F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has offered to stump up £35m for a central London Grand Prix.
Just days after backing a proposal to build a Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit at Stratford’s Olympic Park, Ecclestone has said he believes a road race could attract up to 300,000 spectators and boost London’s economy:
“With the way things are, maybe we would front it and put the money up for it. If we got the OK and everything was fine, I think we could do that. Think what it would do for tourism. It would be fantastic, good for London, good for England – a lot better than the Olympics.”
F1 is a big crowd-puller — in 2004, around 400,000 people turned up to watch former GP champion Nigel Mansell drive a Jordan F1 car up Regent Street.
Plans for the circuit will be released later on today, but the Metro reports that the starting grid would be on the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace, with drivers racing around the 5.1km (3.2-mile) West End course 59 times.
A London street circuit could be a better proposition than a purpose-built track — the racing is often more interesting (except for this year’s Monaco Grand Prix perhaps). It would also presumably eliminate the requirement for the track to pay for itself by hosting other motorsport events, surely a relief to the residents of Stratford.
See a CGI-generated video clip of a potential London Grand Prix.
Photo by Kris Doubleyou in the Londonist Flickr pool.