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Will the London Grand Prix happen?
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Darren Heath
Posted By: James Allen  |  28 Jun 2012   |  10:15 am GMT  |  177 comments

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.

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177 Comments
  1. SpaceJunk says:

    Great idea; love the thought of a London GP – at night even!
    However, there’s no way the UK should have two GPs, on a regular basis.

    1. RedChimp says:

      I don’t see why the UK couldn’t host two races providing they can afford it.
      Spain currently hosts two races, as has Germany in the past and as potentially will the USA in the future.
      I think it’s quite conceivable that the European Grand Prix could move from Valencia to London.

      1. Kyle Stephens says:

        It’d be very easy to get around this on technicalities in much the way Italy did with the Italian GP and the San Marino GP (the latter of which was actually outside the principality of San Marino).

        British GP and English GP?

      2. Simmo says:

        Not English GP, that sounds a little cheap TBH. London GP sounds good, and it’s not as if many people haven’t heard of London.

      3. Kay says:

        How about Olympic GP? :D

    2. Bluefroggle says:

      Why not? Spain has two grand prix….

    3. Wayne says:

      You know, I’ve always thought, beneath it all, Bernie has a soft spot for the UK GP. Even the hard bargaining he did with Silverstone could be seen from the perspective of tough love for a struggling child.

      Love him or loathe him, this would be a great send-off for a man who has comitted his life to F1 (yes, and made a fortune doing it).

      I’d but a ticket in a heartbeat.

      The logistics, however, well…. just the thought of bringing London to a standstill for an entire weekend maes me shudder. But, hey, that’s someone else’s problem right?

      1. Peter C says:

        ‘Tough love for a stuggling child’?

        That would be Petra & Tamara, I suppose?

        Bernie was downright nasty with Silverstone, but
        as often happens, he had his own way.

        I’ll bet German prisons are luxurious.

      2. Wayne says:

        Was he really though? They got one of the longest contracts out there if not the longest and at a decent (in F1 terms) rate as well. How was he nasty? By forcing them to modernise? That benefits them and us.

      3. James says:

        I think that final paragraph pretty much sums up why there wont be one. A city of 20 million (I think?) or so coming to a standstill just isnt an option.

        Many citizens of Singapore loathe the GP weekend, some escape to Malaysia, just to get away from the riff raff and bother of the weekend. Imagine that on the scale of London, right in the heart of it?

        I dont think the benefits will outweigh the costs of holding a race.

      4. George says:

        Population is about 7.5 – 8 million

      5. Kay says:

        Interesting on the point of Singapore GP you brought up. Never thought they’d loathe their own GP.

        So how about Monaco? Do people there enjoy it or hate it?

        I live in Hong Kong here, a city full of skyscrapers where 7 million+ people cramped into tight spaces, people here would hate having streets sealed off for 6 weeks (including time needed for preparation and erection of grandstands, etc) so I understand how it won’t work for London. When the Dark Knight was filmed here people were complaining (though I don’t see the point in that personally).

      6. Craig in SG says:

        Actually, it’s not the race weekend that’s the problem, here in SG – it’s the week leading up to it. On the weekend, if you’re not interested, you simply stay away from the city, or at least that part of the city. But in the week prior to the race, where people are trying to get to and from work, there are road closures and partial road closures in what is the middle of the business district. The traffic jams stretch for miles for many hours – at least in the morning. My office is on one of the major entry points to that area and it’s not uncommon to see the traffic still jammed up well past 11am. That’s what we loath – other than that, there’s no real problems.

      7. Chivalrous says:

        Bringing London to a standstill? Like for a Diamond Jubilee parade, Trooping of the Colour, London Marathon, Royal Wedding, Remembrance Sunday, Regular protests against cuts/pensions/student fees.
        The centre of London is always being shut down to some extent.

      8. AH Jordan says:

        And don’t forget that little sporting event going on this summer which has a marathon and cycling road races which will lead to road closures as well…

        Besides, don’t most people get around London by using the Tube? That would still be running…

      9. William Wilgus says:

        In my mind, Bernie was more committed to making money than he was to F-1. But of course, with London, Bernie could claim it as ‘his own’ GP.

      10. AdrianMorse says:

        So not the English, the European, or the London GP, but the Bernie Grand Prix! ;-)

      11. Leali says:

        Question here is to have or to not have, simple public survey to see whether there is enough interes to hold the GP now I dont live in London but and I cant imagine what kind of trafic jam it may cause but what I know is this: If you want to have something there is always the price you have to pay, there is always sacrifice to be made and since we live in a society that wants everything for nothing I think this GP doesnt stand the chance. My opinion would be to hold the GP at least UK deserves it as to trafic jam well one have to just suck it up for the greater good that comes out of it. I live in Adelaide and we get the V8 Supercars in town for 4 days(I know it is nowhere near the London) but 400,000 ppl go thru the gate even more comes to town team personel etc. and its good for the economy and the thirl of 4 wheel beasts blasting thru the city almost thru the center of it is just unimaginable and no circuit will create that feel, howeok ever I’m ok with the street closures and everything that comes with it simple because the experience alone is worth it so I say suck it in Londoners and let the old b**d organise the GP if not for anything else than just because it should be one of the best GP’s on the planet. thank you.

    4. Wayne says:

      Why should the UK not have two GP on a regular basis? Care to ellaborate? Spain has two, and no UK government tax revenue funds Silverstone like it does in other countries who just buy their way in regardless and then try to renegociate when it suits them. There’s certainly enough popular support for F1 in the UK.

      1. William Wilgus says:

        Indeed! Why not have all of the F-1 races in Great Britain? After all, it’s the only country that’s ‘Great’? ;)

      2. Wayne says:

        Sigh.

    5. edwardian says:

      “there’s no way the UK should have two GPs, on a regular basis”

      Why not? Spain has had two since the European GP went there and the fanbase in the UK is unquestionably larger than in Spain, despite the Alonso effect. London has some of the world’s most recognised buildings and to see F1 cars tearing through the streets every year would be awesome. Silverstone bent over backwards to accommodate Bernie’s requests to keep the British GP as he knows how important it is to have a presence here, and he has said for years a London GP was a dream of his – and now he offers his own money.

      The fact is that it will probably never happen as this was just a publicity stunt for Santander and the thought of closing London down for the 4-5 days to get the F1 circus in town would cripple the city. The mess that happened on the state opening of Parliament should give some idea of about 0.1% of disruptions as that was a small area for 1/2 a day. The olympics are going to cause mayhem for the average worker in the City and the fallout will be enough from that to stop this ever happening.

      Saying that, if it does then it will be awesome!

    6. Chris says:

      Why not exactly? The UK is home to I think 8 F1 teams which is a great deal more than Spain who regularly have 2 – which co-incidentally are generally known as 2 of the most boring races at Barcelona and Dullenca – granted there was a good race there last weekend. Which lets be honest was only because of Vettle breaking down and a safety car otherwise was shaping up nicely to live up to its name.
      The UK has a lot more F1 heritage than most of the other places on the calander – Silverstone is one of the old great tracks and London would attract thousands. Great for PR and attracting new sponsors.

      1. Michael says:

        Just because Vettel wins does not make it a boreing race! Velenica was an epic for more reasons than that!

    7. S Quilter says:

      Why ever not? Italy had two (Imola and Monza) Germany had two (Hockenhiem and Nurburgring) and now Spain has two with Barcelona and Valencia.

      I can see no reason why the European GP cannot be in London for at least one year.

      1. the pimp's main prophet says:

        Just for the record: Italy never had two GPs. Imola was home to the San Marino GP. The Republic of San Marino is a soveraign and independent state. Same as the Principality of Monaco.

      2. Dominic J says:

        But Imola lies entirely outside the Republic of San Marino. Similarly the Nurburgring has held the German, European and Luxembourg Grands Prix over the past 15 years, in various incarnations.

      3. f1 fan says:

        But the San Marino race was in Italy, not actually in San Marino. It was just getting around it.

        The same way the Nurburgring race was called the Luxemberg GP one year. You trying to tell me that the Nurburgring wasnt in Germany that year….

      4. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Imola is in Italy though.

      5. Kay says:

        But then the SM GP wasn’t exactly inside Rep. of SM o_O. It was still in Italy, just that it’s close to San Marino so they picked the name of that little state for the GP name.

        So saying Italy never had two GPs is like right now Spain don’t have two GPs coz one of them is European GP when in fact the two of them are still inside Spain.

    8. Ray says:

      @SpaceJunk – I disagree with your sentiment about multple GPs in the UK.. I think that the UK should be allowed to have multiple GPs for a couple of reasons:
      1. Most of the current teams are already based in the UK, what better way to cut costs than to reduce travel / haulage costs etc.
      2. The UK has a vast and vibrant motorsport industry and a long heritage to match.
      3. Silverstone is sold out every year despite ever increasing ticket prices. A second GP would likely be a sell out as well unlike several other current GPs on the calendar.

    9. Andrew Carter says:

      Better than going off to somewhere equally drab as the middle and far east tracks we’ve seen added recently.

      1. Kyle Stephens says:

        Agreed. Make F1 more accessible, and more palpable for the public. Bring the people right up close to the action !

      2. James says:

        So lose GPs in the middle east and make it less accessible to fans? It’s a world championship, the region pumps a lot of investment in to the sport through sponsership and “other means”. To lose the Middle East (i.e. less than three races a year) would have a significant dent on the sport.

    10. Henry says:

      +1 – Silverstone is and always will be a classic but a 1 off race around London would be pretty amazing!

      I was under the impression that this had been looked at before though and discarded as there were too many speed bumps and road obstacles…or is that my imagination?

      1. James says:

        There was talk of it in the early 2000s, I think there might have even been a 2dtv sketch on it, but I cant find it…!

    11. Chivalrous says:

      I very much doubt it’ll be a regular/yearly event, there’s no way London will be able to keep up with the road repairs necessary to keep the route suitable for F1 cars.
      As has been mooted elsewhere, it could be the location for the European Grand Prix which (I hope) will showcase a different track and country every year rather than, as it has been with Valencia and Nurburgring, staying in one location for years at a time.

      1. Simmo says:

        That would be cool, European GP moving each year. After all, it’s called the European GP, so why keep it in one country?

      2. Daniel MA says:

        You’re right and the Grand Prix of America can also take place in other countries if New Jersey has money problems, Mexico, Argentina??

      3. Kay says:

        +1

        I might be wrong as this was before my time, but didn’t Donington hold a few Euro GPs in the past?

    12. Kay says:

      Next Bernie will bring F1 to the moon:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYgkzPZPgn8

      :D LOL.

  2. TheFlaneur says:

    It would be great, but so many plans are floated and then never heard of again. Can’t imagine central London being closed down for a full race weekend.

  3. Rufus McDufus says:

    Not a hope in hell’s chance! Maybe around the Olympic site but there is no way on earth that the authorities would ever agree to closing central London for a few days.

    1. Dominic J says:

      The Tour de France was held on a similar (albeit shorter) course and involved a lot of road closures. The annual opening of parliament closes 30% of the same roads fora day at a time and various protest marches over the years have done the same thing. It is not impossible, even if it seems a little unlikely.

  4. I agree with SpackJunk that I do not believe the UK should host two F1 races in one calendar. However, I do believe that a street circuit around London would be thrilling, and most entertaining if set out like Monaco, all though I do not believe it will ever be as prestigious or as big as the Monaco Grand Prix. However, I feel it would cause hell in London to do this. Monaco streets are well used, I know from personal experience, but not like London, not like London at all. Closing all these streets for that length of time will cause unheard of havoc, however, will bring in a hell of a lot of money, that’s all the government want right?
    Anyways, they are just my opinions.
    James, what is your opinion on the matter, you did not express that in your article?

    1. James Allen says:

      The timing is fortuitous, but that’s not to say that he doesn’t like the idea. But making it happen will be very hard to imagine

  5. Chris says:

    I think it would be a superb race. The UK has every right to stage two races in my opinion. We are the home of motorsport, with most F1 teams coming from the UK. Spain and Germany have each had two races in the same season in recent years, why not the UK?

    Move over Valencia :)

    1. Richardd says:

      Why not call it the European grand prix and it could alternate with other cities in Europe, instead of the mostly boring valencia track

  6. Steve Tarrant says:

    Obviously a slow news week in Bernie’s world.

    1. Peter C says:

      German banker jailed on 27th.

      Every media outlet saturated with talk of London G.P. on 28th.

      What a coincidence!

      Hamilton & Button raked in to endorse it, too.
      Could that be anything to do with Santander involvement?

      But,hey, Bernie is offering £35m of his OWN money, so it must be alright. That’s £7m more than he gave Gribkowsky not to “shake him down”.

      1. Chris R says:

        I agree with you, sadly I cant shake my cynical hat off for this one. And I like Bernie.

        This to me just sounds like:

        A)Bernie flexing his big financial muscle, “yeah why not, are you listening Dave Cameron? I have millions to spend”.

        “I’m sure we can work something out, and put this silly legal/tax business behind us”.

        Look at the stories coming from our (uk) government lately, they’re not shy of populist grandstanding to attract the vote. I thought Bernie was more of a labour guy originally but im not clear on that, would be very telling if he starts cosying up to the conservatives.

      2. James Clayton says:

        People like Bernie cosy up to whoever’s in power/is likely to be in power shortly.

    2. Wayne says:

      lol, really?

      1. Jacko says:

        Spot on, this race will never happen in a million years it’s been planted to divert attention from the gribkowsky case, london doesn’t need any more tourists, hotels are always full and if he was to put his hand in his pocket to fund anything it’s only to reduce his own tax bill that he’s going receive because of the outcome of this case.

    3. milkboy says:

      I am amazed this London Grand Prix is being discussed so widely. To me this is all just about distracting from the Germany issue. In no way worth discussing. Bernie saying he will put up his own money should have everybody’s warning bells ringing. Would love to be proven wrong, but doubt very much I will.

  7. Jery says:

    Cant see anything wrong with the European GP being heald in London at some time, Spain does have 2 atm.
    But lets see how we cope with the olymipcs first though

  8. Simon Haynes says:

    About three quarters of the F1 teams and staff appear to be UK-based, or UK-born, and a huge number of fans seem to live in the UK. With that, and a city as huge as London, you’re pretty much guaranteed a massive crowd.

  9. GravesMotorsport says:

    I think that F1 would be amazing if it was held in the city’s around the world, imagine how exciting it would be, The possibilities would be endless and as a result there would be nowhere it couldn’t go

    London
    Rome
    Paris
    Berlin
    Tokyo
    Kuala Lumpur
    Rabat
    Lisbon
    Singapore
    Madrid
    Bangkok
    New York
    Monaco
    Sydney

    to name a few i think the new modern super tracks take away the excitement and really detaches the fans from the cars having to sit 200m away from the track, i know that safety would be the biggest issue but if it can be done in Monaco surly it could be done anywhere?

    1. Iwan Kemp says:

      Cape Town!

    2. DB says:

      Rio de Janeiro!

    3. DB says:

      Just occurred to me: the World GP. A one-off race in each one these cites each year.

      It could open or close the season.

    4. Simmo says:

      Mmm… Monaco was a one off which is only held due to it’s history in the sport. If Monaco was a new track it would not be on the calendar.

    5. Wade Parmino says:

      If there was this many street circuits, my interest in F1 would rapidly decline.

  10. Tony says:

    The Olympic park makes more sense as it has great access and lots of new Tarmac, the stadium could be used as a paddock for support races. It wouldn’t be the first time F1 and the Olympics have come into contact the old GP track in Barcelona used the stadium as an F1 paddock.

  11. JamesPunt says:

    Anybody who seriously believes that this is anything but a smokescreen to distract from the Gerhard Gribkowksy bribery conviction is deluded. That is the BIG story affecting F1 but today all people talk about is this ridiculous fantasy that Bernie wants a London GP and might even pay for it. I am amazed that some journalists give give it the time of day.

    1. James Allen says:

      We’ve covered Gribkowsky elsewhere but with everyone talking about this story today, we are obliged to provide some insight

      1. 6 Wheeled Tyrrell says:

        James,

        The only reason Mr. E’s misdirection tactics work is because the media feel the need to chase after every sensationalistic utterance leaving Bernie’s mouth, creating a feeding frenzy that gives the story momentum.

        It is understandable that rags such as Pitpass run with stories like this, but the fact that a journalist of your caliber feels the need to go with the flow only validates Mr. E’s methods.

        When was the last time Bernie offered to pay for a GP himself? What are the realistic chances of a race like this actually comes to fruition? What else is happening in the news that Ecclestone might want to overshadow? answer these three questions and you will know that the london GP is nothing but a Buls**t story to distract people from the real problem.

        The real story should be Why isn’t the FIA investigating Mr. E for bringing the sport into disrepute?

      2. James Allen says:

        You’ve not read the story properly. What I do here is spell out the true origins of this story.

      3. james h says:

        The press would look a bit silly if they dont cover this story then there is a race in london.

      4. RampantHaddock says:

        With respect James, I think that’s a slightly circular argument. Everyone is talking about this story today because journalists are providing some insight. For my part, I think the timing of te story is “fortuitous” as you diligently put it- let’s not hide from the fact that journalists (or at least, The Times) are talking about it because Mr E wants a distraction, and they’re merely jumping to his tune. Don’t take this as a personal attack, I completely understand your neutral stance, and certainly don’t put you in the same class as most hacks- but to say this is an obligatory article is slightly disingenuous.

      5. James Allen says:

        No because it’s important to spell out its origins, which I am privvy to, so there is a story, just not as big a story as is being made out

      6. milkboy says:

        Don’t have a problem with it being mentioned here, this is after all an F1 blog and you do look at if from a different angle from others. I personally would have liked a warning about it possibly being a smoke screen but then one does not bite the hand that feeds you.

        As I said above, to me it sounds like absolute BS. Bernie putting up his own money made me laugh. I’ll happily put £100 on it not happening in the next 5 years.

        Keep up the good work James.

  12. Mustapha says:

    Can’t wait but there has been talk of this for several years now and it’s never materialized. Fingers crossed!

    1. Brisbane Bill says:

      Don’t hold your breath. This is a fantasy story. Whilst Bernie might like to hold a London GP the current administration doesn’t have the appetite and the disruption to Londoners and general business is not viewed to be worth the cost, effort and likely return. It was highly unlikely before the global financial crisis and completely out of the question in the current economic climate.

  13. SteveM says:

    Maybe take the European GP away from Valencia and hold it in London? Does one great race redeem the track from all the previous terrible ones?

  14. george says:

    Are you kidding me, try Sydney , the bridge , sandstone buildings around the rocks area , opera house around the harbour. Man , Bernie wake up mate .

    1. James Clayton says:

      Didn’t Sydney already reject a proposal a few years back?

      1. Lezza says:

        Yes it did, but watch this space.

      2. simon says:

        Huh?

        Bernie offered Sydney a race??

        How awesome would a night race in Sydney be with the Harbour!

  15. Qamar says:

    It will be an awesome event. For me London is like the most amazing city in the world, no other city can even come close to what London has to offer. For me it will be combination of the two entities i am most passionate about. London and F1. this will be my dream F1 race. Culture , history, modernity, sports . It will be awesome. Like if you have never been a London GP you haven’t been to any.. it will surely leave behind Monaco for me atleast :) (totally biased )

  16. Jonathan says:

    Couldn’t it come under the European Grand Prix banner?

    Once upon a time this used to rotate across several circuits, but for some reason it seems to have got stuck at Valencia for the last few years.

    1. David Ryan says:

      I think it’s fair to say the reason was a certain Fernando Alonso…just as this move is likely down to two Brits being at the sharp end of the grid (plus another making good progress in the form of Paul di Resta). Bernie always has an eye for a marketing opportunity, after all.

      Anyway, as nice an idea as it sounds and as much as I’m interested to see what the circuit looks like, I think it really is a non-starter event. There’s enough grumbling down that neck of the woods about the Olympics, and proposing the annual closure of the centre of London for a motor race would cause even more indignation. Even if it was a one-off there’d probably be a fair amount of protest at any planning hearings, so I can’t see it being worth a promoter’s trouble.

      1. Kay says:

        Interesting in linking Euro GP to Alonso. Not saying you’re wrong but that does sound interesting, could be right.

        Probably the reason in the previous Euro GP held in Germany was due to Schumacher :D

        Maybe it’ll take a Hamilton or some Brit driver being ultra successful AND popular to get the Euro GP back to UK.

  17. Jed says:

    Maybe they should make a circulating through Europe street European GP. First London, then Paris, Berlin etc. I guess it would be expensive, but street races have their limits and seeing the same landmarks each year is not very exciting.

  18. Paul Stocker says:

    I live on the outskirts of London but prefer races at tracks where there is more opportunity to overtake irrespective of the pretty backdrop. Normally street circuits do not deliver this.

    1. Stewart says:

      Absolutely Agree. I live in London, having lived in Singapore when F1 first went there. It looks good, but the racing’s awful. We need fewer street circuits, not more!!!

  19. Tom in adelaide says:

    Will the drivers have to pay the congestion tax?

    1. A-P says:

      Nice try, but there’s no charge on weekends!

      Friday practice would have to be after 1800, though. ;-)

  20. Adam says:

    Fantastic idea, but I don’t believe that it could ever happen. The logistics of F1 taking over one of the world’s major capitals, the disruption, and the resistance from non-fans will prevent it. Gets my vote though!!
    Alternating as a Europe GP makes sense…to avoid conflict with Silverstone and also reduce disruption to 2 years.

  21. Alex says:

    If it does happen, and it’s a big if, I can’t see Silverstone keeping a race for long. Sure, it may have a contract, but we all know how much that’s worth in F1.

    Rumours of a London F1 race won’t be doing much in attracting investors to Silverstone and if it is confirmed than I imagine money investors would have put into Silverstone will go straight to London instead. This in a way could force the contract issue as Silverstone wouldn’t be able to keep to its side of the deal in improving facilities.

    Anyway, for now it’s all talk and might come to nothing but my 2 cents, it will be interesting to watch it all play out anyway.

  22. Chris says:

    Ridiculous headline grabbing by Ecclestone using typical semantics and aiming to piggyback the Nationalistic sentiments surrounding the Olympics and post Jubilee celebrations. Is it to divert attention from something else? What I wonder? A multitude…
    My reasoning: London is an extremely busy major global City, which has evolved over 100s of years rather than been planned. We are a City of c£8m people, with a road network like spaghetti and our public transport system comprehensive yet overloaded. What with all the preparation that is going into the Olympics to make transport as easy as possible (it’s still going to be a nightmare) and based on the fact that local Monegasques move out for 2 weeks surrounding their GP as the place chaos. Monaco is small and relatively quiet place.
    I heard on Radio 4 this morning that the plan was to use the Olympic Park as the pits and race venue, yet we hear that they want the GP to go through central London and past the Landmarks? Hello? They’re some 8 or 9 miles apart!!!
    Lovely idea and in another reality it would be a nice idea, but no. Let’s see what the appetite for a major sporting event that requires the closure of major infrastructure in London is after the summer.
    Eccelstone is the arch promoter and press manipulator. I think he’s just trying to grab headlines, promote F1 and likely divert attention from something else. Possibly trying to manipulate some contract negotiation is another agenda.
    Great sport, clever chap and for the record, as someone who lives in London, I’m thoroughly looking forward to the Olympics in the City.
    Rule Britannia, but London Grand Prix…it’ll never happen!

  23. Jim says:

    I love the idea of a street circuit in the middle of London (although I might use different streets :-), but could it really happen? How long before and after the event do the streets need to be closed?

    Having said that, Santander should be a more serious backer than the people who proposed a circuit in the Olympic Park.

    As for the UK having two GPs, who would object to relocating the European GP from Valencia? I don’t know how long their contract is, but anything this big isn’t going to happen overnight.

  24. Rach says:

    Massive smokescreen. It will never happen.

    It is great to dream though!

  25. TW says:

    James, the European grand prix used to move most seasons in the 80′s & 90′s. Why can’t this be re-introduced, especially considering the potential sharing of the Spanish GP between Valnencia & Barcelona, such that events such as the proposed London GP, or a French GP could take place?

    1. Simmo says:

      Put Spain (Catalunya) back in place permanently, France permanently, Belgium permanently, Hockenheim permanently, then alternate between London, Valencia, and Hockenheim for European GP, and issue fixed.

  26. thejudge13 says:

    A handy distraction to Concorde, 2013 calendar (Bahrain), a German Court Case, failed floatations….. IMHO

  27. Alam Z says:

    Bring it on. As a Londoner I really hope they make this happen.

  28. chris severin says:

    oh, look over here, I’m a nice guy really, dont look over there at that horrible bribery German bank thing. A nice race in London that I’ll pay for, yes that’s, it forget about the other things, I’m one of the good guys. See?

  29. Richard says:

    Why shouldn’t the U.K. have two races?
    It’s the centre of the sport, so deserves that recognition.

  30. Jesper says:

    Would be amazing.
    Returning the European Grand Prix to its roots by alternating the location each year to some opportune venue around Europe would be fantastic.

    If memory serves Valencia is on a 5 year deal starting from 2009 and are set to alternate with Barcelona from 2013. Is it possible the London GP could take this slot?

  31. Vinnie Nguyen says:

    Err. What about New Jersey, Bernie?

  32. FatherTed says:

    Great idea, why not make it every 2-3 years and share it with some other countries.

    Instead of just having a ‘European’ grand prix in Spain year after year…

  33. Grayzee (Australia) says:

    What? Bernie to PAY for a Grand Prix….hahahahahahahahahaha…..good’un!

    1. Buddy says:

      It’s either goal time or pay up (what he owes in tax to the UK govt). He is trying to stop the auditors from seeing his books cos his girl won’t be able to live her million dollar lifestyle anymore.

      Yes, I think this is serious. Bernie is actually scared this time. Although this is very bad for F1 if Bernie is investigated. Very very bad.

      I personally would like some grace or pardon for BE, cos he has done a hell of a lot for F1.

      1. Buddy says:

        I mean “gaol” or “jail” time

    2. Peter C says:

      You Aussies are just great!!

  34. mickiehill says:

    Would be exciting if it was to happen. Don’t see why the UK couldn’t have 2 GP’s. We have 2 World DC and a lot of the teams and infrastructure are based here, so the demand would be there. Spain just gets a second GP because of Alonso….

  35. Mike from Colombia says:

    Fantastic idea. Maybe this is Bernie’s final legacy.

    However, the environmental nutcases and Al Gore disciples will kill this.

  36. Rob Newman says:

    It is a great idea. We can have the European GP in London. But where can they overtake in that proposed track?

    It might end up with the Olypic Statium site.

  37. Dan Hardwick says:

    Hopefully not. Can we have more Formula One racing on proper racing tracks rather than scenic tours of landmarks around the world’s major cities with precious little overtaking.

    As a resident of London, despite my love of F1, it would be a nightmare for a week around the GP event.

  38. Matt W says:

    Won’t happen. Usual rubbish from Bernie to go along with his medals suggestion, shortcuts, sprinklers and Donington. It’s just a PR exercise to drum up publicity in F1 in a year when the Olympics and Football overshadow the sport.

    Bernie funding the race? Yeah right!

  39. Richard says:

    Interesting that the story was in the Times especially with Murdochs interest in F1 at the moment. More to this than meets the eye I guess.

  40. Anil says:

    2 GP’s a year in the UK? Fantastic! We deserve it much more than Spain too. Silverstone regularly gets 300,000 people in its doors every year and most of the teams are based in the UK too.

    For once I’m actually liking a Bernie suggestion,.

  41. Mike from Colombia says:

    The BBC will campaign that it should be in Salford.

  42. Jamie says:

    Why shouldnt we have 2 races ? spain has 2 and the uk is basically the home of f1, 90% of teams are based here.

  43. Justin says:

    I’m with Joe Saward on this one. Not a chance, this is just misdirection.

  44. Random Person says:

    This would make a sensational European Grand Prix, and undoubtably fill the grandstands, however I severely doubt it will happen, for a variety of reasons. Not least the idea of Bernie actually paying to host a race isn’t even worth thinking about.

    On another note, does anyone else think that the proposed track layout looks pretty awful, racing wise?

  45. Robin Rainsley says:

    Great idea but it will never happen in my lifetime! Shame.
    Bernie E. is a very clever man and he is just trying to raise his UK and political profile with the impending tax & bribery allegations in Germany now spreading to the UK. Amusing really Bernie paying for a race, believe that and pigs will really fly.

    More like £35m gift if you overlook my UK trust fund tax liabilities – what a bargain for Bernie..

  46. Dave says:

    No I don’t think it will ever happen. I well remember the Oxford Street F1 parade in 2004 that really stoked up enthusiasm and at the time a London GP was mentioned – that was 8 years ago and nothing came of it.

    I cant imagine parts of London closing for up to 8 days for the GP so I don’t think it will ever happen and I bet Bernie will subsequently say he was misquoted and never promised to fund it!

    The only F1 calendar it will appear on is the one that never happened like Rome, Disneyland, Paris…

  47. franed says:

    Wonderful idea but will never happen, too many health and safety issues. Boris obsessed with “Wiff Waff”.

  48. Oli says:

    I think this is a fantastic idea! The British GP has virtuly sold out so the interest in F1 in this country is definatly there & what better place to race around than the street of London.

    Also when you compare this to the olympics & the amount of money that, in my opinion, has been wasted on that, then surely this would make more commercial sense to the capital & country.

    As for the UK having two GP’s I cant see any problem, the US looks set to hold two next year, Italy used to have two, abite one been in San Marino & then you have the European GP with has been in spain the last few years while they still ran their usual race.

    Plus if Bernie is willing to put forward his own money then he must be pritty confident that the race wouldn’t be a flop!

  49. DavidC says:

    With McLaren, RedBull, Williams, Lotus, Mercedes, Caterham, Marussia & Force India all based in the UK I would say that there should definitely be two races here!

    1. Kay says:

      Force India is kinda funny coz VJ originally wanted his team to be India-based, but since all the engineers with good enough knowledge of how F1 works and how to build a fast F1 car are based in UK, VJ has no choice but to set his HQ in the UK.

      Same goes to Caterham, despite their company name is 1Malaysia. I wonder IF Caterham / 1Malaysia does win a race, what anthem will the FIA play?

      1. Kay says:

        Same applies to FIF1 for anthem.

  50. Peter says:

    Can’t happen, don’t think.it matters how much money you give them, too much of a disruption to London where the wider general public won’t enjoy it. Specially in the heart of London no matter how short it might be.

    Can’t see too much support for this from those who matter, might be great for tourism but it would have to be in summer, when there are more then enough tourist around, hate for those who book a holiday in London for a week not knowing the race was on.

    As great as it would be, had it been on for the last 50yrs then sure. But won’t happen.

  51. SP says:

    Love the idea of a London street track. Would be nice if the UK could get a slice of that pie. It’d give F1 the opportunity for some further exposure to the British public and maybe give the fans a chance to get closer to the action.

    IF it does go ahead, I hope the prices arent extortionate. With that being said, its London… so expect steep prices! Drivers and teams better be sure to pay the fees for congestion charging too :D

  52. Nic Maennling says:

    A GP in my home town ? OK, it will probably not happen but a great diversionary tactic by Bernie, who needs one right now !

  53. Michael S says:

    I hope this race NEVER happens because I fear that will finally give Bernie an excuse to dump Silverstone. Silverstone is a classic high speed track and a proper one at that. I am very tired of all these street circuits with even more on the horizon.

  54. Dave C says:

    ahh another Bernie fantasy served up to help his bosses (CVC) offload shares and to distract from his tax evasion.

    great stuff Bernie, very entertaining as always.

    (how many of you really think this would be supported in a city that is so vehemently anti-car??!!)

  55. Pad-Rock says:

    What a coincidence that this should appear at the same time as some other, rather more taxing headlines for Bernie? Much as I’d love it (being a Londoner), it’s not going to happen …!

  56. Dan Mawby says:

    I’m disappointed in you James.

    Bernie trots this idea out every year or two in the weeks leading up to the British GP and all the papers fall for it only for the idea to be forgotten about as soon as the race is over and Bernie starts the publicity for the next race “Germany GP to be dropped from schedule in favour of a Greek GP”.

  57. Gord says:

    While I like the idea, I fear that non F1 fans (ie probably the majority of London residents) would not like it.

  58. John M says:

    I would absolutely love a race in London. The Olympic Park idea is interesting but Stratford is such a dump. I have to say the thought of F1 cars tearing through Admiralty Arch (like you could on Metropolis Street Racer back on the Dreamcast) does make me let a little bit of wee out, even if it’ll never happen.

  59. thejudge13 says:

    We’ve had the first night race – day/night race – desert race – races on man made islands – civil war races…

    London’s famous for the first underground train system, why not build an underground track in London for F1. Sounds like a plan….

    …Maybe when the first footings are dug and the conrete is being poured someone could nudge BE in…

    1. Darren says:

      In all seriousness, if it was held in the underground it would probably still be more visually appealing than Singapore and Valencia!

  60. Moog says:

    I’m English and a massive F1 fan but I’m not keen on the idea.

    For me the choice of race tracks should be about the racing and not a venue for Corps to show off at.

    I detest Singapore and Monaco, sure it’s probably brilliant if you’re there, but the majority of people view it on TV and want to see tracks where you can race at.

    I’ll head off the point that Valencia this year was entertaining, but that is not the norm, we all know it.

    I can see Buck Palace, Nelson’s Column etc many other ways, and really, will we see much of them other than wide angled far out shots? Lets watch the racing and base where they race on tracks that are good for that, and not it dictated by landmarks.

  61. Craig S says:

    The “City” and indeed most other major businesses within London have been making preperations for remote / home working since the 2012 Olympics were awarded, so why not bring a Grand Prix to London in 2012, perfect timing as a one off.

    1. James Clayton says:

      You really think they can have it ready for this year?!! And where in the schedule do you imagine they’ll fit it in??

  62. ED12 says:

    Just seen a teaser. Why is it shown as a floodlight race? Even in the middle of winter there would not be need for floodlights.

  63. Don Farrell says:

    Sounds wonderful… like a scene out of the cartoon Cars2 :D or from the video game Need for Speed! Bring it on! :D

  64. Lawrence says:

    F1 definitely needs more street tracks and not like the one at Albert Park, Valencia or Singapore. You can’t see the streets at them! Monte Carlo is a proper street track in my opinion. I think it is a great idea but I doubt it will happen. There have been rumours about it for about 20 years and nothing has happened. Although, maybe BE wants it to be his swan-song. The proposed track in New Jersey, USA looks great, I really hope that idea is made a reality. It looks like it will go past people’s houses and not fantastically expensive houses but ordinary folks houses. That’ll look amazing!

    1. Wade Parmino says:

      F1 does NOT need anymore street tracks.

      1. Lawrence says:

        Why? I should clarify that the one of the reasons I like the track in Monaco is that you can see the buildings. The lack of overtaking opportunities is a problem.

  65. zx6dude says:

    hahaha. this is funny. a GP in London, with the absolute chaos this city is already – “during the Olympics don’t come to London unless you must”. that is what people are being told. oh yeah and Bernie paying for a GP!!! lol. totally agree with the people that say it is a smoke screen. can’t see it happening… your majesty, would you care for your ear plugs now?

  66. JTW says:

    UK may get a 2nd GP (makes sense, actually), but it won’t be in London, and it won’t be soon. Bernie is working the smoke and mirrors again …

  67. Darren says:

    Well, If his Bernieness wants it to happen it will happen. Im indifferent personally, it would be a spectacle but I would rather see old classic tracks retained or reinstated than a new one in London. I would imagine the track would have to be more like Monaco in that armco barriers get erected before the race. Anything but the souless grey concrete of Valencia and Singapore, they look like they are racing in an eastern European industrial estate. If Singapore wasnt at night then it would be just as bland as Valencia.

    I maintain a good track is one with elevation changes. There are exceptions of course Silverstone and Monza great tracks and are pretty much flat. If you think about all the new tracks over the last 10 – 15 years with the exception of Turkey are dead flat, could be anywhere, soulless and featureless (hotels that cross the track, light up, and ridicuous grandstands dont count as features). The magic of Spa etc is seeing the cars blast through the forest and up the hills, if you made eau rouge flat think about it, all it would be is a stupid flat out left right left chicane…

  68. Simon Lord says:

    Following the San Marino example, perhaps Silverstone could become the Scottish Grand Prix after 2014? Or a street race around Edinburgh, now there’s a prospect… Start in Princes Street, up The Mound, top of the Royal Mile, down Johnstone Terrace into Lothian Road… all with the castle as a central backdrop. After all, the trams are hardly going to get in the way.

  69. SteveSenna says:

    Smokescreen, when has he ever paid for anything himself, do CVC agree with losing all these millions, agree it’s a total smokescreen and a pretty blatant one as well. Probably not needed as most people just cynically ignore the real story as yet another corrupt banker article…

    1. James Clayton says:

      If he’s funding it himself, I’m sure CVC would have no problems. If he means CVC when he says ‘himself’ then, yeah, doubt they’d be keen.

  70. Parisian Bob says:

    Perfect. Living in Paris, this would be near enough to be a local GP without the disruption to my own home city.

    Won’t happen of course

  71. George says:

    Hi James Great insight as ever. Just saw the CG lap on autosport – nicely done and great promo for Sant… It’s a bit sketchy in reality, just imagine 2 cars come out of the corner at traf sq side by side and fight to get through Admiralty Arch!! actually would be worth seeing.. seems a bit far fetched to me but hope it happens some day, maybe B E can watch it from prison? but that may be more far fetched than the race happening…

  72. Ross says:

    This reminds me of the semi annual story that appears in the newspapers every time a certain budget airline posts record losses on the same day.

    It will be either

    a) 1p flights to New York coming soon
    b) They are going to pay for you to use the toilet
    c) Standing room on the flights.

    Bernies a smart man.

    1. James Clayton says:

      Cool. I need to use the toilet a lot. I could make a lot of money on one of those flights ;)

    2. Peter C says:

      Surely, THAT budget airline posts nothing but profits?

  73. Craig in Manila says:

    Sounds excellent, and maybe Bernie can get the royal family to come out onto the balcony (wearing their favourite team’s colours) to wave as the cars roar by ?

    I wonder how much money has been spent (ie. wasted) to create this smokescreen.

  74. Captain Lightning says:

    This reminds me of some rubbish from the early 90s that was, if I remember rightly, the GP of Peace that was supposed to be some kind of healing event.

    I can’t remember if it was a Bernie thing or some body else’s wet dream but it certainly stuck in my mind.

    On a slightly more serious level, Having a GP that takes place once only in a succession of noteworthy locations does have a certain appeal.

    GP of love at the Taj Mahal? GP of impalement in Transylvania? GP of Improvisation in Kandahar? GP of civility in Damascus?

  75. Kay says:

    “this idea today originated with Santander UK, who have been working with Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton,”

    Eh..?! This is kinda confusing. I thought Santander’s sponsorship of McLaren was a result of Alonso bringing money to McLaren in 2007. It’s always seemed funny to me that Santander is still involved with the British team when they are now also sponsoring Ferrari.

    James, so what’s Santander’s position with regards to the two teams? Will Santander pull out of Macca once their contract is complete and focus solely on Ferrari?

    1. James Allen says:

      Santander stayed on as a sponsor with McLaren post Alonso, but sponsors only the drivers; it doesn’t appear on the car.

      They also sponsor several GPs, including GB and every year use Button and Hamilton for a pre-Silverstone media splash such as this

      1. Kay says:

        Ahh Righto.

        How come only the drivers though? o_O Why not pull out entirely post-Alonso McLaren? Any insights?

        Cheers!

    2. James Clayton says:

      As James said, Santander claimed their market share increased some ridiculous amount (was it 3 times?) during their year sponsoring McLaren with Hamilton & Alonso and they saw the sponsorship deal (and Hamilton) as having a lot to do with it. Personally I think it’s because they bought Abbey National and a load of other interests in the UK in the same year, but there you go!

      James, I realise Santander is no longer on the McLaren cars, but I seem to remember their name were still on the cars at least in 2009, if I’m not mistaken?

      1. Kay says:

        I recall the same.

  76. Kay says:

    Everything talking about London GP and F1 heritage due to UK. Not surprised. Some even linked current Euro GP to the Alonso effect :D

    I’ve wondered for some time, of the current (or even previous) world champions, their respective countries have all at least a round of Grand Prix on the Calender:

    MSC, VET: German GP
    ALO: Spanish GP
    BUT, HAM, Hill: UK GP
    Villeneuve: Canadian GP
    Senna: Brazilian GP

    Not saying their Grand Prix exist due to their success, but just saying this is what I noticed.

    How about Finland?? Why isn’t there one when there were successful Finns like Hakkinen and Raikkonen??

    1. James Clayton says:

      You can add the European GP to both MSC and Alonso, they have both had 2 GPs in their home country, shortly after becoming successful.

      Finland’s climate might make a GP a bit difficult?

      1. Kay says:

        I’m sure Pirelli / various suppliers and partners can make it work if they really want to.

        I recall some team (was it Red Bull?) ran an F1 car on snow for some promo event previously.

        If Bernie can bring F1 to the hot (Abu, Bahrain), the night (Singapore) and have his own water sprinkled track (Paul Ricard), why not Finland? :D

        Not a Finn here lol, just think it might be fun.

  77. Phil says:

    This is Bernie. Even if a London GP was an option it would only happen if it allowed him to shaft the BRDC and Silverstone in the process.

    And who is the title sponsor of the British GP?

    The loss of Spa as a first class citizen on the calendar is a tradgedy and an outrage and just one more warning that the only thing Bernie cares about is cash, ahem, in hand.

    The FIA should use events in Germany to cancel his contract and redress the balance between F1′s history and the desire to simply, Erm, cash in.

  78. olderguysrule says:

    Hey James and all others leaving comments. If I lived in the UK I’d go in a heart beat. Lets everyone send Boris, the mayor, (that’s his name, right?) a email and get him on board.

  79. matt says:

    Having visited Singapore twice now specifically for the GP I can understand why some dislike it. But frankly speaking it seems most love the festival atmosphere it brings and the tourism dollars are welcomed. Particularly as the Sing Tourism slogan used to be (if it isn’t still), “Singapore, your gateway to Malaysia”.

    Why is Monaco so reverred? Limited passing opportunity, short straights….. I don’t get it.

    Oh, and the Sydney Olympics, where I live, were fantastic. I suspect London will enjoy the same atmosphere.

    1. James Clayton says:

      “Having visited Singapore twice now specifically for the GP I can understand why some dislike it. But frankly speaking it seems most love the festival atmosphere it brings and the tourism dollars are welcomed.”

      The thing is you visited, as you say, for the GP. The people you will have been mixing with will have been ‘enjoying the festival atmosphere’. The ones who aren’t enjoying it, won’t be around to make their voices heard; they’ll be inside, avoiding it :)

    2. Kay says:

      Monaco’s existence due to their historical status. If they never existed and apply to host an F1 race now their application would immediately get thrown out due to lack of safety runoffs and all sorts of other safety-related issues.

      The fact that Monaco gets to pocket every single dollar from running the event without having to pay BE a single cent tells you quite something about its status :)

  80. Tony says:

    James could you outline the process that Birminham had to go through to get its race going, and the ructions it caused with the local populace? I remember the Superprix well and loved every minute of it.
    With your EV hat on what is known of the plan to race electric cars in the Olympic park? Good support event for a GP? This race would probably be easier to get started as it fits right in with the Olympic Heritage agenda and, like Montreal , it has superb transport links.

    1. James Allen says:

      I worked at the Superprix – great event. It was Birmingham City Council backed, some real petrol heads there wanted it.

      Some local business support e.g. Bristol Street Motors, Ford Dealers and others

      And CSS Promotions, with whom I started working in 1989 after University, promoting it and running the media side. The 1989 Superprix was my first professional job, aged 22!

      1. Tony says:

        Birmingham was fantastic for the amateur photographer Pershore St Fruit market had a great Multi Story Car Park where you could shoot down in to the car got a great pic of Jean Alesi in EJ’S Reynard. Can still remember someone hanging in to his F3000 car whilst it was lifted off the track. Also got some great shots of the BTCC cars with a disposable panoramic camera. It is a pity the race was suspended perhaps Bernie should look at reviving the working mans Monaco. Probably as many boats in brum now as Monaco !

  81. terryshep says:

    A F1 race past the Palace, Trafalgar Square? Close down the heart of London for a large part of three days? Not a hope in you-know-where!

    On the other hand, what a marvellous bit of mis-direction from Bernie! A surefire way to hide bad news from Germany, amazingly coincidental to those who believe in coincidence.

  82. Elie says:

    I could be looking at this all wrong.. But surely if Bernie is saying “.. Hey I will put in £35million if this goes ahead ” doesn’t that sound like “hey we will pay you € 44million if you agree…” . Lol ! I don’t see it happening unless someone really clever works on some major transport infrastructure projects following Olympics which lessens its impact on BusIness etc. anything can be achieved if the motivation is strong enough but then the business case for the city has to be strong.

    London has more reason to host than any other city with most teams based there. Perfect in this climate of Budgets and Logistical savings.Hugh well informed fan base that repeadly book out Silverstone. Home of many great sponsors, media, radio. Also let’s face it London is a major hub to Europe capturing all passing through tourists. Think of how many people might see a London GP then follow it to Spain or Germany etc. Still dreaming up the perfect holiday along these lines myself. !!

  83. Rufus Matthews says:

    Personally I’m opposed. We have Monaco, Singapore, Valencia, and Abu Dabi already. We don’t need another street circuit.
    Formula one isn’t about passing famous buildings in famous streets its about racing. Why are we contemplating another city race when we have just ditched a fine race circuit in Turkey. Is it better to see cars passing the House of Commons or is it better to see cars flat out through turn 8. I know my choice.

    This season the new rules produced more exciting street races. However, the real circuits (proper places to race Formula one cars as Kimi would say) the races were good before the rules were changed. If London means ditching another proper track then definitely we should say no!!!

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