BRDC wants new F1 deal Lon­don demo wows fans

Auto Express - - Contents - Stephen Er­rity Stephen_er­rity@den­

Bri­tish Grand Prix un­cer­tainty, plus all the lat­est news

THE fu­ture of the Bri­tish Grand Prix is once again up for de­bate af­ter Sil­ver­stone owner the Bri­tish Rac­ing Driv­ers’ Club (BRDC) ac­ti­vated a ‘break clause’ in its cur­rent agree­ment with For­mula One in the lead-up to last week­end’s race. The club says it can’t sus­tain the losses in­curred un­der the cur­rent con­tract, which sees the host­ing fee in­crease by five per cent each year.

It means that only the 2018 and 2019 races at Sil­ver­stone are guar­an­teed for now, but the BRDC added it hoped to ne­go­ti­ate a re­vised deal with F1’s new owner, Lib­erty Me­dia, in or­der to guar­an­tee the race’s long-term fu­ture at the cir­cuit.

Around the same time the BRDC made its an­nounce­ment, a live F1 demon­stra­tion in cen­tral Lon­don or­gan­ised by Lib­erty led to re­newed spec­u­la­tion around the pos­si­bil­ity of a Lon­don Grand Prix. A street race in the cap­i­tal has been sug­gested nu­mer­ous times over the years, but would face sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial and lo­gis­ti­cal ob­sta­cles.

Lon­don mayor Sadiq Khan, who backed the ‘F1 Live In Lon­don’ event, told the BBC: “If F1 want to speak to me I’m keen to lis­ten. My am­bi­tion is for Lon­don to carry on be­ing the sport­ing cap­i­tal of the world. There are some hur­dles to over­come, but I’m cer­tainly in­ter­ested in hav­ing F1 here in the fu­ture.”

Last Wed­nes­day’s demon­stra­tion took in the full F1 grid, in­clud­ing ev­ery driver ex­cept Mercedes’ Lewis Hamil­ton. Mclaren and Re­nault ran his­toric cars in front of fans, while other teams had their driv­ers in more re­cent ma­chin­ery. The car runs up and down White­hall were ac­com­pa­nied by live mu­sic and other ac­tiv­i­ties at an arena in Trafal­gar Square, in­clud­ing an ex­hibit to boost in­ter­est in sci­ence and engi­neer­ing among schoolchildren.

Else­where last week, former Re­nault F1 team boss Frederic Vasseur was con­firmed as the Sauber team prin­ci­pal, while Robert Ku­bica tested once again for Re­nault, run­ning 90 laps at the Paul Ri­card cir­cuit in France as eval­u­a­tion of a po­ten­tial come­back con­tin­ues.

■ CAP­I­TAL AT­TRAC­TION F1 demo thrilled fans, and sparked in­ter­est in a Lon­don Grand Prix

Crowds flocked to White­hall and Trafal­gar Square to watch F1 stars and a range of cars

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