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JULY 6, 2008

Donington boss says fans will pay for race

Donington Park boss Simon Gillett has astonished the F1 world by announcing that the circuit does not have a secret backer, nor planning permission. And he says that the rebuilding work will be achieved by selling debentures on seats at the British GP - or by a bond issue.

In an interview with ITV's Louise Goodman, Gillett said that there is no mystery backer.

"Unfortunately there's not a mystery fairy godfather with a 100 million pound cheque out there," he said."I wish there was, and if there are any out there, please call! We've got to make some changes to the track, but it's fair to say that if I touch anything from Redgate to Macleans - ie the Craner Curves - I think I'll be lynched. So everyone can rest assured that that's not going to happen. There's going to be a new infield loop, adding about half a mile to the circuit to increase the lap time, and to give another Craner-style corner. And there will be a new Formula 1 pit and paddock, and upgrades to the infrastructure."

Gillett also confirmed that there is no planning permission as yet.

"We're going into the planning process now; we couldn't before we had the contract because obviously we would have showed our hand," he said. "But we've been working with the local authority, they're fully aware of what we're coming up with, and we're expecting a decision in the next couple of weeks."

One cannot fault optimism, but the news gives the event a great deal less credibility than the story was given when the announcement was made.