Brands inquiry puts Donington on pole for GP

The 2002 British Grand Prix is almost certain to be held at Donington Park, following the government's decision to hold a public inquiry into plans to redevelop Brands Hatch

Brands inquiry puts Donington on pole for GP

BHL, the owners of the Kent track, have a contract to promote the event from 2002 and can switch it to an alternative circuit if they wish. However, following another scathing attack on Silverstone, the present venue, by Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, Donington now appears to be the only viable alternative.

According to the government's planning minister, Nick Raynsford, the decision to call in Brands Hatch's planning application is due to possible conflicts between the scheme - which includes a new pits complex and grandstands - and the circuit's location within protected green belt land.

A statement from Brands Hatch said: "Given the historic reputation of Brands Hatch as the home of motorsport in the UK, we are surprised that the planning permission required to see the return of the British Grand Prix back to Kent has been called in by the government."

The inquiry will study the possible effects of the redevelopment and the event itself on the environment, nature conservation and transport in the area.

Although it is by no means certain that the application will be rejected, the probable timescale of the inquiry has effectively ended the chances of a Brands Hatch race in 2002. Past precedents, such as the application to build a fifth terminal at Heathrow Airport, have shown that public inquiries can potentially drag on for years. The plan includes the removal of 14 hectares of ancient woodland from the site and has already met with opposition from environmental pressure group The Woodland Trust.

A spokeswoman at the Department of the Environment, Transport and Regions said: "Even if there is a favourable decision, we understand it is unlikely that the 2002 British Grand Prix will be held at Brands Hatch, but that is a matter for the applicant."

Sources at Brands Hatch say the minimum time required to carry out the changes is six months. But other complications, including re-locating badgers that live on the site, could lengthen the process further.

Donington Park, which hosted the 1993 European Grand Prix, is about to embark on a major revamp of its facilities, regardless of whether it lands the Grand Prix in 2002. Speaking on ITV before Sunday's Italian Grand Prix, Bernie Ecclestone was positive on Donington's chances of hosting the race, but used the opportunity to launch another attack on Silverstone's suitably as a venue.

Ecclestone described the Northamptonshire track as an old house that needed pulling down and rebuilding, and added: "With Silverstone we should have the best track in the world, but instead we have the worst."



shares
comments
Circuit boss reacts to criticism

Previous article

Circuit boss reacts to criticism

Next article

Jordan Cars Released from Monza

Jordan Cars Released from Monza
Load comments
Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track' Plus

Why Mercedes is pleased to be in the Hungary hunt at a 'Red Bull track'

Mercedes ended Friday practice at the Hungaroring with a clear gap to Red Bull thanks to Valtteri Bottas’s pace in topping FP2. But there are other reasons why the Black Arrows squad feels satisfied with its progress so far at a track many Formula 1 observers reckon favours Red Bull overall

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks Plus

How Red Bull endured its second car crash in two weeks

OPINION: Red Bull was justified to be upset that Lewis Hamilton survived his British GP clash with Max Verstappen and went on to win. But its attempts to lobby the FIA to reconsider the severity of Hamilton's in-race penalty were always likely to backfire, and have only succeeded in creating a PR disaster that will distract from its on-track efforts

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach Plus

The ‘screaming’ F1 engine future that may not be out of reach

OPINION: It wasn't just the Verstappen/Hamilton clash that had the Red Bull and Mercedes bosses at loggerheads at Silverstone, with the nature of Formula 1's 2025 engines also subject for disagreement. But hopes to have loud, emotive engines that are also environmentally friendly don't have to be opposed

Formula 1
Jul 29, 2021
The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break Plus

The drivers that need to strike gold before F1's summer break

OPINION: Formula 1 is about to break up for summer 2021, with the title battles finely poised. But it’s not just the latest round of Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton that will be worth watching this weekend in Hungary, as plenty of drivers are eying big results to change the stories of their seasons so far

Formula 1
Jul 28, 2021
How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’ Plus

How Lotus F1 uncovered, then squandered its last ‘unfair advantage’

Cast in the mould of its founder Colin Chapman, Lotus was powerful and daring but 
flawed – as it proved through further soaring peaks and painful troughs into the 1980s. DAMIEN SMITH examines a game-changing era

Formula 1
Jul 27, 2021
The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address Plus

The core problems Yas Marina’s long-awaited tweaks won't address

OPINION: Changes to the layout of Abu Dhabi’s circuit aim to reverse the trend of insipid Formula 1 races there - the promoter has even described one of the new corners as “iconic”. And that, argues STUART CODLING, is one of this venue’s abiding failings

Formula 1
Jul 26, 2021
How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't Plus

How Ferrari offered Britain's next F1 prospect what Red Bull couldn't

Last year's Formula 2 runner-up Callum Ilott could be on his way to becoming the first Briton to contest a grand prix in an Alfa Romeo since Reg Parnell in 1950. But, says OLEG KARPOV, the Ferrari Driver Academy protege is having to temper his ambition at the moment – outwardly at least…

Formula 1
Jul 25, 2021
The signs that point to F1's rude health Plus

The signs that point to F1's rude health

OPINION: Formula 1's calendar might still be facing disruption as the pandemic affects travel but, says MARK GALLAGHER, the business itself is fundamentally strong thanks to the epic rivalry taking place on track and the consistent arrival of new sponsors

Formula 1
Jul 24, 2021