Silverstone tried to save Brit GP

Damon Hill, the president of the British Racing Drivers' Club, the owners of Silverstone, has warned that the circuit will not automatically revert to hosting the British Grand Prix in the event of Donington Park failing to meet its final deadline on Monday to produce the necessary £135m funding to host the race.

Although Donington's hopes of delivering on its 17-year contract to promote Britain's round of the Formula One world championship were yesterday hanging by a precarious thread, Hill warned that the race's destiny was in the hands of Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One commercial rights holder. Hill hinted that the future of the race depended on the 79-year-old billionaire offering a financially viable long-term contract to Silverstone to guarantee the future of the oldest race on the world championship calendar.

"Silverstone will be delighted to help assure the future of the British grand prix provided that a commercial deal which makes proper sense can be reached with the commercial rights holder who, to a large extent, is dictating the agenda in this matter. There has been ongoing dialogue on this score for quite some time, but we are not blithely assuming that Silverstone will automatically hang on to the British grand prix."

As far as Donington Park is concerned, the promoters at the circuit near Derby, who have retained an unrealistically bullish optimism in trying to raise the necessary funds to stage the race, yesterday came close to throwing in the towel with the stark admission that the bond flotation had been a failure.

Donington Ventures Leisure Limited admitted the news was "an unexpected blow to staff and management" in a statement released after it was reported earlier that bankers had abandoned efforts to raise the money through subscription to the bond due to a lack of interest from the world's financial institutions.

"Donington Ventures Leisure Limited can confirm that a bond for £135m to cover the cost of the F1 redevelopment at Donington Park has been unsuccessful," said the statement. "Despite higher than expected levels of interest and very positive early indications, the bond – which was launched with Citigroup last week – has failed to secure enough subscription ahead of today's deadline."

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