Mike Stevens | Oct 28, 2009

SILVERSTONE HAS BEEN offered a chance to regain the rights to host the British Grand Prix for 2010 and beyond after Donington Park’s bid to stage the event fell apart over financial problems.

Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has approached event manager Silverstone Holdings with a proposal for the circuit to host the British race for the next 17 years, paving the way for its reintroduction to the F1 calendar.

While Ecclestone is optimistic he can reach an agreement with the circuit, the 79-year-old said he is prepared to cancel the British race unless his demands are met.

“He has a contract on his desk,” Ecclestone said to The Times. “They’ve got to tidy the whole place up a bit, but I’m optimistic they will accept it.”

Ecclestone initially stripped Silverstone as a host following the culmination of a near decade-long battle to force the circuit’s management to upgrade facilities, moving the Grand Prix to Donington Park for the next 17 years.

However, the Donington bid soon descended into strife as circuit operator, Donington Ventures Limited, struggled to raise sufficient capital to complete track renovations and host the event.

f1_donington-park

Although Ecclestone provided organisers with a series of extensions to muster enough financial support, Donington Park’s prospects were dealt a fatal blow when an attempt to raise £135 million fell through.

Donington Ventures Limited confirmed its plans to host the British Grand Prix had collapsed, issuing a statement on its website.

“Donington Ventures Leisure Limited can confirm that a bond for £135 million to cover the cost of the F1 redevelopment at Donington Park has been unsuccessful,” the statement said.

“Despite higher than expected levels of interest and very positive early indications, the bond - which was launched with Citi Group last week - has failed to secure enough subscription ahead of today's deadline.

“The news dealt an unexpected blow to staff and management at the circuit, who still have a deadline of 12pm on Monday 26 October to remedy a breach of contract with Formula 1 Rights Holder Bernie Ecclestone, in order to keep any plans for retaining the existing 17-year Formula 1 contract alive.

“Information regarding the circuit's future plans is not yet available, however the major focus is on providing security for the Leicestershire venue and all related parties, including staff and suppliers.”

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