Donington and Spa bid for F1 return

BBC Radio Five Live has reported that Donington Park's owner, octogenarian building entrepreneur Tom Wheatcroft, is preparing to make a bid to host the British Grand Prix - but only if Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is willing to cut his asking price for it

Donington and Spa bid for F1 return

Wheatcroft had plans drawn up for a total revamp of the east midlands venue in the wake of the shenanigans of 1999, when the British GP rights were sold to Nichola Foulston's Brands Hatch Leisure company. When planning permission was blocked for Brands' upgrade, Donington moved to try and upgrade its facilities, but its American leaseholder (then SFX, now ClearChannel) was not prepared to invest.

Now, Wheatcroft appears to have resurrected the plans as Silverstone continues to be locked in dispute with the sport's authorities over the terms of its current deal and its level of facilities.

Meanwhile, a leading Belgian politician has claimed that the deal to return Spa-Francorchamps to the F1 calendar has already been done. This follows the confirmation earlier this week of an exemption to the country's tobacco advertising ban.

Serge Kubla, economy minister of the local Wallonia region, told Belgian radio station RTBF: "I can formally confirm that the Grand Prix in Francorchamps will take place in 2004."

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