I read that the plans for a London Grand Prix are “no joke”. OK, that’s fine.
But here is my question: who is going to pay?
Who is going to pay for the preparation for a Grand Prix? In order to get the roads prepared for a Grand Prix there would be vast amounts of remodelling necessary. The roads mentioned are old and have crowns on them. They would all have to be ripped up and relaid to be flat enough for Formula 1 cars to race on. There would then have to be escape roads and run-off areas and other F1-related paraphernalia which require hardtop surfaces. Thus, if a race were to happen there would still be a significant change in the personality of the route, even with all the F1 furniture removed. I am told by people who know that all of this work would cost in the region of £200 million. It would cause considerable traffic disruption and even if it was achieved there would be plenty of potential for legal action against the promoter for loss of revenue for the businesses that overlook the circuit.
The government are not going to pay. They refuse to pay for Silverstone which has a contract for the British Grand Prix until 2027. London has no money to burn thanks to the Olympic Games and, judging by the scale of the spending on that, London will not have money to spend for many years to come. If money was available, the taxpayers would have a string of suggestions about what it would best be spent on, rather than a once-a-year motor race.
That is one thing. There are others. Who is going to pay for the annual build and dismantling costs of a race on the streets of London. In Melbourne this costs tens of millions each year and the disruption causes some annoyance. In that case the track is largely enclosed in a park so disruption is kept to a minimum, imagine the mess that London would be in. Singapore has similar problems and they have even considered laying out a new course in parkland, not far from the current venue, but somewhere where the disruption will be kept to a minimum.
Finally, who is going to pay the annual fees to get the F1 teams to attend the race? The idea that Formula One will foot the bill is very unlikely. They charge everyone for everything and are not best known for their charity work. If they were, then private equity hawks would not be interested. These people are in it for the money. Solely for the money.