Donington Risks Losing MotoGP, WSBK And BSB In 2009
To many MotoGP fans, the news that Donington was to lose the British Grand Prix was bad news, as many prefer Donington's flowing layout - at least, the first half of the track, before the notorious car park section - to Silverstone's relatively flat circuit. It was seen as a loss, with another classic track disappearing from the calendar.
But it may not be such a loss after all. Ever since Donington embarked upon the project to redesign the track to make it suitable for Formula One, a stream of bad news has emerged from the circuit. First of all, the track had to reschedule and postpone a number of events after complaints about the construction. The new paddock access tunnel being built between Macleans and Coppice had meant run off in that area had been severely compromised, and the situation was only rectified after Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd promised to address the problems.
Now, Donington has an even bigger problem: The owner of the track, Tom Wheatcroft, has started legal proceedings against Donington Ventures Leisure Limited for unpaid rent. Wheatcroft claims that they are owed GBP 2.47 million by DVLL, which has a 150 year lease for the track, and are demanding payment of the arrears, which dates back to September 2008. Even worse news for DVLL is that Wheatcroft is also demanding that the lease be forfeited, effectively regaining control of the circuit.
Ever since the announcement that Donington would be hosting the British Formula One Grand Prix from 2010, there have been doubts about the feasibility of the project. DVLL needed to raise GPB 100 million to fund the massive construction planned for the new track, something many people believed would prevent a challenge at the best of times, let alone in the middle of a recession.
If DVLL is unable to rectify the situation, it could be more than just the Formula One race which is at risk. The British round of MotoGP, due to be held on July 26th, as well as the World Superbike and BSB rounds are at risk, and could well be canceled. The loss of Donington would be a particularly severe blow for MotoGP, which has already lost the planned Hungarian round due to financial problems. 2009 is a tough year in racing.