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Cameron signals London F1 race is a step closer

NEWS STORY
11/07/2014

Prime Minister David Cameron has revealed that new laws are being rushed through which could see F1 cars racing on the streets of London.

For as long as anyone can remember, fans and many locals have dreamt of the prospect of F1 cars racing through the streets of one of the world's most iconic cities, not least Bernie Ecclestone.

In 2004, that dream came a little bit closer when cars took to the streets of the capital to promote the forthcoming British Grand Prix. Hundreds of thousands of fans thronged the streets as representatives from Ferrari, Jaguar, Jordan and others took to a special 'track' that included The Mall, Piccadilly and Regent Street.

However, due to numerous concerns, not least the disruption and cost, then Mayor Ken Livingstone was vehemently against the idea, not so Boris Johnson who is far more open-minded about such projects.

This morning, speaking at the official opening of the Williams Advanced Engineering facility in Grove, Prime Minister David Cameron revealed that the dream could soon become reality as he announced that special new laws are being rushed through Parliament which would allow motor races on public roads.

"We are bringing British motor racing back to British roads, to benefit local communities," he said. "We think this will be of really useful to British motor sport, more races, more events, more money coming into the country and more success for this extraordinary industry."

"We've seen in recent years a great number of successful sporting events in the UK of various sizes," added his official spokesman. "Alongside that, this country has a long tradition of engineering experience, particularly in motor sport."

"The Mayor is already backing the FIA Formula E championship race in Battersea Park next year and thinks Formula 1 itself is a fantastic event that any city would feel privileged to host," said a spokesman for Boris Johnson, according to the Evening Standard, "he is always interested in projects that attract jobs and bring growth.

"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."

Earlier this week, the world looked on as the Tour de France took place in Yorkshire before moving down south to Cambridge, Essex and London, the participants heartily cheered on by locals who lined every inch of the track.

However, in addition to the massive disruption an F1 race in London would cause there is also the question of cost, especially in a city still paying for the Olympics.

Previously, were there a desire to hold a motor race on public roads an Act of Parliament would be required, a process that can take up to eighteen months.

The most famous motor sport event to have taken place on public roads in the UK previously was the Birmingham Superprix, which was held in Birmingham (where else?) between 1986 and 1990 and featured a round of the FIA Formula 3000 Championship with support races that included the British Touring Car Championship and Formula Ford 1600. Winners of the F3000 race included Stefano Modena, Roberto Moreno and Jean Alesi.

Chris Balfe

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by jfagan, 14/07/2014 5:00

"All well and good - but is everyone saying that Britain will then have two Grands Prix? Maybe a permanent "Grand Prix of Europe?" Not wanting to rain on anyone's parade but we already have a British Grand Prix and it is held annually at Silverstone."

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2. Posted by markscottuk, 12/07/2014 23:45

"I can imagine the drivers having bad backs and sore asses due to the condition of Londons roads, think of all the pot holes."

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3. Posted by gturner38, 12/07/2014 4:34

"Just to make sure we have this straight, we're talking about a city that has a "congestion charge" disrupting traffic for over two months each year to build and dismantle a temporary race circuit so that a grand prix can be moved away from a proper circuit to become a tourism ad for London at huge costs. It might add more rallies and hillclimbs in small towns, but it won't add sports car races or F1 races to the UK racing calendar. At best, or worst depending on your point of view, it will just relocate them."

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