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London GP ‘is off’ says Ecclestone
Bernie Ecclestone has admitted a London GP is unlikely to take place because the UK government doesn’t have the cash to support the race.
“I don’t think the government would be prepared to put the required amount of money behind it,” Ecclestone told City AM.
Despite offering to fund the race himself with a £35m pledge, Ecclestone revealed the cost of preparing the roads and infrastructure would be down to the government and local council – which, in a worst-case scenario, could cost more than £30m a year.
The cost of this could top £300m over a potential 10-year race contract; even so, argued Ecclestone, this is still a fraction of the £10bn cost of hosting the Olympics. “And you are going to get good coverage for 10 years.
“When you think really and truly, the F1 industry is British. We have won more world championships [than the foreign teams] and it is not government supported at all.”
The London GP concept was launched back in July, in a lavish presentation at the RAC in Pall Mall. The course, which wound past Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square, was apparently designed with input from Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.
Ecclestone has long been keen on the idea of a London GP, which he argues could rival Monaco and may attract 120,000 spectators a year. It could bring in £100m in revenue too, far offsetting the cost of setting it up.
Even so, the legendary F1 promoter now seems resigned to the fact a London GP may never get off the ground. “I don’t think anybody [else] is serious about a grand prix in London.”
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