F1 Winter Break
London likely? Sadiq Khan to “explore options of F1”
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Posted By: Editor   |  19 Dec 2018   |  10:09 pm GMT  |  100 comments

Discussions of a Formula One race on the streets of London look set to intensify after the Mayor of London said that the idea “should be possible”.

As things stand, 2019 will be the final time that the British Grand Prix will be contested at Silverstone after The British Racing Drivers’ Club activated the ‘break clause’ in their contract, despite it running until 2027.

The year-on-year escalator fees were cited as the cause of their decision to activate this break clause back in 2017, something which is effectively a two-year notice period.

With their existing contract signed when Formula One was under the rule of Bernie Ecclestone, these tactics have been deployed as a way of negotiating a better deal with F1’s current owners, Liberty Media.

However, with Liberty looking to include more street races on the calendar, they’ve seen this as an opportunity to scope out a race in London, a venue which has been frequently brought up in recent years.

This keenness is apparently being reciprocated by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who is said to want to explore the idea.

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office said: “London is always open to hosting the world’s biggest and best sport events – from the final of UEFA Euro 2020 to the NFL, and the Cricket World Cup to Major League Baseball.

“The Mayor believes that it should be possible to organise a race in London in the future and has asked his team to explore options with F1.”

On the run-up to the 2017 British Grand Prix, ‘F1 Live’ was successfully hosted on the streets of London, the biggest demonstration of Formula One outside of a racing venue for some time.

Despite the logistical challenges of an extended weekend of racing, F1 sporting director Ross Brawn told the Evening Standard that these difficulties would be minimised by the race being situated on the outskirts of London.

“I think because F1 is a week-long activity minimum, the disruption it would cause in the centre of London would be unacceptable,” said Brawn.

“I don’t think Londoners really need to worry about us taking over the centre of London for a week.

“But there are things on the periphery that are being explored – not slap-bang in the centre of London but Greater London.”

However, he refused to rule out the possibility of having both venues on the calendar.

“We’d like to see London complement Silverstone, not replace it,” added Brawn. “We could see ways we could make it work both sides.

“London is an iconic city with a massive history in the sport and there’s huge enthusiasm here.”

By: Luke Murphy

All images: Motorsport Images

Do you think Liberty Media should explore London as an option for hosting an F1 race? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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1

Not keen on London GP – wherever it is help it would cause unacceptable disruption and pollution in the capital

2

Liberty chasing F e fans and they wonder why fans are complaining about the current state of F1.

3

never in the history of the sport has there been 2 4 time champions going head to head.

4

those complaining are in a minority. tv and circuit audiences have increased year on year because the show is more attractive….

5

Is Sadiq khan so stupid, that he can’t see he’s being used and played for the mug.

It’s embarrassing that he hasn’t told liberty to take a jump! It’s silverstone or nothing my good friends.

6

Crystal Palace. Has heritage and a track (ok, it might need a tiny bit of updating). Sorted.

7

It was a very short track and there may not be enough space for a big event but could be ideal for FE if resurrected !

8

Since this Stevenage thing is gaining such traction, let’s have a race out of it, and have the checkered flag in the cliché of Notting Hill somewhere.

Is Hugh available right now?

9

Hugh Hefner??

10

He certainly is:)

11

they want to test london race before going to paris, moscow, mexico.

12

I don’t think the outskirts of London have a lot to recommend them; no iconic locations for the TV screens, and most of them are suburbs where lots of people live, so massive disruption isn’t likely to be popular there, either.

On the other hand, the City of London (the square mile) is absolutely deserted at the weekends, everything shuts down. So with a bit of flexibility in the scheduling, you could absolutely take it over for a weekend and race around the Bank of England etc.

13

We don’t need any more street circuits on the calendar. They have their good points, but they don’t have the same enjoyable racing as a well designed dedicated circuit.

I feel like Formula E would be more suited to London, and it worked really well in Battersea Park a few years ago. Unfortunately that option got taken away, but as Brawn said there are plenty of options that could work on the outskirts of London – the Olympic Park could be ideal. Formula E needs less space and time than F1 too, so it would be less disruptive.

As a Londoner wouldn’t be against a race here for either series, but absolutely not at the expense of Silverstone. I felt like Liberty were more positive about Silverstone than Bernie, and Brawn seems to want to make it work at least, but there’s always money and politics getting in the way of a deal.

14

Average crowd on Sunday 139,000, minimum price £200, £27.8M revenue minimum for Sunday plus Friday and Saturday. Costs seem

to be order of £20M including hosting fees of £16M. Something doesn’t add up…

15

Here’s what I think is happening…

Liberty is taking a lead out of Bernie’s playbook by stirring things up and distracting from the real focus… which is, of course, re-signing Silverstone.

What Liberty cannot be see to be doh g is rolling right over for Silverstone… every circuit in the world would then be at their door asking a for a cheaper contract. So, we must go through this charade for a few weeks/months while the real contract is being signed. And Khan gets played as part of the collateral damage.

16

A lot of tax money to get their hands on in those big cities.

Why didn’t we get a race in Moscow? Putin probably could have made that happen, instead he proposed a little deserted place called Sochi. Maybe it didn’t look so good from his side of the bargain to have it in one of the big cities?

And what do you do when you have a whole place built just for sports. Voilà.

And Baku. There was a heritage site for sale. But it has produced some interesting races it must be said. Maybe it was because of safety cars though?

Was that Briatore who made that happen? Both Baku and the safety cars.

17

Silverstone had 340,000 people turn up last year!

At roughly £300 a ticket that equals £102million.

How the hell is that is that not enough money to subsidise a race?!

18

If that was a mom and pop store or company, it would have been brilliant figures. Now it’s not. Sadly

19

No, I suspect they had 340,000 turnstyle pass-throughs. That means one person with a $400 ticket counts three times – Fri, Sat, Sun. Some people only come for 1 or 2 days, and therefore they are in at about $125/day. More realistic to think 340,000 X $100 (average cost including single day GA tix) = $34,000,000. I believe licensing fees for the race are between 25-30 mil.

20

Numbers don’t add up phil m.

Last accounts show total revenue £56M, of which half is claimed to be from the GP according to the Telegraph i.e. £28M, so £75 per paying customer if there were 340k people over the weekend. Hosting fees said to be £16M, then add running costs, and as far as I can see these are £5M, so there’s potentially £7M gross profit. Somebody is not telling the whole story – race revenue is correct as it’s audited accounts, so either running costs or host fees.

Anyway reading the 2017 accounts is seriously worrying. They pay the hosting fees in arrears, so they will probably have to obtain another credit line according to accounts and auditors. Clever accounting to lever host fees down, or the race is genuinely unaffordable? 340,000 people must make a sizeable contribution to the local economy, so I wonder if they talked to local politicians?

21

Phil,

Your math is off. They claim 340K, but that’s absolutely not different people. If you come Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday you, just one Phil M will be Qty: 4 in that 340K.

Also, Not sure 300 GBP is the average. The large volume of low price G.A.s pull the average ticket price down. Add to this sales on grandstands in % and promos, 4 packs, etc. and I bet you the average weekend pass is closer to 200.

So let’s forget Thursday numbers through the gate, and average that 340K over 3 day, that’s about 113K 3-day weekend tickets, at 200 average and you have your hosting fee 22.5M GBP. Remember Liberty takes the paddock club high value tickets for themselves. What’s left is parking and concessions to cover costs for the hosts. Thin! I bet you that hardly covers the costs of renting the porte-potties.

If hosting F1 races was profitable and lucrative, Bernie would have never been handing out hosting contracts. He’d rent the venue and host F1 there himself.

Bernie is a NINJA! He’s get them to spend hundreds of million to build the tracks and then pay huge sums to host. Can someone please point out a race host venue that is profitable?

22

Can someone please point out a race host venue that is profitable?

@Sabee

Monaco. They don’ t pay any hosting fees apparently.

23

That will do it then C63, indeed. No hosting fee would turn any GP profitable, and take 600m out of Liberty revenue stream.

But come on, you know it’s not fully free. Some type of additional favor is probably exchanged by the royalty of Monaco to return the favor for the revenue and prestige the weekend generates. Let the imagination run wild!

24

The 340,000 is for all three days in total. So probably less revenue than £102M, but even at £100M how on earth do they lose money?

Anyone know of revenue and cost breakdown published?

25

Northamptonshire Police give them a huge bill for their services every year, apparently Britain is the only country that charges a Grand Prix for policing. The other overheads are equally huge, the staff bill must be enormous!

26

Inflation.

27

Monaco is losing their fans, but it still kinda works. It’s history etc. But racing one can’t really speak of.

Altough it’s a special challenge to drive there I don’t belive we’re in need for another similar track.

All we need to do is feed the rich and vain once a year.

Singapore has a niche that works.

What are LM really looking for except a really big city or just a few known landmarks passing by in the background?

Cultural heritage is of course tasty no matter what backwater it might be.

Florida looked like a fiasko from the start.

Are they now just begging who will host them.

Talks about NY, London and who knows what, but then we get to know it’s really on the outskirts. Still it’s probably a twisty non overtaking track we’re talking about.

All this while they suck the blod dry from classic circuits. I don’t know about Mexico but it looked like they had a lot of people coming, still they are in trouble. Silverstone, Monza, Germany etc…

And people living in the center and at the outer regions of those cities or any other city for that matter usually don’t appreciate the noice as much as a F1 fan might think.

Not to speak of the hassle that comes with it and most people living there have probably never even seen a race on tv not to even mention live.

So it’s an ongoing promo, a gigantic billboard to reach another target group.

So F1 is coming to you whether you like it or not.

They might want to up the noice before they come so that the people there can hear them

28

“Greater London”……

Yep, bring it to Croydon. They can call turn 1 chicken shop corner, which would lead on to chicken shop straight, followed by, well, I suppose, chicken shop corner 2. Parts of the circuit may get a little ‘stabby’ at times. The flyover would make a good piece of track though. Ha.

But seriously, it depends what you class as Greater London because most areas outside of central are an eyesore. If it goes ahead and it works, fair play, but it’s disappointing to get another crappy street circuit when there are so many classic tracks missing from the calendar!

29

Good luck finding £20m fees plus running costs to host the race Mayor Khan…

30

Thats no problem – Kahn can just charge the cars £1M each for entering his low emission zone.

31

This is classic short term profitability maximisation over long term strategy poor decision making. A race in London will likely drive higher fees to liberty than Silverstone. However, the racing will most likely be poorer leading to less long term growth in the sport to new fans. I spoke to my dentist just the other day who is a casual F1 fan and he said he watched two races this year and one of them was SIlverstone and it was a great race. Will London produce as many great races as Silverstone to drive interest in the sport? Doubtful.

32

And the latest from Gazetta:

Stormzy and Lewis Hamilton walk out of the hit Broadway musical “Hamilton”, after complaining there was nothing in it about Lewis’s childhood in the slums.

33

@ Spud etc etc etc Why not hold a race in Stevenage and ‘you know who’ could start from the back of the grid to emulate the beginning of his life time journey to the pinnacle of all pinnacles. Still I Rise hahaha

34

Kenneth, Lewis really did start his career from a council estate in Swindon. Unfortunately for him his Dad didn’t own a Ferrari collection, unlike good old Joe Ricciardo….

35

Back of the grid with a Renault PU, and 80 bhp less than Merc and Ferrari.

36

What Hamilton said was stupid, but clearly a very bad mistake.

You must have been bulging in your pants when he said that – “What a fabulous opportunity to have an online dig” you thought while the blood flowed out of your brain southwards. We get it, you don’t like Hamilton.

37

@PaulD…what a silly comment you’ve just posted. Childish really. Why do you think he said it in the first place? I’ll tell you why…If he can conjure up a childhood of massive deprivation and absolutely zero by way of external assistance [ other than his hardworking Dad to help out] then his struggle to the top of the pile looks whole lot more impressive. Yes it was stupid and it was also a lie. He got caught out and as the ‘Fleet street hacks’ said, he quickly posted a grovelling apology. Your Cycoplean ‘ outlook is all too obvious.

38

Kenneth, the correction was immediate, I get that you wouldn’t be interested but here are his actual words,

“It really was a dream for us all as a family to do something different. For us to get out of the slums, well not the slums, but to get out of somewhere and do something. We all set our goals very, very high but we did it as a team“.

39

@PaulD

You’re right, it was the wrong word and he immediately corrected himself – it is also very clear what he meant. But, once again the anti brigade seize upon it like he has committed a crime or has been caught drowning puppies. I guess when the driver they support isn’t winning or hasn’t even bettered their team mate in living memory they have to hit back some how.

Fingers crossed Hamilton can make it 6 WDC in 2019.

40

@C64/M4 hahahah Typical, shoot the messenger.

41

It is very odd that he said that though, what with all his experience and at this stage of his career. It’s not like he’s new to this.

You get the feeling he is constantly trying to portray a different image so the words don’t come very naturally.

Btw did you see Kimi got pissed at the awards meaning hundreds of thousands watched videos of it on YouTube. Always promoting F1 that Finn, the others need to pull their fingers out.

42

NickH

Than was one of the few awards worthy of the name. Highlight of the year. Kimi keeps on giving to F1 and they don’t know how to handle him.

It’s not for everyone though, to try and pull that off in these kind of crowds, But the social media flourished and in a good way. Again a dull coordinated snoozfest was elevated up to a higher level.

I bet they’ll keep their fingers crossed that Kimi will not win in a Sauber or anything crazy that is worthy of more awards. And another invitation to their gala, probably in Bahrain next year.

43

That “slums” comment is pure gold. Easily Lewis’ most impressive achievement since the start of the PU era.

44

This is one of the few new proposals left from the LM takeover

It will probably fail as well. For good reasons.

Why not fix what is really broken to begin with. Like the cars, real competition etc.

Of course there are a few race tracks that they could get rid of or rebuild. But if the iconic tracks can’t make it, then it’s just another sign of the pending catastrophe.

Then if they can get a few backdrops that looks great into the mix that’s fine

But this is just a distraction from the real issues and looking the other way.

45

I’m sure many Londoners would be happy to subsidise Silverstone so the GP could be held there instead.

Say, what does James Allen think about this, as he’s domiciled in Kentish Town I believe??

Oh, nearly forgot. James is yachting in the Caribbean for the foreseeable future……

46

My contact told me he was seen taking to the emerald waters of Mustique clothed only in a leopard skin ‘mankini’ and floating by with a massive G & T clasped in his bronzed hand whilst nearby a bevy of unemployed ‘grid girls’ suitable dressed down for the occasion, enjoyed the opportunity to lobby James for a return to their rightful place!!!!

47

Ha ha, and was his friend Peter Stringfellow in tow, Kenneth?

48

Maybe in spirit but not in ‘Fact’ seeing as he passed on to the great ‘paddock club in the Sky’.

49

Phil

He’d have to be in tow, literally.

Stringfellow is dead….. isn’t he🤔

50

“with Liberty looking to include more street races”

Oh good, more races on narrow tracks with little to no overtaking. Can’t wait! Why can’t F1 just leave the street races to the FormulaE guys, and stick with the tried and tested tracks?

51

Yeah, what are the best venues? Spa, Silverstone & Monza!

It should be the opposite of ‘more street races.’ OK, maybe the H Tilke circus has not worked out? We lost (the best one) Turkey, Korea, India and Malaysia.

So, they were pushing against the F1 ‘heritage’ and got a bloody nose. A race in the centre of London would be great, but, according to the article, that is not going to happen. So, where is it going to be? Peckham? Lovely jubly… No wonder the mayor is keen. He gets a whole area made over and might even make a profit! LOL

Let’s face it: there is a ‘core’ of F1 races – Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Monaco. (But, 2 of those have had very recent problems, and their tracks are not the finest)! This is where money needs to be spent…

Also, need to bring back: South Africa, Holland and Argentina. Those are iconic races.

52

And there goes another sport spirited away to it’s new ‘home’ london, as if it hasn’t taken enough sports and claimed them as there ‘home’ for instance Twickenham the ‘home’ of rugby err nope that’ll be Rugby in Warwickshire,the game is even named after the town, Wimbledon the home of lawn tennis nope, that’ll be Leamington spa, unbelievably also in warwickshire, I’m pretty sure Wembley isn’t the real home of football,that’ll be somewhere in the wastelands north of the m25, can we not have anything that creates joy to millions of people outside of the centre of the universe (London) even the drivers love the Silverstone track, oh no there is money for the capital to made here so we’re having that thank you very much, there not even talking having it in the centre with all the iconic landmarks ….no maybe just outside so as there is no disruptions ,well Silverstone is just outside London only 50 bloody miles, so if you want.to see the F1 get off you arses and break through the M25 barrier and travel 1hr up t’northamptonshire to an already great venue which if had the financial backing London would spend on putting on the race then would be up there with the best in the world !

53

I don’t know if it’s hilarious or just depressing to read that they plan a race on the outskirts when they kinda already have one

They might want to bring NHL to London as well. All year. I believe the game was actually invented in England at least:)

54

It would price “regular people” right out of bothering to go.

55

Because tickets are currently so cheap? £331 starting price is pretty steep in my book and as raising ticket prices is Silverstone’s only way of increasing revenue under the current model that is only going to go up unless a new deal can be negotiated.

56

They’ve also got the decline of Hamilton to deal with in the coming years, which will affect gates. Maybe Norris, Russell, and Albon will become major draws, the the BRDC clearly have major risks with F1.

Top level sport is just way too greedy and costly these days, so many other ways of being entertained for less money. Wonder what they’re doing to the future fan bases by hiking up costs for football, F1, etc, etc while putting the behind paywalls, and paying average footballers fortunes (no problems with superstars in football, just the big average Premier League players getting millions).

57

All this talk.

Maybe they will come to your neighborhood and someone else’s the next

No worries! You don’t need to find us, we’ll find you!

Most probably they’ll find a dictator who’ll host them, in a wastland somewhere

58

They already did. It’s called Hanoi.

59

If Londond can’t even host a round of pollution free Formula E then what are the real prospects of getting an F1 GP running around the congestion zone?

60
Tornillo Amarillo

Silverstone is super cool. Montreal is great. Melbourne is boring and should be replaced 🙂

61

@ TA…I agree with that. I would love to see a race through the streets of Sydney around the Botanic Gardens and past the Opera House and up across the Sydney Harbour Bridge with a U-Turn in North Sydney and then back across the Bridge to finish up in Barrangaroo. Would be spectacular and far from boring.

62

@Kenneth,

I hope your plan includes the 270 degree left hander from the Cahill expressway on to the bridge.

That would be so Gran Turismo.

63

@ Mick…Yes…what a track to drive eh?

64

Tornillo,

Silverstone & Montreal look great on the tv, but I take my daughter to Melbourne every year, & I think your comment needs adjustment.

Melbourne is Super boring & should absolutely be replaced. . . . by a race track, not another street circuit.

If we must use public roads for racing, the world has several options to show how it’s done. Le Mans, Spa & Bathurst.

65

@ Mick…Bathurst as a track would be magic but it bears too many similar features to Magny Cours. To far out in the wilderrness for such an event.

66

@Kenneth

Yeah, I’ll pay that. There’s a few too many Blue Mountains in the way.

But as a public road course, it’s a wonderful example.

I did a 2:47 one night, without getting busted. Even that slow, it gets your attention. 🙂

67

@Mick…Bathurst is truly a definitive track.So many European hotshots come to try their luck and very few ever get to master it. It’s a great test of driving expertise. That’s what the main attraction really is. To top that off….getting some rain sharpens the senses!!! A 2.47 is not a shabby lap!

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