London Grand Prix hopes raised as Formula One plans show on capital's streets this year

 
Frank Dalleres
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Red Bull F1 Pit Stop
Westminster council has held talks with F1 chiefs about hosting a parade of cars later this year (Source: Getty)

Plans for a grand prix through the streets of London have been given fresh impetus following talks between Formula One chiefs and local government officials.

Discussions have taken place over the possibility of a parade of F1 cars through central London in the days preceding the British Grand Prix in July.

It comes just a month after a ban was lifted on the staging of motorsport events on England’s public highways.

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The current proposals are for an exhibition event on the Wednesday before the British Grand Prix which would serve to publicise the race at Silverstone on Sunday 12 July.

British former world champions Nigel Mansell, David Coulthard and Jenson Button took part in a similar showcase in 2004, when half a million spectators turned out to watch them drive around the West End.

A race past some of London’s most iconic landmarks is not on the table yet, but the plans represent the biggest boost yet to hopes of realising a vision advanced by former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

“Officers from the Greater London Authority and Westminster City Council have met with event organisers about a potential showcase event in central London, not a race,” said a Westminster spokesperson. “Discussions are at a very early stage and as such nothing has been agreed.”

GBR: Regent Street Formula One Parade
F1 stars such as Nigel Mansell took part in a similar display in 2004 (Source: Getty)

Red tape and costs have been major obstacles to previous talk of a London Grand Prix similar in style to that held on the streets of Monaco, but last month’s rule change has cleared the former barrier.

The Department for Transport said it could mean “small races hosted by local communities, bigger European rallies or even a future Monaco-style grand prix in an English city”.

Read more: Button cheered by boost to plan for central London grand prix

F1 chairman Chase Carey has enthused about the prospect of further urban grands prix, adding that London was “a great city” and one of “the cities you want to be in”.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is believed to be cool on the prospect of an F1 grand prix on the capital’s streets, due to the cars’ environmental impact, but has encouraged the possibility of hosting the greener Formula E series.

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