Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley, now working together again after their recent war, made members of the British Racing Drivers' Club choke over their lunch yesterday when it was announced that Donington Park has secured a contract to run the British Grand Prix from 2010 onwards.
The news is a severe blow to the BRDC's aspirations to negotiate a new contract when its existing one expires in 2009 and to effect the £50m redevel-opment of Silverstone necessary to keep it as the self-styled "home of British motor sport".
"After many years of patient but fruitless negotiation with the BRDC, we are delighted that Bernie has been able to ensure that the British Grand Prix will keep its place on the Formula One world championship calendar," Mosley, the president of the sport's governing body, the FIA, said. "We understand that the development programme planned for Donington will achieve the very high standards we and FOM [Formula One Management] expect from a modern circuit. Finally, British Formula One fans will get the Grand Prix venue they deserve."
Ecclestone, the Formula One rights holder who has long been an enemy of the BRDC, said: "Finally the uncertainty is over. The future of the British Grand Prix is now secure. We wanted a world-class venue for Formula One in Britain, something that the teams and British fans could be proud of. The major development plans for Donington will give us exactly that: a venue that will put British motor sport back on the map.
"I am sorry that we could not have helped Silverstone to raise the money to carry out the circuit improvements and run Formula One. I believe that the government should have supported them, which would have cost probably less than 0.002 per cent of the government's commitment for the  Olympic Games."
Local authorities have granted the necessary planning permission for changes to Donington Park and together with the East Midlands Development Agency are lending full support to the new venture.
A statement from the BRDC and Silverstone Circuits said: "It is particularly disappointing to receive this information during the course of the British Grand Prix weekend, while we are celebrating 60 years of Silverstone and 80 years of the BRDC."