Crowds flocked to London's city centre last night to watch eight Formula One cars roar through the streets. The event was so popular that it had to be cut short due to crowd safety. Numbers attending vary according to reports, but it's thought as ...
Crowds flocked to London's city centre last night to watch eight Formula One cars roar through the streets. The event was so popular that it had to be cut short due to crowd safety. Numbers attending vary according to reports, but it's thought as many as half a million people turned up.
Nigel Mansell, Cristiano da Matta, Luca Baoder, Jenson Button, Zsolt Bumgartner, Juan Pablo Montoya, David Coulthard and Martin Brundle thrilled the crowds from Waterloo, through Regent Street and Marlborough and back again. It's hoped it will become an annual event but it's also given rise to more discussion about hosting the British Grand Prix itself in London.
Mayor of the city, Ken Livingstone, told the BBC: "We started talking to Bernie Ecclestone and his people about a year ago about putting on a proper F1 race. It would probably bring two million people to London and we're really up for it."
There are concerns about the organization of GP in London but Livingstone is sure it could work. "Bear in mind that 85% of the people who come into central London come by public transport," he said. "These things can easily be managed as long as you plan properly, and nobody ever questioned Bernie Ecclestone's planning abilities."
Mansell, who drove the Jordan EJ14 in the parade, agrees that the idea is feasible. "They have the infrastructure here, they have the organisation. It could be absolutely sensational," said the former F1 champion. "Look how quickly it's been put together. I reckon a circuit could be ready within one year."
Silverstone currently hosts the British GP but its future is still uncertain. Talk of London hosting a race is only speculation and there has been opposition to the idea. If it should ever happen, Livingstone thinks it will not be for a couple of years. "Something like this takes a minimum of 18 months' planning, so you're most probably taking two years away."