Bernie Ecclestone says he “would be interested” in staging a Formula 1 race in and around the Olympic Stadium site should a proposal to turn the venue into the centrepiece of a new Grand Prix track, which was confirmed as being among four bids for the future tenancy today, succeed.
The London Legacy Development Corporation, which is charged with promoting and delivering physical, social, economic and environmental regeneration of the Olympic Park in East London following the end of the 2012 Games, which begin on July 27, confirmed in a statement that a bid from “Intelligent Transport Services in Association with Formula One” was up against two local football clubs, West Ham and Leyton Orient, and the UCFB College of Football Business in taking on the lease of the stadium from 2014.
“Following an extension to the bidding period, the Legacy Corporation can today reveal that it has received four bids for the venue. Bids from West Ham United, Intelligent Transport Services in association with Formula One, UCFB College of Football Business and Leyton Orient will now be assessed to ensure they are compliant, before being evaluated ahead of negotiations,” the statement read.
“These bids could add to the legacy uses already secured for the Stadium. It is already set to become the new national home for athletics and host to the IAAF 2017 World Athletics Championships.”
The Daily Telegraph first revealed details of the F1 proposal by the mystery Wanstead-based ITS firm last month and while Ecclestone confirmed at the time he had been approached, said he hadn’t put his name to the bid document.
With the proposal now officially announced, Ecclestone has tonight told the Bloomberg news agency: “A race in London would be great for the city. We’ve told them it’s a good idea and we would be interested.”
The F1’s supremo’s desire to stage a race in the British capital is well known and was underlined further earlier this month by his enthusiastically public endorsement of the unveiling of what had only been intended to be a fantasy central London circuit by British GP and McLaren sponsor Santander, Ecclestone even suggesting he would put up the money himself to turn the idea into reality.
Although his comments at the time were greeted with much media scepticism, Ecclestone insisted in an interview with the Guardian last week that he hadn’t been joking and plans for a London GP were indeed afoot. “We are getting on with it. It is no joke, 100% completely no joke,” he said.