London mayor open to Grand Prix
(CNN) — The Mayor of London Boris Johnson is open to the idea of a Formula One race in Britain’s capital, but has yet to be approached by the sport’s powerbrokers.
Plans have reportedly been formulated to race around iconic venues such as Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square, with the hope it might rival F1′s showpiece grand prix in Monaco.
“London hosts a vast array of world events,” said a spokesman for Johnson.
“The mayor is always keen to explore new opportunities to do so, especially if they will create jobs, bring investment and further London’s lead as a world city but as yet we have not received proposals.”
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While industry insiders are skeptical the race will happen, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone is keen to establish another race in his homeland — in addition to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone which will take place on July 8.
The 2012 world championship calendar is the largest in the sport’s history, with a total of 20 races being held between March and November.
Ecclestone said a London race would give the city a greater boost than the forthcoming Olympic Games, while also suggesting he would put up the necessary funds himself to ensure the grand prix got off the ground.
“With the way things are, maybe we would front it and put the money up for it,” Ecclestone told The Times newspaper. “If we got the OK and everything was fine, I think we could do that.
“Think what it would do for tourism. It would be fantastic, good for London, good for England — a lot better than the Olympics.”
However, the idea is already facing opposition, with British motoring association the AA questioning whether London’s already congested streets could handle an annual influx of F1 teams and fans.
“Tthe havoc you would create by having to shut roads would be interesting to see,” an AA spokesman told CNN.
“We’ve seen the huge fuss that has been created by road closures during the Olympics and that it just once in a lifetime — a London GP would be every year.”
Earlier this year London announced plans to host a one-day professional road race to rival classic events such as the Paris-Roubaix, the Milan-San Remo and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
To be first staged in August 2013, the race will be part of a two-day cycling festival, which will become an annual event, as part of the Olympic legacy .