Donington was always doomed to fail, says Palmer
30 March 2010 – Ex Formula 1 driver and head of MotorSport Vision Jonathan Palmer is sad to admit that the Donington Park F1 project never looked likely to be a success. Owner of several British circuits himself, the Englishman fails to see a bright side regarding the Leicestershire track, which has been left in a state of much disrepair.
With his MotorSport Vision company currently the name behind Brands Hatch, Oulton Park, Snetterton, Cadwell Park and the Bedford Autodrome, Palmer would naturally seem a possible buyer for Donington but is only saddened by the state of the site, which was being reformed for the British Grand Prix by Simon Gillett's Donington Ventures Leisure Limited (DVLL).
"Donington Park is a very sad situation, I must say," Palmer said to Crash.net. "The promises that were made by Simon Gillett looked hugely ambitious to everybody and, of course, they weren't realised - it was always doomed to fail.
"I thought the chances of him being able to raise the money were very, very slight; there was promise after promise but none of them looked very likely and I don't think many people really believed that it was going to happen - it just occupied a lot of time and, clearly, some were taken in by it all."
Adding that the failure to host the F1 race is just the icing on a sour-tasting cake, with much of the track currently in ruins after construction work was ceased, Palmer noted that other areas will now also be suffering from a lack of regular treatment. "It's going to need a lot of money to sort it out," the Formula 2 Series Director continued.
"It's doable but it's difficult to see where the upside, commercially, is really going to come from now; they obviously don't have Formula 1, not that I think that's a big problem, but now they haven't got MotoGP anymore either. If I said to someone, 'Are you interested in buying a Ferrari?' they would say, 'Yes, great - if I can buy a Ferrari for £1,000, I'll have one'; that's the great issue, really - what the value is."