The beleaguered Circuit of Wales has been hit by yet more bad news, after leaks from inside the project were reported to show that running the British Grand Prix at Silverstone instead of the to-be-built site in South Wales has cost organisers a loss of £1.2 million.
The contract for running the British round of the championship was awarded to project developers Heads of the Valleys Development Company, but with work still to be started at the track despite originally being scheduled to begin in 2013, they have been forced instead to run the race at it’s former home in Northamptonshire.
But, according to documents leaked to Welsh news website WalesOnline, running the race has cost the organisation a loss of £1.2 million over two years. And, with public money funding much of the HOTVDC’s budget, local MP David Davies has hit out at the news.
“HOTVDC, which has received over £9m in grants and loans from the Welsh Government, signed a deal with Dorna to host the MotoGP at Ebbw Vale despite not having a racetrack to hold it on. If these figures are accurate they would indicate that this has so far cost them over £1m and my understanding is that the contract was signed for a total of five years.
“Furthermore if Circuit of Wales cannot make a profit on this event at a world-renowned venue like Silverstone then it begs the question as to how they would make a profit on the event if it was held in Wales if they receive the £210m support from the Welsh Government which they want in order to build the racetrack. These figures are another worrying indication that the financial plan for Circuit of Wales does not stack up.”
However, project bosses have hit back, admitting that while running thee race in England instead of Wales has lost money, it has not been to the tune of the figures quoted.
The move is only the latest controversy in the project’s history, with news emerging earlier this month that the Welsh government have launced an investigation into the project. That announcement follows news that £35,000 of gardening at project boss Michael Carrick’s Cambridgeshire house had been billed to the project; a move that he claimed had been an error in accounting.
The HOTVDC had their latest proposal for funding rejected by the government back in July, asking that they underwrite 75% of the costs – but new Welsh Economy Secretary Ken Skates rejected that plan, saying that the plan did not provide value for money for the level of risk.