F1 to race on streets of London (5th Update)


Ecclestone wonders how serious the politicians really are

Despite Britain opening its roads to racing, Bernie Ecclestone has cast doubt over the possibility of a London Grand Prix.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister David Cameron paved the way for F1 to hit the streets of London when he gave local authorities the power to close public roads for street racing.

And although Ecclestone admits this is a "step in the right direction", the F1 supremo says there are still a lot of other hurdles that need to be overcome.

He told Press Association: "In the past we spoke to the old mayor and all sorts of people.

"It just depends on what we can come up with commercially because how are we going to fund it?

"The news is good, but I don't know whether you'd have street racing because it's not cheap to put on something that's safe. Street racing is expensive.

"But if they ever get it together then we'll see what happens. At least it's a good sign, a step in the right direction."
Cameron, who was speaking during from Williams' new £8million engineering facility, also hailed Formula 1's impact on the British economy.

He called it an "amazing success story; eight of the 11 teams based here in the United Kingdom, 41,000 people working in the industry in the Oxford area alone, working for about 4,300 companies.

"It really is something we should celebrate. It seems to me it's an industry that is in good heart and good spirit with incredible investment, permanent improvement, taking place."

Responding to those comments, Ecclestone said: "What's good about it is the Government recognizes Formula One as not just a motor sport, but being powerful, good for the country and that it brings in money."

However, it remains to be seen whether the government will help cover the costs of a London Grand Prix.

The 83-year-old added: "Who knows? Maybe it's possible to get them to help out.

"If the City of Westminster and the mayor between them came up with enough money that probably pays for the amount of mineral water they drink in a number of meetings then we might get there!

"We'll see what they want to do." Planet F1

07/13/14 F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone's "long-held dream" to stage a London Grand Prix has "taken a step forward" as British PM David Cameron announced plans to "ease the rules for staging motor sports events on public roads," according to Nicholas Watt of the London GUARDIAN. Local authorities will be given "new powers in the deregulation bill to open up public roads for motor racing and for events like the Isle of Man TT motorcycle race." Cameron, who made the announcement on Friday as he opened the new Formula One Williams factory in Oxfordshire, "believes that the current restrictive rules are denying local communities the chance to earn millions from motor racing." Under the current rules motor sports can "only be approved on public roads through an act of parliament." Ecclestone said, "The news is good, but I don't know whether you'd have street racing because it's not cheap to put on something that's safe. But if they ever get it together then we'll see what happens. At least it's a good sign, a step in the right direction." Guardian.

In London, Holehouse & Johnson reported "while it will significantly open up the opportunities for hill climbs, motorbike races, and rallies across rural Britain," the biggest impact could be in "paving the way for a Formula One race which passes Buckingham Palace and Big Ben." The measure "also clears the way for the hosting of Formula E, the all-electric car championship, in Britain, with a race planned for next summer in Battersea Park." Cameron: "I can announce today that we are going to enable more road races for GB motor sport." The plans are "likely to delight Britain’s thousands of motorsport fans." The London race "could raise as much" as £100M ($171M) in ticket revenues and endorsement, "attracting a potential global television audience" of £1B ($1.7B) TELEGRAPH

Also in London, Parker & Blitz reported the idea is supported by London Mayor Boris Johnson, "but no firm proposals have been drawn up." A spokesperson for Johnson said, "He is positive that London would do a spectacular job of hosting an F1 grand prix. But it is impossible to say what the impact might be without detailed planning and research, and the question of air quality and noise impact would have to be looked at very carefully." The idea, however, was rejected by London Assembly Green member Darren Johnson, who said that F1 should "stick to dedicated tracks." Johnson: "The mayor should get behind local demands to spread 20mph speed limits across London's roads, rather than using the capital's roads for an event which has nothing to do with London being a cleaner and healthier city." U.K. Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said, "Motorsport has a huge following in the U.K. These changes will provide more opportunities for fans to enjoy the sport locally and give a financial boost to local economies through the added benefits of tourism, shopping and spending." FINANCIAL TIMES

07/12/14 The possibility of a London Grand Prix taking place in the future has received another boost thanks to a new piece of legislation.
Plans to host a London GP on a street circuit, taking in sights like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square, was first launched with much fanfare by Bernie Ecclestone in 2012.

Although talk about it has decreased in the past year, it was back in the spotlight again on Friday after Prime Minister David Cameron changed a law that will allow councils to host motor racing on public roads.

The new legislation means councils can close highways in order to host events, opening up opportunity for London to host a grand prix.

The Telegraph reports that "the measure also clears the way for the hosting of Formula E, the all-electric car championship, in Britain, with a race planned for next summer in Battersea Park".

Cameron announced the change in law when he opened a new motorsports engineering facility in his Oxfordshire constituency, where he met the Williams Formula One team.

"I can announce today that we are going to enable more road races for GB motor sport," he said. "We think this will be really useful to British motor sport: more races, more events, more money coming into the country and more success for this extraordinary industry."

07/17/12 A bid to host a Formula 1 race at the Olympic Stadium is one of four options being considered by officials in charge of deciding the venues post-games legacy.

The joint bid by Intelligent Transport Services and F1 faces competition from West Ham United, Leyton Orient and UCFB, which offers degrees in football.

A potential Formula 1 race would run alongside the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, meaning the UK would host two rounds of the World Championship for the first time since 1993 – when the European Grand Prix was held at Donington Park. In a statement. the London Legacy Development Corporation said: "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."

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone has already given his support to a potential race in London, insisting last week that a separate proposal to host a street-race around some of the capital's most famous landmarks was "no joke." Sky Sports


Olympic Park one year ago under construction

The revelation that the possibility of running F1 in and around the Olympic Park is even being considered "demonstrates the challenge facing the stadium planners," according to Paul Kelso of the London TELEGRAPH.

The idea is "so unlikely as to be comic, but they are way past laughing" at the London Legacy Development Corp. As "we will discover this summer," track and field "works brilliantly" in the Stratford Stadium.

But, Olympics and World Championships aside, the "purest of sporting disciplines does not fill stadiums." Not even brand new ones subsidized by £9M ($14M) of taxpayer investment and "served by excellent transport links." Yet retaining the track is "non-negotiable," so the LLDC has had to "cast its net wide."

West Ham United FC remain "by far the most likely" means by which the LLDC can get enough money from its primary asset to "underwrite the maintenance of all the other venues on the Park." The other bidders show "just how lean the field is."

The University of East London can offer educational uses, exploiting the offices and large amount of indoor space in the stadium. The UEL has secured the backing of Essex County Cricket Club, initially to run an academy on the stadium site that the county hopes "will tap talent in east London, but there are suggestions of Twenty20 matches."

West Ham offers the most straightforward solution. They are the only football club "willing to tolerate a track," but only if they are "permitted to build over it with new seating that they are keen not to pay for" TELEGRAPH

Olympic Park map

06/22/12 (GMM) Britain could be set to secure a second grand prix, after the Daily Telegraph reported on Friday that plans are afoot to host a race in and around London's Olympic stadium.

The report said the plan is among three other bids that have been accepted by the London Legacy Development Corporation.

But the plan was met with immediate skepticism, one authoritative source confirming that records show the company responsible for the bid was actually dissolved as long ago as 2010.

The source described Friday's news as "very strange".

Bernie Ecclestone, however, confirmed he has been approached.

"They came up with a scheme whereby formula one would race around the stadium, inside it, outside it. They wanted to make sure I would be interested," said the F1 chief executive.

Asked if he is interested, Ecclestone answered: "Yeah."

It appears the plans are not linked with an event being held next week in London by McLaren sponsor Santander, in which the team's F1 drivers will imagine a 'virtual' race on the capital's streets.

Ecclestone confirmed the Olympic stadium idea has "nothing to do" with the McLaren event.