Copenhagen eyes F1 race deal (6th Update)

Sean Bratches and Liberty media want 24 races, but it appears no one wants them
Sean Bratches and Liberty media want 24 races per year, but not many can afford F1

UPDATE A project to bring a Formula 1 event to Copenhagen has been officially scrapped, but one of the concept’s promoters has not yet given up hope of seeing the sport come to Denmark.

Helge Sander, an entrepreneur, former MP and the primary backer of the original project, said that he was interested in finding an alternative Danish location for Formula 1.

“The positive vibe around Formula 1 has naturally caused other municipalities to react," Sander said.

“If a sufficiently interesting project emerges elsewhere in Denmark, it should naturally be tried, provided the relevant practical, sustainable and economic conditions are fulfilled," he said.

The municipalities in question do not currently wish to be named, Sander said, adding that the sport’s licensing body Formula One Management would have the final say on the matter.

But the Formula 1 calendar is evidence that any Danish Grand Prix would not have to be held in the country’s capital, he said.

The entrepreneur said he remained disappointed by the lack of government and municipal support for using the streets of Copenhagen as a race track.

Sander’s proposal for the city had been approved by the Formula 1 management in London and regulator FIA.

But that project is now officially over, despite two years of preliminary work costing several million Danish kroner.

The company used for the campaign, the Society for Promotion of Formula 1 in Copenhagen (Foreningen til Fremme af Formel 1 i København), has now been deregistered as a company and with tax authorities, Sander confirmed.

That comes after Copenhagen Lord Mayor said in September that he no longer viewed the concept as politically viable.

“We had to take in the shock of that announcement, but we have to accept that right now it is not possible to arrange a Formula 1 race in Copenhagen, even though I have received positive messages almost daily since the mayor’s announcement," Sander said.

09/22/18 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. Denmark has scrapped plans to host a Formula One race in its capital Copenhagen, Finance Minister Kristian Jensen said on Friday.

The decision to halt plans to host a race around the streets of inner Copenhagen in 2020 came after lack of support from the city authorities, Jensen said.

F1 races are very expensive to host and are money losers for everyone except the Formula One Management, currently owned by Liberty Media.

Proposed Copenhagen street circuit
Proposed Copenhagen street circuit

09/01/18 (GMM) Charlie Whiting says Copenhagen could be the next venue on the F1 calendar.

Many potential hosts are regularly eyeing F1 projects, but FIA race director Whiting says plans for a Danish grand prix are serious.

He recently visited Copenhagen, and said Hermann Tilke has been brought onto the project to advise about the street layout.

"They invited me because they are now presenting the project to the municipality and they wanted to make sure there are no problems from the FIA side," Whiting said at Monza.

"From our point of view it is entirely possible that we'll be there. It's not yet in place but from our point of view it's 100 per cent realistic. Now it's up the Danes to get all of the necessary permissions," he told BT newspaper.

"It can easily be done by 2020," said Whiting.

06/16/18 This rumor may soon be downgraded to 'false.' Following a meeting between the Danish Finance Minister, Kristian Jensen, and Copenhagen's mayor, Frank Jensen, it is claimed the two were unable to agree on funding for a possible F1 race in Copenhagen.

"The government is prepared to put some money into the hosting of Formula 1 in Denmark," Kristian Jensen told Politiken. But we don't think it's reasonable that the city where such a large event is to take place does not also contribute economically."

Jensen added that other regions, including Odense, Herning and Horsens, have usually made significant financial contributions in order to secure sporting events, most notably the Giro d'Italia and Tour de France.

"We ask all cities to be a part of funding when a major sporting event is in town," added Kristian Jensen. "So it is also fair for Copenhagen Municipality to do this."

According to a statement issued following Thursday's meeting, the Ministry of Finance will officially inform the municipality of Copenhagen that; "if we are to continue on this path, we in the government expect Copenhagen Municipality to be prepared to contribute financially to the hosting of Formula 1 in Denmark".

Lord mayor Frank Jensen has one-vote majority on the city council as talks continue with the government and the two men driving the proposal for the race, Lars Seier Christensen and former minister Helge Sander.

Needless to say, other than the finance issue, a number of political parties are wholly against the idea of a race on the city's streets including the Red-Green Alliance, Alternative, the Socialist People's Party and the Social Liberals, while a number of Social Democrat councilors are skeptical of the plan, which would require municipal approval for the use of the city's roads.

It's believed that FOM is hoping to host the Miami event as early as next year, with Vietnam and Copenhagen to follow in 2020.

04/30/18 (GMM) Denmark is still inching its way towards the F1 calendar.

Organizers of a proposed street race in Copenhagen met with the boss of Azerbaijan's similar city grand prix at the weekend.

"We had a meeting on Friday with the head of Azerbaijan's grand prix," Helge Sander, who had traveled to Baku with Lars Seier Christensen, told BT newspaper.

"He was completely open about the challenges associated with organizing a formula one race in the middle of a big city, but we were in no way deterred."

The pair also met with Gunther Steiner, boss of the Haas team that runs Danish driver Kevin Magnussen.

Copenhagen's proposed city layout has reportedly already been approved by F1 circuit architect Hermann Tilke.

Tilke said in Baku: "Copenhagen will be a great place for formula one.

"The city is unique and the proposed circuit will be so beautiful with the iconic buildings in the background."

04/10/18 Although a Formula 1 race on the streets of the Danish capital Copenhagen is far from a done deal, the local city council has voted in favour of pushing ahead with the project.

The matter of conducting a study into the impact an F1 street race would have on the city was put to a vote of the 55-member Borgerrepræsentationen (city council) last week and narrowly passed with 28-27 in favour.

That means the project can now continue to the next stage with an impact study to be conducted on the benefits a race would have on the local economy, with hopes it would substantially boost tourism and the marketing of Copenhagen.

It's been proposed that a city centre street circuit will be used, making use of the Knippelsbro bridge and the Langebro bridge (pictured) which cross over a waterway splitting the Zealand island and the Amager island and will therefore be the first circuit to incorporate two bridge sections.

Former MP Jyllands-Posten said the track had been run past F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke and was confident it would minimise disruption to the city.

"The track we have submitted to Formula 1 is not with complete certainty the final version, but it is the basis, and if there are any changes they will be minimal.

"The track has been approved by Hermann Tilke. The proposed route has far fewer obstacles than he expected, considering it is a track in the middle of a city."

Liberty Media is believed to have signed off on a preliminary agreement to host a race in 2020 pending approval by the city council. However it faces a hurdle in the form of a rival bid by Formula E, which is hoping to sway the council into picking the all-electric series instead.

03/19/18 (GMM) A top Copenhagen official has played down hopes the Danish capital could soon join the F1 calendar.

Ninna Hedeager Olsen, the deputy mayor for Copenhagen's technical and environment department, told Politiken newspaper that an F1 race in the city is "completely unrealistic".

"The organisation of an event like formula one is so extensive and requires so many resources that it is completely unrealistic for Copenhagen by 2020," she said.

Hedeager Olsen said another major obstacle is the city disruption the event would cause.

"My administration estimates that formula one could affect central parts of the city for up to nine weeks," she said. "This is of course completely unacceptable."

01/03/18 (GMM) Plans for a grand prix in Copenhagen are speeding ahead.

Ekstra Bladet newspaper reports that F1 chief executive Chase Carey is planning to travel to the Danish capital next week to meet with mayor Frank Jensen and other key figures.

"We're not ready to agree yet," race promoter Helge Sander warned.

Meanwhile, German broadcaster SWR is reporting that Carey also wants Germany's place on the F1 calendar to be secure beyond 2018.

Talks with the Nurburgring are reportedly taking place about a 2019 race, after circuit boss Mirco Markfort attended the 2017 season finale in Abu Dhabi.

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