Ecclestone to unveil plans for London Grand Prix
Bernie Ecclestone is believed to be prepared to pay up to £35 million for the rights to stage a grand prix on the streets of London, according to a report in the Times.
The report states that the circuit is expected to involve the Mall, Birdcage Walk, Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square.
It is thought that as many as 120,000 spectators could watch from stands along the 3.2-mile route and experts believe the race could generate as much as £100 million for the local economy.
"Think what it would do for tourism," Ecclestone told the paper before adding, perhaps unrealistically that it "would be fantastic, good for London, good for England … a lot better than the Olympics.
"With the way things are, maybe we would front it and put the money up for it. If we got the okay and everything was fine, I think we could do that."
London Mayor Boris Johnson said that he was "broadly positive" about the idea, though needed to see if there is "a really good economic case" for the grand prix.
"I am always interested in projects that attract jobs and bring growth," Johnson is quoted by the Daily Express. "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."
It would take five days to prepare the course for the race weekend and then another three to dismantle it, meaning massive disruption for an already congested city.
But John Rhodes, assistant principal at Populous, who undertook a feasibility study into the plan, said: "Roads in Singapore and Monaco close down for the events and then open again each evening. The route is fairly enclosed so it would not affect London too much."
Any race in London would have to run alongside the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, which has a contract to host the race until 2027.