London mayor Sadiq Khan says any plans to stage a Formula 1 grand prix in the heart of the UK’s capital city will require prior study on the impact of the race in terms of disruption and pollution.
The idea of seeing F1 cars hurtle through the streets of London has been doing the rounds once again after new series boss Chase Carey hinted at the possibility in the wake of Liberty Media’s takeover of the sport.
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Outgoing F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone had repeatedly campaigned for a London GP, claiming it would match, if not surpass, the glamour of Monaco and even offering to foot the bill for the race.
Despite Carey’s statement of intent, London officials say they have yet to receive any proposal from the new F1 owners.
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“Until we receive a proposal and have a greater understanding of the type of infrastructure formula one requires for a race, it is difficult to comment on what would and would not be possible,” a spokesman for mayor Khan told The Times.
The closest Londoners have come to witness F1 action came in the summer of 2004 when a demo show featured the likes of Nigel Mansell and Jenson Button taking eight grand prix cars for a spin around city landmarks such as Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus. Attending the event, then city mayor Ken Livingstone said at the time that a London GP could happen by 2007.
Boris Johnson, whom Khan succeeded as London mayor last year, also spoke out in favour of having an F1 race in the capital when he was asked about the project during Formula E’s maiden visit to London in the summer of 2015.
“I am certainly willing to look at it,” Johnson told The Guardian at the time. “I am always interested in projects that attract jobs and bring growth. The question of air quality and noise impact will have to be looked at. I am broadly positive providing we can satisfy the air quality and noise issues.”
With Silverstone’s future on the F1 calendar growing uncertain, London would certainly offer a nice back up plan but the topic has been a long-running story form many years with little progress actually achieved.
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