Breaking F1 News: Donington Park a No-Go for 2010


DoningtonPark-02 If you’ve ever wondered what an F1 race staged at this circuit might look like, you can stop. Turns out it’s about 99.99999999% likely to not ever happen, after all. Reasons why after the jump.

Donington Ventures Leisure Limited had been attempting to raise a bond of £135 million which they said they needed in order to bring the facilities and track up to F1 specifications. Citigroup was in charge of marketing their bond, which they had until Friday to accomplish. However, according to this article in the Financial Times, Citigroup may already have given up on attempting to find anyone buying as of yesterday, due to unexpectedly low levels of interest. Cue Photoshops of Bernie and references to “It’s Hard Out Here for a Pimp” at will.

Apparently all is not entirely lost for the prospect of F1 in the UK—a thought that seems abhorrent on a level pretty close to having lost Montreal previously. Ecclestone is allegedly in the midst of informal talks with Silverstone about possibly stepping in to fill the gap for next year. Meanwhile, Silverstone would of course like a longer contract than just a single year. Donington Park is stressing that its deadline ends at noon on Monday, the 26th of October, and that they shouldn’t be counted out yet. Perhaps not, but their bid certainly seems to be in a persistent vegetative state.

Like it or not, while F1’s heart seems to firmly reside in Italy, I’d argue that a good portion of its brain resides in the UK. To no longer have a race there seems a slap in the face to all the fans who make it a point to take a long weekend holiday to go see the race. As a non-European, it’s exciting to see this slightly insular sport that I love extending itself to the far reaches of the globe and not being quite as Euro-centric as it’s been accused of in the past. However, it’s also a bit disheartening when some of the new tracks have no character, no elevation changes,
and little-to-no soul about them. It’s not just about a sense of history. It’s about a sense of something that no amount of shiny chrome fitments and ridiculously wide track intended for passing that still doesn’t happen as you’d like can ever replace.

In other news, Jean Todt has won the FIA presidency. He received 135 votes, Ari Vatanen received 49 votes, and 12 people abstained from voting altogether. Todt will succeed Max Mosley after the latter steps down, and hopefully will not merely be an extension of Mosley’s from beyond the FIA-grave, as some fears have expressed.