their offer an insult.

The decision has put the prospect of the Leicestershire circuit hosting the British Grand Prix in 2002 in severe jeopardy.

SFX had hoped to spend 25 million on upgrading and redeveloping the track to Formula One standards but only if their 25-year lease is extended to 50 years by building magnate Wheatcroft.

But Wheatcroft, the man behind the move in bringing F1 to the Leicestershire circuit in 1993, rejected the deal because the price was too low.

He said: "They gave me an offer, but the offer was not acceptable. As much as I want the Grand Prix, the offer was an insult, and just before I set off for America, I sent them a fax to say it wasn't acceptable.

"They've come to me and they want a 50-year lease, which I don't blame them for - spending 30-odd million, I'd want the same. But there is a difference between trying to help somebody and being a charity.

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