London likely? Sadiq Khan to “explore options of F1”

Discussions of a Formula One race on the streets of London look set to intensify after the Mayor of London said that the idea “should be possible”.

As things stand, 2019 will be the final time that the British Grand Prix will be contested at Silverstone after The British Racing Drivers’ Club activated the ‘break clause’ in their contract, despite it running until 2027.

The year-on-year escalator fees were cited as the cause of their decision to activate this break clause back in 2017, something which is effectively a two-year notice period.

With their existing contract signed when Formula One was under the rule of Bernie Ecclestone, these tactics have been deployed as a way of negotiating a better deal with F1’s current owners, Liberty Media.

However, with Liberty looking to include more street races on the calendar, they’ve seen this as an opportunity to scope out a race in London, a venue which has been frequently brought up in recent years.

This keenness is apparently being reciprocated by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who is said to want to explore the idea.

A spokesperson for the mayor’s office said: “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.”

On the run-up to the 2017 British Grand Prix, ‘F1 Live’ was successfully hosted on the streets of London, the biggest demonstration of Formula One outside of a racing venue for some time.

Despite the logistical challenges of an extended weekend of racing, F1 sporting director Ross Brawn told the Evening Standard that these difficulties would be minimised by the race being situated on the outskirts of London.

“I think because F1 is a week-long activity minimum, the disruption it would cause in the centre of London would be unacceptable,” said Brawn.

“I don’t think Londoners really need to worry about us taking over the centre of London for a week.

“But there are things on the periphery that are being explored – not slap-bang in the centre of London but Greater London.”

However, he refused to rule out the possibility of having both venues on the calendar.

“We’d like to see London complement Silverstone, not replace it,” added Brawn. “We could see ways we could make it work both sides.

“London is an iconic city with a massive history in the sport and there’s huge enthusiasm here.”

By: Luke Murphy

All images: Motorsport Images

Do you think Liberty Media should explore London as an option for hosting an F1 race? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.