The British Grand Prix has been saved - but its new home is to be Donington Park from 2010 and not Silverstone.
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone dropped his bombshell on the first day of this year's British Grand Prix weekend at the Northamptonshire circuit. Silverstone will now stage its final race next year after being a permanent fixture since 1987.
Ecclestone, president of Formula One Management, said: "Finally the uncertainty is over. A contract has been signed with Donington Park and the future of the British Grand prix is now secure."
The news will come as a bitter blow for the British Racing Drivers' Club, who own Silverstone as they have long been in detailed talks with Ecclestone with regard a new deal.
Ecclestone has continually expressed unhappiness at the facilities at the track, which in many people's eyes is far from the worst on the calendar. But the 77-year-old has made it plain over the years the circuit was in need of drastic improvement, otherwise it would be axed.
Earlier this year Silverstone's owners finally acquired planning permission to build a new £30million pit and paddock complex that would be the first phase of a multi-million redevelopment.
However, it is clear Ecclestone's patience has clearly run out, and after recently confirming he was in discussions with Donington Park, the East Midlands venue has now won the day with a 10-year agreement.
"We wanted a world class venue for Formula One in Britain, something the teams and British F1 fans could be proud of," added Ecclestone. "The major development plans for Donington will give us exactly that. A venue that will put British motor sport back on the map.
"I am sorry we could not have helped Silverstone to raise the money to carry out the circuit improvements and run Formula One."
Ecclestone then had a dig at the British Government for not dipping their hands into their pocket and helping out Silverstone.
"I believe the government should have supported them, which would have cost probably less than 0.002% of the government's commitment for the Olympic Games," remarked Ecclestone.
Donington Park, home of the British round of MotoGP, will require its own multi-million pound facelift to ensure it meets exacting standards required to run a grand prix.
The circuit is currently owned by Tom Wheatcroft, although it is run by and leased to computer magnate Simon Gillett and partner Lee Gill under the name of Donington Ventures Leisure Ltd.
Gillett and Gill now have two years to bring up to scratch a track that has previously only staged one grand prix, the European in 1993, with investment of £100million planned over the next five years.
The money will come from an unnamed private investor, who is also a large shareholder.
FIA president Max Mosley said: "After many years of patient but fruitless negotiation with the BRDC, we are delighted Bernie has been able to ensure the British Grand Prix will keep its place on the Formula One World Championship calendar.
"We understand the development programme planned for Donington will achieve the very high standards we and FOM expect from a modern F1 circuit.
"Finally, British Formula One fans will get the Grand Prix venue they deserve."
In a joint statement issued by Gillett and Gill, they said: "We are naturally delighted and extremely proud to have acquired the rights to bring Formula One back to Donington Park from 2010.
"At the beginning of last year when we acquired the circuit and its substantial lands, we made clear our commitment towards realising the full potential of the park by making the necessary investments in current and future events that will see Donington revitalised, ensuring its leading position as one of the most iconic racing circuits in the world.
"To that end, we have now entered a new and exciting chapter in the development of the park, one that will bring significant investment and regional development, while securing the future of one of the most important and significant sporting events in Britain."