Donington GP is a no go, says Silverstone chairman

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The Independent Online

As the teams and the governing body continue the fight which threatens to take the sport beyond the brink of civil war, Silverstone's management yesterday voiced their worries about the future of the British Grand Prix.

Robert Brooks, the chairman of the British Racing Drivers' Club which owns Silverstone, said that there was no way that the numbers put forward by Donington Park, who have a contract to run the race for the next 17 years, add up. As Silverstone prepares to make what could be its last F1 race a memorable affair, Brooks said: "Our concern is not about the long-term it is about the 2010 Grand Prix. We all know that grands prix don't take sabbaticals terribly well, and 2010 is a big concern to us. We don't think from where we sit that a summer grand prix in 2010 is a possibility at Donington.

"I've looked at what we have been told about its business plans, and we have looked at the numbers that have been revealed to the public about the debenture schemes, and as a team we have run those numbers. We had a debenture scheme as part of our thinking for building a grandstand as part of our masterplan here, and it would work well for building a grandstand or something of that nature, but the idea that you could fund a £100m development off a debenture scheme just doesn't stack up.

"I have always found in business that it doesn't do anyone any good to knock the opposition, and in contract terms Donington is the opposition. Donington is a very exciting club circuit, as are a number of British circuits. But the difference between a good club circuit and an international standard grand-prix circuit is massive, it is huge. And the amount of work that needs to go in is considerable."

Brooks stressed that while Silverstone is not pushing to host next year's race should Donington Park not be ready, they would be ready to step in if necessary in order to preserve the continuity of an event that is crucial to the wellbeing of the British motorsport industry.

Meanwhile, the FOTA teams and the governing body continued their dialogue yesterday but it won't be known until later in the weekend if it was successful. The FIA president, Max Mosley, has given them until close of play tonight to withdraw the conditions they placed on their entries.

He has made it clear in correspondence with the teams that he is willing to accept a €100m (£85m) budget cap limit for next year, providing that this is reduced to €45m (£38m) for 2011. Previously he had insisted on the latter for 2010.

If the teams do not comply with Mosley's demands on their conditional entries, Brawn, McLaren-Mercedes, Renault, Toyota and BMW Sauber could see their entries given to new teams such as Prodrive, though Lola, who had reportedly been close to having their entry accepted, announced earlier this week that they had officially withdrawn it.