London Grand Prix – A Good Idea?
Prime Minister David Cameron has announced plans to give local authorities the power to stage motor races on public roads.
He outlined his ideas after visiting the Williams F1 engineering centre. It is currently a criminal offence in England, Wales and Scotland to promote our take part in a motor race or trial of speed on a highway or public road without specific legislative approval.
In the past, Parliament has passed legislation, via a Private Member’s Bill, to approve individual races such as the Jim Clark Rally and the Tour of Mull on an event-by-event basis but this process can take 18 months.
The government is now proposing to give local authorities the powers to suspend speed limits and some traffic regulations in certain conditions.
Speaking at the Williams facility in Oxfordshire, Mr Cameron said the move would be “great” for motorsport and would mean “more races, more events and more money coming into our country”.
Andrew Benson, chief F1 write for BBC Sport said: “This decision is not about a potential London Grand Prix, it is about making it easier to hold small-scale local events such as hillclimbs and rallies on closed roads.
It does remove one potential obstacle to a Formula 1 street race in London, but many more remain.
I don’t think a London Grand Prix would ever touch Silverstone which is the cornerstone of British Formula One.
It might be a good idea but Silverstone has a great history behind it but all races have to start somewhere,
Bernie Ecclestone welcomed the announcement as a sign that the government recognised F1 was “not just a motor sport, but was powerful, good for the country and brings in money”.
But he said this did not mean that staging a championship race in London was a given.
“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,” he said.
He said street racing was very expensive, but added: “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.”
Whether it will ever happen remains to be seen and what effect would have on Silverstone if it got the go ahead.