How badly does Bernie Ecclestone want to see Formula 1 run on the streets of London? Bad enough to offer up $55 million of his own personal fortune, and bad enough to waive the $25 million sanctioning fee for such an event.
As Autoweek reports, the ever-controversial Ecclestone calls the proposed London Formula 1 race, “fantastic for London, good for England - a lot better than the Olympics.”
While an official announcement on the proposed course will be made in the coming days, a leaked course map shows that the route passes several well-known London landmarks.
The 3.2-mile circuit allegedly has its start / finish line on the Mall by St. James Park and later passes Hyde Park Corner, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the London Eye, Charing Cross Station and Nelson’s Column.
While the cost to stage such a race could easily exceed the $55 million Ecclestone has offered up, the potential for return is enormous. Conservative estimates say a London F1 race could generate $155 million in revenue, but some project the opportunity as two or three times that amount.
The Daily Mail reports that even London’s traffic-hating mayor, Boris Johnson, seems to be on board with a London Grand Prix, as long as questions of air quality and noise impact can be addressed.
Color us cynical, but big money has a way of turning problems like that into minor details.