The London F1 ‘dream’ that could become a reality


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It would be pretty spectacular, no question, but would a Grand Prix circuit in central London really be a good thing?

A 5.1km street circuit is reportedly now being taken very seriously as a prospect in Formula One with talk of it being a "dream" for the sport and the city.

For the sport? Maybe. For the city? Hmmm, no. Unlikely.

The attraction for under fire F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is very understandable. Any circuit placed in the centre of a city as prominent as London would be pretty significant.

Taking in the sights of such notable landmarks as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and Trafalgar Square would clearly be a pretty illustrious setting for the sport.

Would the Queen really approve of Force Indias flying past her window, though?

F1 has a very committed and loyal fanbase, but is the sport big enough for a wider market to find the idea of an inner-city circuit plausible?

Jenson Button, obviously not under any pressure from his sponsors Santander who are, coincidentally, the British Grand Prix sponsors, has spoken very enthusiastically about what would be a "fantastic" idea.

"When I first saw the plans for a London Grand Prix I knew they were ambitious, but fantastic," said Button. "The thought of a race through the capital's streets was only a dream when they initiated the project, but this week's changes to the law bring the idea a step closer to reality.

"When you really picture what it would look like it's truly mind blowing. You could create such a unique grand prix through the streets of London – the roads are naturally very wide and long, so straightline speeds would be high, and you could create a real blend of corners.

"When you combine all of that with the world-famous monuments that would feature in the backdrop you can see why it would be an awesome addition to the calendar."

But how would such a circuit work in a city as busy and condensed as London?

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Twenty months ago plans for a race through the streets of the capital were aired by the British Grand Prix sponsors - using CGI technology, a 14-corner, 5.1km circuit was unveiled.

Many believed it to be a publicity stunt, although F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone threw his weight firmly behind the idea, adamant it was "no joke" with projections focusing on a cost of around £35 million.

Such an event would, however, pose enormous problems, but on Thursday the government announced a consultation on closed-road motor sport events on mainland Britain which is due to run for six weeks through to April 10.

There would still be considerable logistical and environmental issues to contend with, and understandable objection from many campaigners, but nothing F1 supremos have not dealt with before.

The Motor Sports Association has campaigned long and hard for Britain to follow the lead taken by many overseas countries who have staged closed-road events for years, but the "dream" of a Grand Prix in London may be a step too far despite all the backing.

What do you think: would a grand prix in central London be a success or a nightmare? Post your comments below...

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