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While London is undoubtedly the focal point of global sporting endeavour and the attendant groundswell of international attention this summer, Santander has articulated the fizzing excitement surrounding the capital with the release of a spectacular concept film featuring Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton to speculate how the city could add to cement a claim to be the world's pre-eminent sporting capital.
With London not just the host city for the 2012 Games, but also for its premium catalogue of blue riband sporting events that are followed around the globe from Wimbledon to Royal Ascot or the summer calendar of test cricket, Santander - as title sponsor of the British Grand Prix at Silverstone - has explored how a Formula 1 race against the backdrop of one of the most familiar urban skylines, might look.
The London Grand Prix by Santander is presented as an ultra-high fidelity short CGI film founded on a detailed feasibility study undertaken by expert project architects, Populous, which has first hand experience of delivering Formula 1 infrastructure projects for Silverstone and a range of other venue clients of international stature from London's O2 Arena to the Sochi 2014 Olympic Stadium.
By embracing the detailed logistical expertise that has delivered the spectacular new Silverstone circuit and allying it with the unique cockpit insights of Britain's two F1 World Champions, Hamilton and Button, Santander's London Grand Prix film provides the most comprehensive answer yet to the much-vaunted question of how a Formula 1 street-race in the capital might one day look.
"The idea of an F1 street-race in London is something I have had for many years," said Bernie Ecclestone. "It would be magnificent. A couple of years ago we came very close to an agreement with the City of Westminster and The Mayor's office but we ran into the small problem of cost. A few years back over half a million people turned-up to watch F1 cars parading through the streets of the capital. The public's appetite for a London Grand Prix is huge as I am sure it is with the F1 teams and sponsors."
Hamilton and Button have been extensively consulted in the development of the detail for the 14 corner, 3.169 mile circuit which features a start grid on The Mall, a 192 mph Santander straight in the run up to Buckingham Palace and with perhaps one of the most audacious corners anywhere on the sport's twenty race global calendar, the London Grand Prix route circuit will steer 24 cars from Trafalgar Square into Admiralty Arch. Conceived as a night race, the lifelike quality of the CGI includes a driver perspective from the cockpit of the McLaren MP4-27 as it races through the streets of London, making for compelling viewing.
"Having been immersed in this project, having helped to shape this track, it feels as real to me as anywhere I've raced. Jenson and I have worked in the simulator to provide some useful feedback to inform the circuit design, so this is far more than whimsical thinking out loud. The film that encapsulates all of this work is massively detailed as well as logistically achievable. And I have to say, this is an utterly epic track and would produce the most stunning and compelling Formula 1 race. If you add an event of this complexion to London's staggering roster of world-class sporting events, it surely would have to own the title of the ultimate sporting metropolis?" said Hamilton.
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