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F1 heading to London's Docklands?

NEWS STORY
15/03/2023

Not for the first time, there is talk of a Grand Prix in London, as Dar and The London Collective target a race in Docklands.

As Harold Shand took his assembled guests on a cruise down the Thames in the late 1970s, sharing his vision for the future of what had been London's old docks, it is highly unlikely that he envisioned Formula One cars tearing around the streets.

Though Harold sadly never lived long enough to see his dream for Docklands become reality, it is the dream of Dar and The London Collective to bring F1 to the area.

The LDN Collective and Dar have unveiled a vision for the Royal Docks to transform the area into a globally recognised waterfront destination for sports, leisure and entertainment and to host a potential London Grand Prix.

The concept extends the width of the existing 10m embankment by 20m for a length of 2.7km along the Royal Victoria and Royal Albert Dock embankment from ExCeL to the University of East London, creating 48,140 sqm of prime waterfront land.

The water's edge would be activated by a series of floating modules, combining to provide further community space along the embankment edge and 70,790 sqm (GFA) for a wide variety of functions, from boutique hotels and restaurants to libraries and pocket parks.

For fifty weeks of the year, London's new waterside boulevard would be an 'eventscape' programmed to host events and activities with a cycling and running track encouraging healthy and active lifestyles.

However, as the F1 race week approaches, the embankment's linear park would be disassembled to reveal the FIA grade surface, while floating units would be reconfigured to provide grandstands, food and beverage outlets and entertainment facilities.

A Grand Prix in this location would offer a waterside street circuit with high speed, long duration and full throttle sections with heavy braking zones to maximise over-taking, they say.

Also, the proposed transformation of London's Docklands into a hub for sports and entertainment, including the potential hosting of a Formula 1 Grand Prix, underscores the importance of having reliable car recovery London based services to support such large-scale events.

Offering a similar experience to Montreal's circuit, it would complement the British Grand Prix at Silverstone claims the LDN Collective and Dar. The 5,868m circuit would have 22 corners, an average speed of 204 kph and an anticipated lap time of 1:42.1.

The design would incorporate a mix of floating and non-floating grandstands with capacity for over 95,000 people and a unique pit-lane would use ExCeL's first floor servicing and loading deck for increased viewing opportunities.

"This vision could do for the Royal Docks what the Olympics did for Stratford and the Lea Valley," said Max Farrell, CEO of the LDN Collective. "By extending the promenade we are creating a flexible eventscape and by creating floating commercial uses we are making the proposal financially viable and deliverable, without the taxpayer footing the bill.

"We know that Formula 1 are interested in hosting a Grand Prix here and we have designed a track that meets all of their requirements and regulations. We have discussed the proposals with the GLA, who are developing a water strategy and planning framework with Newham Council, which we hope to align with. With or without F1, these proposals are transformational and would be a huge boost to London and the UK globally."

Talking to The Times, Mr Farrell went so far as to give a 2026 timeline.

"Once we have planning consent, with a fair wind we can build this within 24 months," he said. "So really, I think there's a best-case scenario of having a London Grand Prix here in August 2026. If everyone gets behind it, that would be feasible."

A race on the streets of London has been mooted since the early 70s, but other than the right location, money - in terms of who foots the bill - has also been a significant sticking point.

Formula E first raced in Battersea Park, on the south side of the river, before moving to Docklands in 2021.

At around that time, London Mayor, Sadiq Khan threw his weight behind the campaign to bring F1 to London, but was vetoed by environmentalists. Since then, the Mayor has appeared to go the other way and seek the banning of all cars from the city.

Despite the LDN Collective and Dar's best efforts, this is yet another project that won't go anywhere, with claims that F1 has already ruled out the location.

Maybe Razors could have a word.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by alvarezh3, 16/03/2023 1:57

"@ Kenji

Lucky guy, you get to go and be at the greatest tracks......... Mount Panorama included! :-)

The only F1 track (and race) I have been to is Paul Ricard. "

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by kenji, 16/03/2023 1:06

"@ Alvarezh3 I was about to say very much the same thing as you have now so well enunciated! I've been there twice, a very long time ago and thoroughly enjoyed it. Well said."

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by alvarezh3, 15/03/2023 15:38

"Brands Hatch it's a cool track, love the elevation changes, but it's not F1 approved (it's an FIA grade two track) and unfortunately would be expensive to upgrade. Pity.

But as they say: Never say never! Maybe Liberty would like to plunge the money as they have already in Miami and Las Vegas. Who knows?"

Rating: Positive (2)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Motorsport-fan, 15/03/2023 11:29

"Would rather see another F1 Grand Prix in the UK at either Donington or Brands Hatch although Mallory would be interesting!"

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by Editor, 15/03/2023 9:39 (moderated by an Adminstrator, 15/03/2023 9:48)

"@ Anthony,

Along with Get Carter one of the best ever British gangster movies.

It was bankrolled by George Harrison's Hand Made Films, which had previously financed The Life of Brian and went on to produce a number of movies.

For reasons best known to themselves, the director and writer subsequently said The Long Good Friday was a "reaction to Thatcher's Britain", even though it was made the year before she came to power."

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6. Posted by TokyoAussie, 15/03/2023 3:19

"Gawd help us. I had no idea that the UK has no heritage in motor racing and no international class circuits, and therefore have to build another temporary Mickey Mouse circuit. Thank heavens those F1 boffins are on the job."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

7. Posted by KKK, 14/03/2023 15:47

"The O2 would be a great place ...all indoors....with moving chicanes...Cant find any words of sarcasm"

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8. Posted by Anthony, 14/03/2023 14:23

"The Long Good Friday was indeed a memorable film!"

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