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Plans for a Formula 1 race on the streets of London became more serious on Thursday evening as a press conference was held at the headquarters of the Royal Automobile Club (RAC). A host of celebrities were in attendance as well as McLaren's Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton, who shared their support.
Talk of a London Grand Prix was first evident in 2004, when F1 staged an event which saw the likes of Nigel Mansell and David Coulthard zooming up Regent Street. Earlier this month, a PR company based in the capital proposed an idea to Bernie Ecclestone which would have seen the cars racing through and around the new Olympic Stadium. Ecclestone, CEO of the Formula One Group, has now suggested funding a race in the city centre, knowing that it would easily make huge profits.
The race would take in sights such as Buckingham Palace and Big Ben and is being heavily supported by McLaren team sponsor Santander.
“Some countries, like Spain and Germany, have two races and you could say that the UK makes an enormous contribution to F1,” 2008 World Champion Hamilton commented. “Silverstone is a giant circuit and is more than my home race – it’s a real racer’s track. But the idea of London just presents a completely different possibility and it would be great to reward our fans with two home races.”
As Silverstone now holds a multi-year contract for the British Grand Prix, it is possible that a race in London could take place under the European Grand Prix banner; this is currently held by Valencia, but the city is likely to start sharing the Spanish Grand Prix title with Barcelona as they alternate races from next season. Great Britain last hosted the European Grand Prix in 1993, when Ayrton Senna famously won in the rain at Donington Park.
- Photos: Button and Hamilton drive circuit on simulator
- Video: Santander's promo for a London Grand Prix
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