F1 Live Lon­don brought For­mula 1 to the streets of Bri­tain’s cap­i­tal city for a party no one wanted to miss – with one no­table ex­cep­tion…


For­mula 1 ma­chines take to the streets of the cap­i­tal for this very spe­cial fan event

For 13 years Lon­don has been deaf to the sound of For­mula 1, save for oc­ca­sional (and fan­ci­ful) rum­blings about host­ing a grand prix on its streets. But on the eve of the Bri­tish Grand Prix at Sil­ver­stone, the na­tion’s cap­i­tal paused to en­joy the sight, sound and smell of F1 cars for the rst time since Nigel Mansell led an eight­car demo run up Re­gent Street in July 2004.

F1 Live Lon­don ran on a much larger scale, and was an en­cour­ag­ing sign of in­tent from the sport’s new own­ers. Sets by mu­si­cal acts Bastille, Lit­tle Mix and the Kaiser Chiefs within a larger F1 expo in Trafal­gar Square added a fes­ti­val vibe to the on-street ac­tion that was of such scope it was all planned in to­tal se­crecy and an­nounced only 48 hours be­fore­hand. Mind­ful of the po­ten­tial for mis­chief by the kind of peo­ple Don­ald Trump would call “the bad guys”, the Lon­don au­thor­i­ties made it clear that if ad­vance word leaked out, they would pull the plug.

So while some fans were irked by the lack of no­tice and con­se­quently un­able to at­tend, in Trafal­gar Square and White­hall the num­bers built all af­ter­noon, peak­ing at 100,000 (ac­cord­ing to For­mula One Group) as vet­eran racer René Arnoux kicked off the street demo with two laps in the 40-year-old Re­nault RS01, F1’s rst turbo ma­chine. F1 Rac­ing wouldn’t dis­pute that crowd gure, hav­ing had to stake out a van­tage point two hours in ad­vance.

All but one of the cur­rent F1 driv­ers came and per­formed for the crowd. Daniel Ric­cia­rdo thrilled by per­form­ing donuts – de­spite strict in­struc­tions to the con­trary in the driv­ers’ brieng – and Se­bas­tian Vet­tel drew cheers for his spirited at­tempt to ‘drift’ his Fer­rari around the Charles I Statue. And if Lewis Hamil­ton’s ab­sence was felt and com­mented upon by the opin­ionati, he more than made up for it at Sil­ver­stone four days later…

Mayor of Lon­don Sadiq Khan is shown around the Trafal­gar Square expo (right), while F1 fans line the sur­round­ing streets to see their he­roes in ac­tion

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