No buyer for Donington Park lease

Donington Park's future remains uncertain after the administrators were unable to find a buyer for Donington Ventures Leisure Limited's lease on the track

No buyer for Donington Park lease

The lease has now been returned to Wheatcroft and Son, the circuit's owner, with DVLL's staff made redundant.

"We have not managed to sell the lease and we have handed it back to the landlords," said Nigel Price, a partner at administrator Begbies Traynor, which was handling DVLL's situation.

"Although there have been many interested parties and detailed and lengthy negotiations, ultimately it has not been possibly to do a deal."

DVLL took a 150-year lease on Donington in 2007, and then secured a 17-year deal to hold the British Grand Prix.

This should have commenced next season, but the firm could not secure the finance required to complete the massive revamp required to make the track and paddock suitable for F1, and went into administration last month, shortly after Bernie Ecclestone announced that Donington had missed the final deadline to get its funding in place.

Although Begbies Traynor originally hoped to find a buyer with the resources to complete the redevelopment and honour the F1 contract from 2010 or 2011, the British GP's existing home Silverstone was awarded the race for the next 17 years instead.

Price said the Silverstone decision did dissuade some potential buyers for DVLL, but that others had been interested in the track as a national venue.

"DVLL had a 17-year contract with Formula One Administration to host the British Grand Prix round of the Formula 1 world motor racing championship but this was finally lost at the end of November and some parties withdrew," he said.

"However, there was still serious interest in the circuit as a national track, although the onerous terms of the lease meant that a deal could not be done in the relatively short timescale available to us.

"As I motor racing fan I am delighted that there will still be a British Grand Prix but I would have loved to have brought it to Donington and especially for the staff there, who have worked so hard to achieve it. I would like to thank them all for their efforts and wish them well for the future."

Donington's rebuild had begun before the financial problems caused the project to stall. Significant work would now be required before the circuit could host racing of any kind again. The administrator estimated DVLL's liabilities to be approximately £20 million.

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