Button behind British Grand Prix bid

Jenson Button believes it would be a "disaster" if there were no British Grand Prix from next year.

Further doubt has been cast on Donington Park's ability to showcase the event following yesterday's launch of a legal battle.

Circuit owner Tom Wheatcroft has started proceedings against Simon Gillett's company, Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd, who have a 150-year lease of the East Midlands venue.

Wheatcroft is seeking £2.47m (€2.75m) in rent arrears from DVLL, who are due to stage the race from next season, as well as forfeiture of the track lease.

It is an unsavoury fight just nine months after Gillett agreed a 10-year deal with Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone to stage the blue-riband event.

There is now every chance the race could be lost, which would come as a bitter blow for current championship leader Button.

"As a British driver, and motor sport is very British, it would be very disappointing not to race in my home country," said Button.

"I don't live in the UK, I live in Monaco, but I'm very British and very patriotic, and it would be a disaster.

"It is a GP that is very hectic for a British driver because it's a very busy schedule.

"But in a way that's what I love about it. It's great driving in and seeing all the Union Jacks. It's a great feeling for a driver."

Ecclestone has previously made it clear if Donington Park does not come up to scratch, then there will be no British Grand Prix.

The 78-year-old is adamant there is no going back to Silverstone, which hosts its last race race on June 21, the 60th anniversary of F1's oldest grand prix.

Speaking in Bahrain ahead of Sunday's race, Ecclestone reiterated his threat, stating: "If Donington can't put on the British Grand Prix then that's it. We will be leaving Britain.

"There is no question of us going back to Silverstone. They have had enough chances and have not delivered what they promised."

However, there is hope on the horizon as Ecclestone may yet turn out to be a knight in shining armour and come to Gillett's rescue.

"I've been in talks with Simon and we've been talking through the money situation," added Ecclestone.

"I'm trying to help him sort things out. What he really needs is an investor, that's the best hope of saving the race."

Ecclestone, though, stopped short of confirming he would invest or promote the race, even though he is close friends with Wheatcroft.

"I'm too busy," insisted Ecclestone.

"Anyway, we have a promoter and the people (Gillett) there already."

Given the crisis, Ecclestone again criticised the Britich government for not offering their support, in particular given the positive impact the race has on the British car industry.

"It's a disgrace the British government does not step in to help," chided Ecclestone.

"They are throwing billions (of pounds) at the London Olympics.

"They could do what is needed to save the race by putting in a fraction of it, 0.002%."

Tom Wheatcroft's son, Kevin, has admitted their action was a last resort as he said: "It is with great reluctance we have taken this decision.

"Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd owe us nearly £2.5m (€2.75m) in rent dating back to September 2008.

"Despite receiving numerous reassurances over a number of months, they have consistently failed to meet their financial obligations under the terms of the lease.

"We have held off taking legal action for as long as possible, but have been left with no choice but to commence proceedings to recover the outstanding rent and forfeiture of the lease."

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