Friday, 22 June 2012
Nothing new about a London Grand Prix
There’s nothing new about a London Grand Prix. Sunday Magazine in 1981 wasn’t first to suggest it and now, apparently, Bernie is encouraging the idea of one round the Olympic Stadium. Thirty years ago I revived a 1930s proposal. Innes Ireland came to lunch and agreed a Hyde Park Grand Prix course with racing cars tearing down Park Lane at 180mph, braking hard for a sharp right hander at the Hilton, flat-out in fifth past the Serpentine.
Grand Prix cars only had five gears then and were racing round some unlikely places, like the Caesar’s Palace car park, Las Vegas, and street courses in Montreal, Long Beach and Detroit. Lunch with Innes was always entertaining.
Maybe Whitehall, Birdcage Walk and The Mall was a bit ambitious. Hyde Park was probably more practical; Grosvenor House and The Dorchester would have been good viewing points. Decent breakfast and all-day bar. Parliament Square was a product of artist Geoff Hunt’s imagination.
On Wednesday Telegraph Sport revealed that a bid, tabled by Intelligent Transport Solutions Ltd, was among the shortlist of four accepted. According to the formal documentation, it was listed as being “on behalf of Formula One”, though Ecclestone said on Thursday he “had not put his name to it”.
The plan is thought to propose a track running into the stadium and then around the Olympic Park, which has considerable wide-open spaces, though designed for pedestrians rather than F1 cars. Intelligent Transport Solutions Ltd was founded last year, with headquarters listed as Wanstead, east London.
Santander is sponsoring a competition to envisage a London grand prix circuit. Nothing’s new.