F1: Ecclestone says banks no longer backing Donington

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarTuesday, April 28th, 2009

 
 

The banks working with Donington Park’s promoter to fund essential upgrades in time for the 2010 British Grand Prix have reportedly “pulled back” – according to none other than Formula One promoter Bernie Ecclestone.

He made the comment while lunching with Chris Sylt, business editor of the respected F1 website Pitpass.

According to Ecclestone, the move has left Donington Ventures Leisure Limited, the company headed by Simon Gillett and fighting over the future of its 150-year lease with circuit owners Wheatcroft & Son, “in trouble”.

Read Pitpass’ story in full here >>

The news that the banks have pulled the plug on the project would certainly explain recent developments, including owner Wheatcroft & Son’s decision to sue for the return of the lease and nearly £2.5 million in unpaid rent.

North West Leicestershire District Council have also revealed that DVLL has not signed a document that forms a crucial part of its planning permission – perhaps because that document contains expenditure commitments?

Also the details of the planned debenture scheme set to fund the circuit’s redevelopment effectively through advance ticket sales were set to be released at the end of March – suggesting that they have not been finalised a month after Gillett’s self-imposed deadline for revealing them.

Gillett has been asked for comments by several publications, but has not yet publicly responded to the recent series of events that makes Donington’s race to host the 2010 race look increasingly close falling by the wayside.

Accounts filed in January revealed – as Pitpass mentions – that DVLL’s day-to-day costs were being met by a £16.3 million banking facility. It also said that property developer Paul White, described as a ‘principal shareholder’ in the company, was helping to support it, but there was “no binding commitment” on him to continue.

Sylt also reports that Ecclestone definitively ruled out rescheduling the event at another venue, although in other publications his comments have suggested he is rethinking his line on this.

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