If you read some stories you would be forgiven for thinking that a London Grand Prix is a done deal. It isn't, even if it is Bernie's most sincere wish. For a start, an Act permitting local authorities to stage motor races has to pass through Parliament.
Then there will be fierce opposition because there always is. Spurious arguments will be forwarded about the environmental impact, yet there will only be 22 cars running in the centre of London which has got to be an improvement. There will be disruption, but so there is on state occasions and when the London Marathon is run.
Recently, London was the finish of the third stage of the Tour de France. All great cities get disrupted by big occasions which can be political demonstrations or strikes. They can also be disrupted for filming; cities like being the backdrop for movies, it makes them more interesting.
The mayor, Boris Johnson, is keen for the race to happen and he has sanctioned the running of a Formula E event in Battersea Park.
It will not replace the British GP, Silverstone has a long-term contract to stage that. The usual device for letting a country in Europe stage a second race is to call it the European GP, a name which will cause some British politicians to go apoplectic.
In any case, a London race would be held on a temporary circuit so could come and go in the calendar to suit all parties.
Here is some history. There has never been a motor race on public roads on the island of Great Britain, save for the Birmingham Superprix, which needed its own Act of Parliament. 'Great' is not a boast, it merely means 'big'. There was Grande Bretagne and Petite Bretagne, otherwise known as the French region, Brittany.
The main island houses England, Scotland and Wales, and road racing has never been permitted on it. Hill climbs on public roads were permitted until 1924 when a serious accident put paid to that. Racing on public roads has been permitted in Ireland, both the North and the Republic. The Isle of Man still holds the TT races for motorcycles and both it, and Northern Ireland, once held the car Tourist Trophy.
There have been road races in Jersey in the Channel Islands. Jersey, a tax haven like the Isle of Man, is not part of the United Kingdom, it is owned by the Queen.
Some readers may be surprised to know that there was postwar road racing in America at Elkhart Lake (1950-53) and Watkins Glen (1948-53). Both events were stopped after fatal accidents, but the events (organised by the fledgling SCCA) were so popular that local businessmen found the money to build permanent tracks.
Road racing took place all over Europe, the old Spa circuit was on public roads, and was led by France and Italy. A motor race was an attraction like a circus or a travelling funfair with the addition that it gave publicity to a town and that was irresistible to the local bigwigs who could vote to hold a race.
Of all the great cities, London is the one to offer the best landscape because it is not built on a grid system. After the Great Fire of 1666, there were grid plans proposed. Ownership of the land was the problem so London continued to sprawl and to give us a potentially fine layout.
If passed, the Act of Parliament will enable any town to hold races. Formula One gets the headlines, but there are plenty of categories which would attract crowds for the sheer novelty of seeing street racing.
Some seaside resorts might jump at a chance of filling hotel rooms at the end of a season. Prewar there was sand racing at resorts on both the West and East coasts. Some resorts ran speed trials along the promenade, which was usually council-owned. This tradition continues in Brighton where the annual Speed Trials (quarter mile, standing start) can claim to be the world's oldest motor sport event since it has been run since 1905.
The arguments which caused towns all over Europe to stage races remain the same today. An event attracts visitors and puts a town in the spotlight.
The Birmingham Superprix (the feature race was for F3000 cars) made sense because Birmingham was still the centre of the British car industry in the 1980s. Even Peugeots were made in nearby Coventry, Most Formula One teams (and their subcontractors) are based within a very small area and perhaps a town will step forward.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, made the announcement about road racing as he opened a new facility for Williams Advanced Engineering. This applies lessons learned in Formula One to other areas and currently employs 250 people. Among other things, it makes all of the batteries used by Formula E.