Donington Grand Prix plans receive boost
Donington Park's grand prix aspirations took another step towards being realised today as the circuit's chief executive Simon Gillett put pen to paper on a document which paves the way for major redevelopment to begin in earnest.
Construction work undertaken to get the Leicestershire circuit up to Formula One standards in time to host the 2010 British Grand Prix had been on hold while the local council reviewed their decision to grant planning permission for the proposed upgrade back in January.
Concerns were raised over the viability of the project in March when doubts emerged over Gillett's proposed debenture scheme to raise the £100m required to bring the circuit up to scratch, while a subsequent - and since resolved - legal wrangle with circuit owner Tom Wheatcroft cast a further shadow.
North West Leicestershire District Council had the power to deny planning permission if certain requirements were not met by June 30, but today's signing of a Section 106 agreement, a legally binding document in which certain undertakings are agreed to, appears to have brought an end to the matter.
A statement issued by Donington confirming the news revealed construction work would re-commence immediately, with a new pit and paddock complex first to be tackled.
"It's great to have cleared another hurdle and to see the hard work of the entire team at the circuit paying off," said Gillett.
"There's no denying that we still have a lot of hard work ahead but we'll continue to remain positive and do everything that we can to deliver against the promises that we have been made.
"The construction work is obviously extremely important, but we're also trying hard to ensure that it doesn't compromise the experience that our visitors to forthcoming events have."
Today's news adds further credibility to Donington's vow to stage grands prix from next year, which will mark the start of what is a 17-year agreement between Gillett and F1 rights holder Bernie Ecclestone.
The rubber-stamping of the Section 106 agreement will come as a welcome lift for Gillett, who was last week forced to defend his plans after British Racing Drivers' Club chairman Robert Brooks claimed the financial plan for the redevelopment did not "stack up".
Further questions were asked when Ecclestone revealed over the British Grand Prix weekend that Silverstone was in line to step in to stage next year's race if Donington failed to come through on the ambitious redevelopment.
However, Donington's case was last week forcefully argued by its marketing representatives ISG, a joint venture between sports media giant IMG and stadium finance specialists Bastion.
"It is nonsense to say that the Donington Park figures and debenture scheme does not stack up," said ISG chief executive Andrew Hampel.
"Through IMG and Bastion, ISG has vast experience and we are world leaders in the area of stadium and arena marketing.
"Without doubt, as paying customers, motorsport fans are ready for the same level of quality that fans of other leading sports have become accustomed to, and there is no reason that Donington Park cannot provide that."
Floyd Mayweather next opponent: Mayweather more likely to pick a former foe than a fresh contender like Amir Khan in Las Vegas lottery
Manchester United transfer news: Adnan Januzaj to be offered in deal for Memphis Depay
Jose Mourinho: 'The dogs bark and the caravan goes by,' Chelsea manager gives cryptic assessment after Blues win title
Arsenal transfer news: Tomas Rosicky and Mathieu Flamini set for showdown summer talks over future
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger reveals: 'We are not close to signing anybody. We need to lose some players'
- 1 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 General Election 2015: 14-year-old boy asks Nick Clegg – 'can you kill Katie Hopkins?'
- 5 YouTube social experiment shows just how easy it is to kidnap a child
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
In defence of liberal democracy
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils