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London GP a "tall order," says Brown

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London GP a "tall order," says Brown
By:
Jul 26, 2017, 10:10 AM

A British Grand Prix held on the streets of London has been labelled a "tall order" by McLaren chief executive Zak Brown, who believes that Silverstone is the only realistic venue for the race.

An aerial view of F1 Live London
An aerial view of F1 Live London
An F1 Live logo, at the London Formula 1 street demonstration parade
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari
Jonathan Neale, McLaren Managing Director and Zak Brown, McLaren Executive Director
Lance Stroll, Williams
Carlos Sainz Jr., Scuderia Toro Rosso
Lance Stroll, Williams
 Zak Brown, Executive Director, McLaren Technology Group

With the British GP's long-term future in doubt after Silverstone elected to activate a break clause in its contract to end its deal in 2019, speculation has mounted about alternative plans.

And talk of a race in London – either in the Docklands or the Olympic Park – has increased following the successful F1 Live London event that was held on the eve of the British GP.

But Brown is sceptical about the likelihood of finding a way – or backers – to support shutting down London for an entire week so a race could take place.

"People are talking about a London GP, which I think in this particular instance is a tall order – and Silverstone will remain the home of F1 racing in England," Brown explained.

When asked why he felt a London race would be too hard to put on, he said: "I think the infrastructure that would be required to put on a London GP would be unlike any other street race, unless you did it maybe around the Olympic Stadium or Olympic Park – and Silverstone is a great race. I think it is a nice thing to dream about."

Brown recently suggested that the best way forward for the British GP would be for F1's owners Liberty Media to purchase Silverstone so it could become a hub for grand prix racing.

While he thinks that scenario is unlikely, he is still optimistic that a deal will be struck to keep F1 at the venue.

"I think they will sort this out," he said. "In my view they [Liberty] should buy the thing. But it is not up for sale and that is not the only solution.

"If you look around the track and if you sat down and said, 'we have a revenue gap here, so how we can generate more revenue from the British GP?', I think there are ways to do this."

London blueprint

Although Brown is sceptical about a London GP, he does believes that events like F1 Live London are something that can be replicated around the world.

"It was a great event," he said. "There was a huge turnout, and it was great to see almost everyone there.

"I think it is an example of where Liberty have talked about 20 Super Bowls. What the NFL does, they come into the town of the week of the event and they take over the city with fan engagement to a whole new level.

"That is exactly what London was. It is probably not achievable to do that in every market but maybe it could work on a rotational basis."

He added: "Could you still do something impactful if you have five drivers there? I am of the view that when the drivers get their superlicence in the future, that part of the superlicence is that they give x amount of in-market and y amount of out of market appearances to F1 Group.

"F1 can then package up and offer this to promoters and cities, because at the end of the day we all live, we all make a living off the fans.

"Whether we are paid to go to an event or indirectly, the fans fuel this sport and we need to make the necessary investments to make sure the fan base continues to do that."

 

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble