28 Jun 2012

London Grand Prix - fantasy or reality?

McLaren, in conjunction with Santander, have released details of the London Grand Prix.  Through subtle placement and marketing they have, over the past few days, created a lot of talk about this to the extend it has been reported as fact by the national newspapers.

In reality it is a blatant marketing exercise.  These images show as much, with the Santander branding all over them.  Santander have wittingly caused a stir amongst F1 journalists, fans and twitterati that has now spread to the non-F1 community.  After all the idea of a London Grand Prix is pretty exciting.  The route takes in such iconic landmarks as Buckingham Palace, The Mall, Piccadilly and Embankment.  But if you were to create a new circuit through the streets of London then why not go straight for the big boys.  In comparison Stratford seems pretty dull.  A video of the circuit hosted by Lewis, Jenson and Speedmonkey's favourite commentary team, Crofty & Martin Brundle, is available on our Facebook page here.

But don't forget that this isn't new.  In 2004 several F1 cars ran round a makeshift circuit in London. Video of F1 cars in London - July 2004.  After that there was talk of an Grand Prix in the capital.  At the time the prospect looked much more likely as Bernie was going through his period of hating Silverstone (well, mainly Jackie Stewart) and threatening to drop the British Grand Prix.  Now, in 2012, Donington has been and gone and Silverstone is locked into a multi-year deal.  We can't have two Grand Prix in Britain can we?

Well actually yes we can and we've already seen several in the past, most famously in 1983 at Donington.  In recent years Spain has hosted two races and before that it was Germany.  So it could happen.

But aside from the logistic issues of shutting down most of central London for 3 days a year, removing all the street furniture and the sheer noise it will generate what'll probably stop this from happening is the price.  It will cost a minimum of £35 million and someone's got to pay.  Boris would love to host the event, as he said today, but he doesn't have a spare £35 million in his budget.  In today's financial climate no-one does so, sadly, it probably isn't going to happen.