New Powers could bring ‘motor racing’ to London
The prospect of an F1 Grand Prix on the streets of London has moved a step closer after the coalition announced new powers for local authorities.
Unveiling the step as he opened Williams' new F1 engineering facility in Oxfordshire, David Cameron said it would mean "more races, more events, more money coming into our country. We're going to change the rules so that local councils are able to make the decision so you don't have to have a private member's Bill through Parliament, which we think will be great news for British motor sport. More races, more events, more money coming into our country and more success for this extraordinary industry.” Town halls will be able to sign off major motor races on public roads for the first time, instead of needing to get specific approval from Parliament.
The idea of a Monaco-style Grand Prix on the streets of London has been thought about for some time the F1 team sponsor Santander even producing a video of what it might look like.
The Prime Minister hailed F1 as an "an amazing success story" for the UK, with eight of the eleven teams based here and tens of thousands of people working in the industry. London Mayor Boris Johnson is also in support of the F1 Grand Prix in London, he is already backing the FIA Formula E championship race in Battersea Park next year and thinks Formula 1 itself is a fantastic event that any city would feel privileged to host, he is always interested in projects that attract jobs and bring growth.
A spokesman for the Mayor said "he is positive that London would do a spectacular job of hosting an F1 Grand Prix; but it is impossible to say what the impact might be without detailed planning and research and the question of air quality and noise impact would have to be looked at very carefully."
However, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said the shake-up was a "step in the right direction" but questioned whether a street race in the capital would be financially viable."In the past we spoke to the old mayor and all sorts of people," he said. "It just depends on what we can come up with commercially because how are we going to fund it? The news is good, but I don't know whether you'd have street racing because it's not cheap to put on something that's safe. Street racing is bloody expensive. But if they ever get it together then we'll see what happens. At least it's a good sign, a step in the right direction."