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F1: 4 Reasons why the London Grand Prix isn't a bright idea

A Grand Prix on the streets of London has been long in the pipeline for Liberty Media
A Grand Prix on the streets of London has been long in the pipeline for Liberty Media
rehaan díaz

You know it is off-season when the rumours of London Grand Prix begin to swirl around. Liberty Media is reportedly actively pushing to include a street race in London.

This eventuality might just come to pass at the cost of the vintage track of Silverstone whose deal runs out in 2019 after the circuit's owners activated a break clause. Originally, the deal was until 2026, but the escalating costs have thrown a spanner in the works.

Red Bull team principal and Brit Christian Horner hopes the circuit that hosted the F1 World Championship's first ever race back in 1950 will continue being on the F1 calendar.

"I think that there's a desire within Liberty to see a street race in London and in an ideal world we'd be fortunate enough to have both – to retain the British Grand Prix and Silverstone and to have a street race in London. But obviously competition on the calendar is extreme. It's difficult to see two British Grands Prix."
Liberty Media is extremely keen on a street race in London, even at the cost of Silverstone
Liberty Media is extremely keen on a street race in London, even at the cost of Silverstone

Here are 4 reasons why a London Grand Prix might not be a bright idea


# 4 Yet another street race is really not needed

Liberty Media chief Chase Carey might be of the opinion that street races are the more successful in crowd involvement and fan activations, but there are enough street races already - Singapore, Baku, Monaco and the new one on the block - Hanoi, Vietnam. Moreover, a second race in the US is imminent.

That would also mostly be a street circuit in Las Vegas surrounding the casinos. While Singapore brings the blitz of the night race and Monaco prestige and history, London really doesn't have a USP for a street race.

While a longer calendar is inevitable, losing a classic track to an experimental street circuit would be risking losing a lot of long-time fans, who are unhappy with a bloated calendar taking the sheen off the racing weekends.

#3 Silverstone is a great venue already

Silverstone routinely draws crowds on the plus side of 120,000 every year
Silverstone routinely draws crowds on the plus side of 120,000 every year

F1 sporting director Ross Brawn said that a race in London's outskirts and not the city centre is a more viable proposal:

"I think because F1 is a week-long activity minimum, the disruption it would cause in the centre of London would be unacceptable. But there are things on the periphery that are being explored - not slap-bang in the centre of London but Greater London."

While Brawn is making a lot of sense, but it should not be forgotten that Silverstone still is a great venue. It makes sense logistically; being at close quarters to a lot of team's bases like McLaren, Williams, Red Bull and Mercedes.

It is always brimming with fans, tickets are always in demand and put on a great weekend of racing and entertainment every year.

To chuck all of that because of a financial skirmish that can be worked out is a shame. Losing Silverstone should be avoided as much as possible.

#2 Better race circuits in Britain exist

Brand Hatch's first turn is the instantly recognisable Paddock Hill Bend
Brand Hatch's first turn is the instantly recognisable Paddock Hill Bend

Brands Hatch. Donington Park. Rockingham Motor Speedway. There are F1 ready circuits in Britain and they come with a racing pedigree.

Even if Silverstone ends up on the chopping block, one of these tracks can readily take the place. While London is a world-class city with a possible track that will have iconic monuments like Trafalgar Square, it will be a project borne out of haste.

Rockingham has excellent views for fans because nearly all of the circuit is visible from the grandstands. It would need redesigning before an F1 race can take place though.

Donington and Brands Hatch are not currently up to modern F1 standards, but Liberty has done a great job in reviving the Méxican Grand Prix, so it can be done.

All it needs is minor tweaking rather than major infrastructural upgrades. Better race circuits exist if only Liberty Media looked with an open mind.

#1 London doesn't gain anything from it

A Formula 1 promotional event on the streets of London
A Formula 1 promotional event on the streets of London

A statement by the spokesperson from London Mayor Sadiq Khan's office gives the impression that an event is possible.

London is always open to hosting the world's biggest and best sport events - from the final of UEFA Euro 2020 to the NFL, and the Cricket World Cup to Major League Baseball. The Mayor believes that it should be possible to organise a race in London in the future and has asked his team to explore options with F1.

But this is exactly why London doesn't need F1 and won't stand to gain anything substantial from a Grand Prix.

As it is, during the summer a host of sporting events are happening in London - most notably Wimbledon which invariably clashes with the racing weekend.

Even Formula E, which has held races in London has only used a circuit built within Battersea Park. F1 cars are much faster and them trundling at sub-par pace is not a great spectacle for the sport.

Edited by Alan John

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