BRITISH GRAND PRIX IS UP FOR GRABS
Silverstone and Donington could fight it out for the future of the British Motogp
The British Grand Prix could be set for a return to Donington Park, after Motogp boss Carmelo Ezpeleta exclusively confirmed to MCN at the Czech Grand Prix that their contract with the ill-fated Circuit of Wales project is finally dead in the water.
The news opens the way for both Silverstone and Donington Park to bid for the race in the future, with MCN’S sources indicating that both are keen to take up the mantle.
Ezpeleta confirmed to MCN that the 10-year contract that they signed in 2014 to host the race is now null and void – news that has come as no real surprise after last month’s refusal by the Welsh government to provide the financial backing that project boss Heads of the Valley Development Company needed to begin construction.
And despite the insistences of Circuit of Wales boss Martin Whittaker to MCN only a month ago that this year’s race would continue to be organised by them under the track leasing deal they’ve used for a number of years with Silverstone, that plan has now been scrapped, too. The promotion and organisation of this month’s British Grand Prix will instead be carried out by Silverstone and Dorna themselves.
Ezpeleta told MCN: “We are now working directly with Silverstone and they are promoting the event, and everything is going well. The contract with Circuit of Wales is completely finished, because they have harmed the matter – but we solved the situation by working directly with Silverstone, and for the future we will see.
“We prefer to solve this problem first and then we will consider the future. Donington is a possibility too - we are happy with Silverstone but we will discuss the matter also with Donington.”
With the last-minute deal being put together between them to save this year’s race, it does mean that the future of the race is up in the air. British Superbike bosses MSV are set to take over ownership of Donington Park, pending an inquiry by the Competition and Markets Authority and they’d like nothing more than to take the race back to the Derbyshire circuit.
However, Donington Park needs significant improvement works in order to bring the track up to Motogp standards – both technical and spectator facilities are a long way behind F1-spec Silverstone. But if the MSV takeover goes through, that investment could be on the way as part of MSV’S plans to develop the track.
In fact, a model for the upgrades already exists in Grand Prix racing, with Assen awarded a ten, instead of five-year deal to run the Dutch TT.
The added security of a longer-term contract allowed them to secure financing for a host of works in the coming years at the iconic Dutch track.
‘Happy with Silverstone, but we’ll also talk to Donington’
Silverstone has proved a hit with some riders and fans, but an Msv-run Donington could want its ball back