Castle Donington, Friday: Donington Ventures head honcho Simon Gillett has admitted his disappointment that he was unable to secure the British Grand Prix at Donington Park from 2010 onwards, after Bernie Ecclestone confirmed that his latest payment to the F1 supremo would be rejected as it was made beyond an established deadline.

Disappointed: Donington chief Simon Gillett

“Obviously it’s a huge disappointment,” Gillett explained. “I was really looking forward to having lots of photos taken of me standing around in a hard hat, pretending to look like I was contributing something to this whole scheme while a bunch of contractors did the real work.”

The minimal work that has been done at Donington so far, such as dismantling its iconic Dunlop Bridge, has been deemed insufficient to meet the standards necessary for Formula One, and so the British Grand Prix is without a home for 2010 – although there is still hope that a deal will be struck between Ecclestone and Silverstone, where the race has been held numerous times throughout the sport’s history.

“Oh damn, it was a bit of a mistake taking down that bridge, wasn’t it?” Gillett asked, slapping his hand to his head theatrically. “What a shame.”

A quick Internet search reveals that a user named “gilly2010” is currently selling something that looks suspiciously like the Dunlop Bridge on eBay. Gillett denied all knowledge of this transaction.

Meanwhile, British Racing Drivers’ Club boss Damon Hill has confirmed that he and his team have drawn up plans for a £25 million revamp of Silverstone. “Would you just look at these brilliant plans,” Hill beamed yesterday.

When asked precisely what work was going to be done in the coming months, Hill said: “Work? But we’ve done all the work. Here’s the result,” again proffering the plans.

Reporters then asked Hill how long the improvements would take to be made. “What improvements?” Hill responded. “These are just plans. I don’t think we need to actually implement them.”