Home | News | Features | Drivers | Teams | Seasons | Galleries | Circuits | Forum | Shop
Bernie's announcement that he was prepared to fund a street race in central London took most of us by surprise. The fact is the Bernie has a broad sentimental streak and apart from a few years in Suffolk when he was young, he has spent more than seventy years in London. He survived the Blitz and if you didn't you have no idea what that means, me ole cock sparrer.
He has a house in Switzerland, but he resides in London and pays British taxes. He has old friends in London, people he knew from the time before the rest of us had heard of him. He is now 81 and, believe me, there comes a time when you no longer think you may be immortal. My guess is that he is thinking about a legacy.
Bernie has a vast collection of Grand Prix cars, most stored in an aircraft hangar at Biggin Hill (I am told there are cars on stands three deep) with some in Gstaad, Switzerland. He has not bought these as investments. Open-wheeled racing cars do not appreciate at the same rate as a select few sports racing and GT cars. Over the past few years he has sold a number of desirable cars, but none of them have been single-seaters.
It is fair to assume that there will be a Bernie Ecclestone Grand Prix Museum as a lasting memorial. A London Grand Prix could be another. That great driver, Louis Chiron, is now best remembered as the instigator of a race in his native Monaco. He was aged 55 and 292 days when he finished sixth in the 1955 Monaco GP. Chiron's glittering career as a driver has been overshadowed by the race.
The idea of a London GP has been kicked around for as long as I can remember, but the proposed venue used to be Hyde Park, which is about the same size as Monaco. In 1968, the late Nick Britten tried to drum up interest. He bought a Lotus T51 Formula Ford 1600 car, added lights and mudguards, and covered it with floral decals (it was the time of Flower Power. Peace, man.)
It was a good idea back then, and it is still a good idea. Hyde Park has hosted large-scale concerts.
More recently there has been a proposal to exploit the improved infrastructure of East London, plus the Olympic Stadium, to run a race. I do not think that this has been taken seriously.
On the other hand, Bernie does not think out loud, when he makes a public suggestion, it is never idle speculation. Not only has a proposed layout been released, but it shows gearchanges. A lot of thought has gone into this suggestion. Jenson and Lewis have been hard at work on a simulator in order to finalise the circuit.
It is a very appealing idea. Monaco is special because it is always interesting to see racing cars in a different context, which is why Formula One demonstrations in cities (which have included London) have attracted large crowds. Monte Carlo itself, however, is not very interesting.
When you see coverage of Monaco, you see visiting yachts, which can anchor anywhere. There is the Casino, of course, but you only need money to get in. It is merely a gambling joint with evening dress.
Monaco achieved its position on the Riviera because of the Grand Prix. Deauville, Biarritz, Cannes and Nice were equally swanky and all have better beaches. Most also have casinos.
They are not all black tie and roulette, most operate slot machines and everyone is welcome to hand over their cash.
Page: 1 | 2 | Next | Last
Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2013. All rights reserved.
About | Advertise | Contact | Copyright | Privacy & Security | RSS