Start, Silverstone, 2011

Bid to hold F1 race at London Olympics site

F1 Fanatic round-up

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Start, Silverstone, 2011In the round-up: Kimi Raikkonen admits he is disappointed not to have won a race yet this year.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Bid to bring F1 to Olympic Stadium (The Telegraph)

“Plans for a London Formula One Grand Prix on a track running in and around the Olympic Stadium is among the bids being considered for London 2012?s showpiece arena.”

Alonso and Vettel could co-exist as team-mates, say Ferrari (BBC)

“A source close to Ferrari says Alonso has vetoed the idea of Hamilton joining him at the team but given his approval to Vettel.”

European GP – Conference 1 (FIA)

Lewis Hamilton: “The guys are working as hard as they can and pushing as hard as we can to improve. We?ve not had the same size of upgrades as others potentially have. We?ve not really had an upgrade since Barcelona but we hopefully will have something very soon. […] Probably for the British Grand Prix, I would have thought.”

Ecclestone says “bit stupid” to pay German banker (Reuters)

“[Gribkowsky] was doing the best he could. I was a little bit stupid – normally I would have told him to get lost.”

Bernie Ecclestone says he has ‘nothing to hide’ over bribery claims (The Guardian)

“The poor guy has been banged up for 18 months. He would have said anything to save himself. He was going to be locked up whatever happens.”

Kimi: No rift with Lotus (Sky)

“We’ve been so close to certain results, so certain races have been a bit disappointing, and you are disappointed when you don’t win.”

Schumacher talks down victory chances (Autosport)

“You have probably seen Montreal. We indicated that to be a good circuit for us and it turned out not to be accurate. So it is a question mark what this track [Valencia] will be like.”

Q&A – Force India?s Nico Hulkenberg (F1)

“Not overly happy. In regards of results and the standings I had hoped that the outcome would be better.”

Twenty-three races in 2013 (Joe Saward)

“The word on the street is that the FIA Formula 1 world championship in 2013 could have 23 races.”

European GP – Massa: “Happy to be the eighth winner” (Ferrari)

“If you look at how many things have changed in this year?s races, with strategy and other situations, then many drivers have the chance to win and sure, I put myself in this category.”

Vettel admits Ferrari interest is flattering (Grand Prix)

“I respect Ferrari a lot and I respect Fernando a lot. I see it as a compliment and I’m flattered, obviously.”

Formula One: Get Ready For An 8th Victor in Valencia (Grand Prix)

My latest article for Unibet.

Comment of the day

Jake is pleased to see some better questions in the FIA press conference:

I must say I was impressed with the questions from one Jonathan Legard! Much better than the other football and economy-related questions to which the answers were always going to be standard dullness.

From the forum

Site updates

Apologies for the downtime over the last few hours. This was due to an error which arose during routine maintenance of the site.

Happy birthday!

No F1 Fanatic birthdays today.

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Mike Hawthorn made his first start in a world championship race 60 years ago today in the 1952 Belgian Grand Prix.

Alberto Ascari won the race for Ferrari, Hawthorn fourth.

This was the first of nine consecutive world championship races entered by Ascari which he won – a record (he did not enter the 1953 Indianapolis 500).

Image ?? Lotus F1 Team/LAT

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Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 75 comments on “Bid to hold F1 race at London Olympics site”

    1. Site’s back to normal, Yay!
      Looked a bit freaky an hour or so ago.

      1. It was down for me for a while…. But.,… I made it…. through…. barely…. still breathing…. am going to be….. ok.

    2. A Grand Prix based around the Olympic Park? That would be so cool! Considering how special and awesome the Olympics are, it’d be great to see a new circuit as part of the Olympic legacy in Britain.

      1. Not sure I’m very excited about the prospect of yet another street circuit, especially at the cost of Silverstone. Or maybe they can have the European Grand Prix, just make it 24 then, no biggie, right Mr. Ecclestone?

        1. European GP should be shared by 4-5 countries that are not financially healthy to host a GP every year but would find in feasible holding a race every 4 or 5 years. Bernie would get his 20-30 Million fee while organizers would have 3 or so years to raise funds.

          A clause mandating organizers to prove everything is place a year ahead of the race should be written on the contracts to prevent last minute fiascos guaranteeing enough space for a Plan B to kick in just in time.

          On the Olympics thing? Kill it.

          1. I agree with that almost completely @jcost By the way, belated congratulations on your birthday!

            1. Thank you. It was my mom’s b’day too, her 60th :)

            2. That’s great, hope you had (or have) a great party!

          2. I’m afraid that idea will backfire and then we’d have a race at Francorchamps only once every 5 years. Every other year is bad enough already.

            1. Probability of not having at all at Spa is still high, so every 4 years is better than nothing.

              The real problem lies in money dictating the calendar. Therefore, public funds dependent events in these days of austerity are facing funds drought and Bernie will have no mercy on axing “bankrupt” GPs.

          3. I like that, we could return to old favourites like Imola, and try out different countries or tracks for a one-off GP – I’d love to see a race at Portimao, and if a popular driver emerges they could take a race to his fans.

            Spa could get still get the Euro race in its “year off” – Brands Hatch held GPs for four years running this way, despite having an alternating deal with Silverstone.

            But it’ll never happen – Bernie won’t get his accumulator on the hosting fees from a 7-year contract…

      2. 24 *races*

      3. Got to disagree. The Olympic Park would be an awful place for an F1 race. If you’re going to do it in London, it’s got to take in Regent Street / The Mall . Picadilly Circus kind of areas. Not out in meccano town.

        1. @danbrown180 – I’ve never been to London. I live so far away from London that if I went any further, it wouldn’t be long before I started getting closer to the city. However, I do know that a Grand Prix around Regent Street, the Mall and Picadilly Circus would be a very bad idea because it would involve shutting the centre of the city down for three days. And also because connecting roads would run through residential areas.

          1. The city would grind to a halt. Pretty much every major arterial road and rail station would have to close. Nice to dream though. The circuit I imagine has the start finish straight near Buckingham Palace, travels along and across the Thames, through a tunnel section, it’s like Monaco but with more poverty.

    3. “Plans for a London Formula One Grand Prix on a track running in and around the Olympic Stadium is among the bids being considered for London 2012’s showpiece arena.”

      Coincidentally, wasn’t there a proposal for a circuit around the precinct that was released a few weeks ago?

      1. @prisoner-monkeys McLaren have been doing some PR thing along those lines, I think.

        1. @keithcollantine – I’m sure there was an Australian firm who put an idea forward, but they claimed they weren’t serious about it and had only done it for fun. I tried searching for it, but the search function isn’t working. I just got a blank screen. But I do remember posting about it on another forum, and I have found the link, dated 16 March.

    4. Nico Hulkenberg has really slipped under the radar this year! I can’t remember anything that has something to do with his 2012 season. No idea why that is, but I suppose it must come down to who the TV crews choose to interview and do features on.

      1. @damonsmedley – Force India seems to be going that way this year. There’s a whole lot going on up and down the grid, with a lot of standout drivers in the midfield: Grosjean, Perez, even Maldonado. Force India have just been pretty anonymous, so it’s pretty hard to justify dedicating a lot of time to them when others are making much bigger splashes elsewhere.

    5. “If you look at how many things have changed in this year’s races, with strategy and other situations, then many drivers have the chance to win and sure, I put myself in this category.”

      While I’m a bit skeptical of Massa being the 8th winner, I applaud the confidence coming from the man. That self confidence is exactly what he needs to deliver good results and grab that elusive podium or victory.
      So good on him and I’ll be happy for him to prove me wrong.

    6. Who do you ask when you want to hold a race? I’m thinking of making a bid to have one in my garden, around the bird bath.

      1. Sounds more exciting than Valencia!

    7. So would this be a new European Grand Prix or does Bernie see this as the British Grand Prix venue when Silverstone’s current deal ends. If it were to happen of course.

      1. So would this be a new European Grand Prix

        There’s no word on the future of the European Grand Prix. It could just as easily be called the London Grand Prix, or the Grand Prix of England or the Grand Prix of the United Kingdom. The only names it won’t use are the British Grand Prix, since that is already taken, and the Olympic Grand Prix, since a few years ago, Bernie floated the idea of a one-off Grand Prix in London for 2012 to coincide with the Olympics, but the IOC refused to let it happen.

        or does Bernie see this as the British Grand Prix venue when Silverstone’s current deal ends

        Almost certainly not. Silverstone has a seventeen-year deal, which runs out in 2027. The city is taking bids on what to do with the Olympic Precinct once the Games are over. The proposed Grand Prix would never make the short list of bids if there was a fifteen-year wait between the Games ending and the race beginning.

    8. “The word on the street is that the FIA Formula 1 world championship in 2013 could have 23 races.”

      I was never very good at maths, but even I know how to add numbers up. But no matter which way I cut it – using all the reported races – I can’t get to twenty-three.

      There are currently twenty races on the calendar. Valencia and Barcelona are believed to be sharing the Spanish Grand Prix, with the European Grand Prix being discontinued. That brings it down to nineteen. The addition of New Jersey rounds things back up to twenty.

      A return to Argentina has been reported, and even though things have gone very quiet, the president believes the race is on. So Argentina makes twenty-one. And the Mexicans want to revive their race at Hermanos Rodriguez, which brings us up to twenty-two. So far, so good.

      France is the third country that wants to return to Formula 1. But the problem is that they are widely reported as wanting to alternate with someone, most likely Spa. if that is the case, the calendar stabilises at twenty-two. Try as I might, I can’t figure out where that twenty-third race might be.

      There are, however, a few possibilities:

      1) France comes to a yearly arrangement with Bernie. The government wants the race at Magny-Cours; Bernie wants it anywhere but there. It’s possible that they have come to a deal where the race is shared between M-C and Paul Ricard.

      2) Russia joins the party a year early. The Sochi circuit won’t be ready in time, but they could possibly hold a one-off event at the Moscow Raceway – particularly if they feel the calendar sitaution is unsteady, and they want to get their foot in the door. I haven’t heard anything to back this up.

      3) The aforementioned London Grand Prix bid comes good, with the circuit around the Olympic Precinct. The catch is that construction could only begin after the Games are over, and that is going to be asking a lot of the organisers to get a circuit ready in the space of a year (since a winter race is out of the question). All of it would depend on the city agreeing to it, too.

      4) Thailand has expressed interest in a race from 2014, though they haven’t given any more details other than a willingness to consider a night race if it would help them get a Grand Prix. It is conceivable that they could hold a race on a street circuit, but again, time limits are tight.

      5) The South Africans also want back in, and there has been a proposal for a race around the Green Point Stadium in Cape Town. It was unpopular and chicaney, and the general consensus is that South Africa is in no condition to have a race, but I suppose anything is possible.

      6) Hugo Chavez expressed an interest in having a Venezuelan Grand Prix on the Isla Margarita back in 2009, when Argentina first piped up about having a race. Since Argentina is talking about it again, Chavez might be amenable to the idea, though he’s not exactly a picture of health right now, so I consider this to be the least-likely scenario.

      Most of these are unlikely, but there is one caveat that makes everything very, very possible – everyone who has had talks with Bernie has simply said that they have “had talks”. They haven’t gone into any detail about the extent of those talks. It is conceivable that Bernie asked them to keep quiet because he wants to expand the calendar out to twenty-three races, and announcing three brand-new races at once would be a major step foward for the sport. So it’s possible that they already have contracts in hand, but have been asked not to say anything about it.

      1. Maybe the French and Belgian GP start alternating from 2014 onward, so that in 2013 there’s Spa and Paul Ricard?

      2. @prisoner-monkeys Will the US GP be alternated between Texas and New Jersey? If not, there’s your 23rd round.

        1. @timi – No, they won’t be rotated. Austin is one of the twenty races currently on the calendar. Taking away Europe makes nineteen, adding New Jersey brings it back up to 20.

      3. Assuming that there are a potential 23 circuits able to hold a Grand Prix in 2013 it still doesn’t seem that feasible to me.

        This year there are due to be 20 races, the most ever in a F1 season, to suddenly go to 23 races next season seems a big increase in one year.

        The teams have been saying for a while that they are nearing the maximum number of races, and that any more races would require more staff as the mechanics etc couldn’t be expected to attend every race. Even though the teams would receive extra money for the extra races increasing staffing levels doesn’t sit well with the renewed talk of cost cutting in F1.

        On a personal level I am not sure if I would want more races, you can have too much of a good thing.

        During a normal race weekend I would watch FP3 and qualifying which would take up most of Saturday morning and half the afternoon, and than on Sunday there is the race of course which takes up all the afternoon.

        So the whole weekend is usually written off if I wanted to do anything else substantial such as days out. Of course with the BBC only showing half the races live it does free up a lot of time for me.

        Even though we are F1 Fanatics we will all have other interests in life, and if the number of races keep on increasing there will come a point where we have to decide whether to not watch some races live or miss out on other areas, and for people with families there is only likely to be one winner there

        1. and for people with families there is only likely to be one winner there

          the divorce attorney @pja?

        2. If it’s not feasible, then that lack of feasibility will quickly show itself when the season is run.

      4. I guess we should see this more in the light of giving Bernie the option to put 23 races on the calendar than really having 23 already in 2013 @prisoner-monkeys (although it might be realistic in 2014).

        In the list of potential races, don’t forget about the rumours for a 3rd US race somewhere vague :-)

        1. @bascb – I have heard (from the same “source”, Saward) that the new Concorde will allow for 20 races with a provision for up to 4 more if the teams agree to it.

          As for the rumours of a return to Long Beach, I haven’t forgotten them – but I doubt it will happen until 2014. Austin and New Jersey would have to be run before a third race Stateside could be considered.

          1. As far as I understood the same article, it says 20+3 for the new Concorde agreement (instead of 17+3 now) no 24. But I see we agree that its unlikely that the 2013 calendar will have that many races on it, even if its “allowed” for in the commerical agreements.

      5. I think the suggestion of the possibility of 23 races has more to do with showing potential investors in F1 that there is an increasing revenue stream available in the near future.
        Perhaps this story would have emerged earlier if the intended flotation in Singapore had gone ahead (to improve the initial price), or perhaps the story is surfacing now to try to justify the intended launch price.

      6. Or, it’s just an empty threat. The teams adamantly don’t want any more races–so Ecclestone threatens them with three more, and lets them negotiate him down to the 21 or 22 he’s already got planned.

        1. That sounds more in keeping with Bernie’s Machiavellian ways. But whoever hosts the extra races, please don’t let them hire Tilke to design tracks

    9. Massa: “Happy to be the eighth winner”

      I don’t believe that could happen until I’ve seen a performance by the Pig Aerobatic Display Team.

      1. @robk23 – Back in the 1980s, Toyota used to rally an early, early version of the Celica, the Celica TCT (or Twin Cam Turbo). It had a lot of success in the Safari Rally – three consecutive victories in the hands of Bjorn Waldegard and Juha Kankkunen – and it was affectionally dubbed the “Whistling Pig” because the sound of the turbocharger.

        You can probably guess where this is going by now – have you seen any Toyotas do aeronautical acrobatics of late?

    10. oooh, my first COTD. This is a big moment for me :) thankyou! :P

      1. Congatulations on it.

      2. @jleigh Welcome to the club! What questions was he asking?

    11. Yes yes yes yes yes! A London Grand Prix would be absolutely awesome! I wouldnt care how expensive the tickets would be, Im IN.

      Though I’m guesing that there arent really any gradient changes in the olympic park, might be not as much fun for the drivers ( I certainly won’t enjoy it too much on the F1 game haha)

    12. As a Londoner, a track in the Olympic Village (or close to it) would be an interesting prospect, however, I fear it would end up being much like abu dhabi,- looks great, pretty average track.

      I would love 23 races on the calendar. Sure, it would make it harder on the teams, but F1 is all about time restraints and serious pressure. The irony of 23 races compared to the 20 now is the increase in travel costs, and travel emissions. The move to 1.6T for “green reasons” looks more and more laughable each day. It really irks me.

      On another note, the quote from Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ conference is intriguing. A lot of people and reporters have said for a while that Mclaren have one of the fastest mid-season development races, but Lewis seems to state the upgrades are coming at a slower pace than that of their rivals. Hmm, interesting stuff.

    13. At nearly seven kilometres, it’s probably a little long – though it’s six hundred metres inside the maximum allowable circuit length under FIA guidelines – but here is my proposal for a London Grand Prix using the Olympic Precinct. Besides, we need more long circuits. These days, they’re all five and a half kilometres.

      1. And here is a slightly shorter alternative route.

        I know. I just can’t help myself. I have to draw circuit plans.

      2. Love doing it myself as well. Here‘s my first attempt.

        I tried to make it as fast as possible, while using the many bridges for esthetic reasons and a passage through the stadium for ticket sales.

        I hate the idea though, this is just not a good spot for a race.

        1. I hate the idea though, this is just not a good spot for a race.

          I certainly think there is potential, and I like to think that we’ve demonstrated it here. But we’re seriously limited by out-dated satellite photos, so we don’t really know what is possible.

          Here’s another seven-kilometre circuit, using nearby roads in addition to the Park.

          1. And here’s a five-kilometre variant on the above.

          2. Yeah, you really need to see the site in person for this sort of thing. I tried finding some detailed pictures on Google Earth and I saw those bridges around the stadium have a wooden surface. Doubt the FIA would allow that lol.

            I’m afraid any layout that is fast enough will be too unsafe and any layout that is safe enough will be too boring. Besides, there already will be a race in an Olympic park, do the English really want to rip off the Russians and do a poorer job at it?

            1. You couldn’t run it through the stadium unless there was a corer there- nobodies going to pay to see a tiny bit of straight and nothing else.

            2. How practical would it be to have the track run through the stadium, as @matt90 mentioned it will have plenty of space for fans but would there be the demand to fill the stadium if that section of the circuit wasn’t that great.

              But the problem I first thought of was building the circuit in the stadium itself. I suppose you could manage to make structural alterations to allow the track to enter and exit the stadium.

              Whatever happens to the stadium it is supposed to still be used for athletics and it is also probable that a football team will be a tenant, so any circuit would obviously be temporary.

              I know places Wembley Stadium have had temporary tracks when hosting the Race of Champions but are these up to the same standard the FIA would demand for a Grand Prix and if not how much harder would it be to achieve that level when they would only have a few weeks to build the track every year.

            3. @matt90 Maybe the pits can be put inside the stadium, with open pit boxes. Doubt it’s practical, but wouldn’t you want to pay for that seat? :D

            4. Nah, I still wouldn’t pay for just watching pitstops and no racing. Admittedly that means you would have the startline there too, but that still wouldn’t be enough for me unless seats were dirt-cheap and I couldn’t afford a real seat outside the stadium.

      3. This is this kind of circuit in London I’d like to see. The roads are mostly wide enough to pull it off, of course it would grid lock the city for weeks so would never happen,-0.127287&spn=0.041886,0.111494

        1. To be honest, that looks horrible. It’s like you’ve based the circuit on all the “iconic” London roads, and then tried to connect them together. The end result is that it looks pretty bland. You might as well have run it around Buckingham Palace and made it a figure-of-eight for good measure.

          1. @prisoner-monkeys You really have a fetish for figure-of-eights, don’t you?

            1. Fetish?

              No. But it’s a thing.

          2. I think you’re completely wrong.

        1. Brilliant!

        2. I could watch that from where I’m sat right now :)

        3. That’s even worse! You couldn’t have run it past more NIMBYs if you tried to!

          1. It wasn’t meant to be practical, I know a central London GP is a flawed idea. I just think the roads naturally make a fairly nice course. If we were going into practical issues then the bridge section wouldn’t be possible because whichever way it runs you come to a corner where the run-off is either water or a building.

            1. Plus I was basing it on the idea that the article said that a Hyde Park GP was considered once.

    14. While the odd street circuit is good, I don’t think I’d like to see F1 go the way of IndyCar and see a calendar made up of 50% street circuits. America has so many brilliant and underused ‘road courses’, that It would be silly for F1 to adopt the same ethos worldwide.

    15. Autosport has elabotared on the proposal to hold a race around the Olympic Park, and has named the other bidders as West Ham and Leyton Orient FC, and the University of East London.

      I see no reason why three bids can’t be accepted. West Ham or Leyton Orient could use the stadium as their home field. The university could use the other facilities for whatever they itnend to use them for (there are no details). And the race could be run around it on the one Grand Prix weekend of the year.

      Everyone wins.

      Except for the football club that loses the bid (I’m guessing Leyton Orient, since they’re in the third division whereas West Ham are in second division).

    16. Of all the various proposed new locations for a Grand Prix, and there seems to be rumours of a new one every month or so, to me this seems the most unlikely to happen.

      I am sure Ecclestone wouldn’t mind it, as long as they paid him enough money, as he has said in the past he would like a London GP, the main appeal seeming to be a race in a major iconic city rather than what any proposed circuit would be like.

      But I don’t see the bid to being accepted by the legacy committee and even if it did get that far there are plenty of other potential locations ahead of it in the queue to host a race.

    17. having a grand prix in London would be soooo cool but i cant help thinking it wont happen. there are alot of countrys which probably have a better chance of holding a race. however i hope it happens and anyone who wouldnt want it is strange haha!!

    18. It would look spectacular in london but we are getting a saturation of street races or grand prix tracks that are poor tracks, we need to keep the classics like silverstone, spa and suzuka.

      As for the 23 races would be tough on the teams but if they are good tracks and add something different to the calendar i wont complain.

      1. It would look spectacular in London proper, but I don’t think that’s the case if it’s in the Olympic park.

    19. Sounds pretty sensible from Mercedes/Schumacher regarding their prospects in Valencia. I was thoroughly disappointed by them in Montreal, such a shame! They just seem to have gone really quiet recently and all we hear is about Schumacher’s hurrendous luck. Hopefully (touch wood) it will improve this weekend.

    20. Here is a concept video that was made in 2011 –
      A look into what is could look like is also here

    Comments are closed.