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GP Week : Issue 49
British GP saved as Donington survives FEARS that this year’s British GP might have to join the Hungarian round in cancellation have been themselves cancelled, after the new circuit operators have solved their debt problem with the circuit owners, and after the track has passed a crucial FIM safety inspection last week. Earlier in the year, with the venue surrounded with turmoil, the race was in jeopardy. It will be the last race at Donington, after a series that began in 1987. The track took the bike GP from Silverstone, but from 2010 the race returns to its earlier home. The situation at the scenic circuit in the British midlands was at its nadir in April. Circuit owners Wheatcroft had started legal action against Simon Gillett’s DVL (Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd) for £2.5-million ($US4m) unpaid rent; while construction work had removed vital run-off areas, and races were being held with much of the circuit under yellow caution flags, dictating no overtaking. Gillett promised a solution, and last week announced he had been successful. Not only had agreement been reached with Wheatcroft, but the circuit also won the approval of the FIM inspector Claude Danis, re-homologating it for not only the British GP, but also the British World Superbike round a month earlier. Works installing a new access tunnel in preparation for hosting the British car GP next year have now been completed, and the lost run-off area restored. “This is great news for everybody at Donington Park and all of the fans," said Gillett. 250 riders told to “watch-it” by Race Direction RACING watchdog the Race Direction commission has fired a warning shot across the front wheels of over- enthusiastic 250 riders, with the promise that the yellow card and US$5,000 fine slapped on Marco Simoncelli at Mugello signals a more rigid application of the rules for the forthcoming season. 18 The rule, Article 1.21.2 of the GP regulations gives the commission discretion to judge on cases of riding “in an irresponsible manner, causing danger …”. “We are anxious to ensure that riders respect the rule, particularly in view of the arrival of Moto2 next year,” said race director Paul Butler, a member of the four-strong commission. Simoncelli’s punishment, considered severe by some observers, was meant also as an example, said Butler. “This year we intend to more rigid.” The so-called yellow card system means that riders get one more chance before being disqualified or suspended, as well as fined. “I know we are sometimes accused of double standards, but we have to be unbiased.” There is no limit in the rule book as to how long a rider may be suspended, but “they’re the best riders in the world, so we wouldn’t expect any major problems,” said Butler.