Diary: Brands Hatch back in black after IPG fiasco

What siren voices deceived Interpublic into believing it wouldn't make a pig's ear of taking over Brands Hatch and three other UK circuits?

Probably the same ones that told the Saatchi brothers to bid for the Midland Bank.

The fiasco continues to dog IPG, which last week reported a second-quarter loss of £3 million. Better news, however, at the consortium headed by Jonathan Palmer, the former Formula One driver, which bought Brands Hatch Circuits from IPG seven months ago.

While IPG managed to turn Brands Hatch Circuits from the profitable company it bought for £120 million into one with an operating loss of £129 million in two years, Palmer says he expects to reach "better than break-even" within a year.

Palmer diplomatically declines to speculate on how IPG's foray into motorsport hit the crash barrier, forcing it to sell its interests for less than a quarter of what it paid for them. However, one insider in greasy overalls is more forthcoming. "Once we got deep into the books, it was clear that there had been just so much extravagance and a complete sloppiness on cost controls," he declares.