So the rich and famous were present, as were several F1 drivers, such as Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, as the plans for a London GP was presented last evening in London, at the RAC. But chances are that it will never happen.
The press conference and the ‘breaking news’ from pretty much every single newspaper and online outlet, didn´t really hide the fact that this is another one of Bernie Ecclestone´s attempts to direct your attention to a more interesting subject, then that of the bribery case he is involved in Germany, where German former banker Gerhard Gribkowsky received eight and a half years in jail for tax evasion, bribery and breach of trust. However, Ecclestone´s involvement in the case are still un-known, and it could throw up a few surprises later on.
Having a London GP on paper, looks great. It has that smell of ‘new idea’ to it. Something fresh. First off the idea is at least eight years old and secondly the idea has been popping up from time to time, both in the British newspapers and doing the rounds online here and there. I remember back in 2006, someone was sitting around and had nothing to do, so he called the Danish Automobile Union and asked the very theoretical question: Could Copenhagen host a Grand Prix?
The answer was, of course, yes. So can Teheran, Oslo, Reykjavik, Marokko, Niger and hundreds of cities. Naturally it caused a few weeks of people going overboard in how ‘amazing’ it would be and where should we place the pits and what about those darn oak trees? I fear that some one at Times decided that a London GP will happen, just because Bernie said so, but as Joe Saward will tell you the chances of a London GP are slim to none.
“A Grand Prix on the streets of London makes no sense at all in real terms and the people at The Times simply end up looking foolish for having gone down this path. One can only hope that they did so wittingly, perhaps currying favour with the F1 boss, rather than printing such a load of guff because they actually believe it is possible. If Mr E has convinced them it is real, then good for him, although alarms would have started sounding for me if he had mentioned that the Formula One group might even pay for the event itself,” writes Saward on his popular F1 blog.
There is already a British Grand Prix at Silverstone and as we see Spain admitting that two races per season is too much, the Spanish and the European, they will have to split the duties, so that every second year Catalunya hosts the Spanish GP, and every other second year Valencia will. Also, having a street race in London will look great but there are slight issue of shutting the city center down. London is home to millions of people, the proposed route will shut down vital streets for at least four days, more likely a full week, and the cost of hosting it, despite Bernie´s assurances that he will pay for the whole thing, is just too steep, compared to what can be made.
Finally, look at what happened to New Jersey. First off the United States GP needed a new venue. It was agreed that Austin should host the race, and even before the first excavator started digging, there were rumblings that it would never happen. Then soon after New Jersey came on board and a new street circuit with New York as the back drop was proposed and once again every one went teary-eyed. But recently Ecclestone has said that New Jersey will not happen next year, because there is no way the venue will be ready in time, in fact it is uncertain if it ever will.