A story in the Times today has sent echoes around the world, with the proposal from Bernie Ecclestone to stage a Grand Prix in London around the Capital’s most famous landmarks.
Ecclestone is reportedly willing to pay £35 million of his own money to stage the event, in the city in which he has lived for most of his adult life. It would evoke the magic of street races like Monaco and Singapore.
So what’s behind it?
Last week there was talk that an F1 venue could be built using the Olympic Stadium as its hub. But this idea today originated with Santander UK, who have been working with Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, as well as sports architects Populous to devise a London Grand Prix course, which passes Buckingham Palace, The Houses of Parliament, Hyde Park Corner and other great landmarks.
They have made a CGI film together, which will be launched tonight at an event at the RAC Club in Pall Mall, which I’ll be attending. And you’ll be able to see it here on JA on F1 and elsewhere on the Internet and TV, all being well, later tonight or tomorrow morning.
I’ve had a sneak preview of part of the film and it’s pretty stunning, certainly a very imaginative idea.
It ties in well with the Jubilee celebrations, for which London was the epicentre, and the Olympics and catches that mood of London being the ‘centre of the world’ this summer.
As to whether this race will ever happen, Siverstone has a 17 year contract to host the British Grand Prix, starting 2010, so it would be a second race in the UK.
Ecclestone is apparently sincere in his desire to see his sport hold such a prestigious event in the city he calls home and this exercise is to see what kind of interest there may be from the London Mayor.
Events in the law courts of Germany of course are going on in the background, as explained in another post here.
And promoters from the other F1 venues, which have now formed themselves into an association to fight their corner in a more co-ordinated way in future, might look on with interest at the idea of a race that Ecclestone pays to host, rather than the other way around.