A proposal for a London Grand Prix has been revealed, with Formula One’s billionaire boss Bernie Ecclestone describing the idea for a street circuit idea around England’s famous capital as “better than the Olympics”.
The feasibility study has been conducted by a global design agency, Popolous, while one of the main sponsors of F1 team McLaren, Spanish bank Santander, this week released a CGI video of the proposed track.
The London track, pictured main and which would join other street circuits such as Monaco and Melbourne’s Albert Park, would see Formula One cars speeding past famous landmarks such as Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace, and along well-known streets such as the Embankment, Hyde Park Corner ( and The Mall.
Ecclestone has embraced the idea of a London GP since Formula One cars performed demonstration laps in the capital around Regent Street in 2004, as part of the build up to that year’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone.
It was estimated that a crowd of half a million people took to the streets to watch the parade that involved eight of the then 11 F1 teams, and was conducted at relatively slow speeds but saw many of the drivers performing burn-outs.
The London GP has reported been given the “qualified support” of London mayor Boris Johnson, who has asked for noise and emissions levels to be assessed, while octogenarian Ecclestone has told Britain’s The Times newspaper that he may be prepared to pay the 35m fee believed to be necessary to stage the event.
“With the way things are, maybe we would front it and put the money up for it,” Ecclestone told The Times. “If we got the OK and everything was fine, I think we could do that.
“[I] think what it would do for tourism. It would be fantastic; good for London, good for England – a lot better than the Olympics.”
British McLaren driver Jenson Button – pictured above trying a simulation of the London track, has also lent his support to the idea, backing what would effectively become a second British Grand Prix in addition to the annual Silverstone race.
“There have been times when I’ve been sitting in the back of a black taxi and idly thought to myself, ‘This would make a pretty good corner on a racetrack,'” said Button.
“If we ever could have a London Grand Prix, I think it would be spectacular and would be such a great addition to the city’s status as one of the world’s greatest sporting capitals.”
The London GP proposal has been unveiled to coincide with the upcoming British Grand Prix, which takes place on Sunday 8th July.