• ‘A London Grand Prix would be a wonderful dream’
• Hamilton talks up race as ‘the best thing in the world’
Britain’s most venerated Formula One driver, Sir Stirling Moss, says he has been waiting for more than half a century for a London Grand Prix.
The sport’s chief executive Bernie Ecclestone says he is ready to back a bid to stage a race in London, saying it is the perfect venue for F1.
But Moss said: “When I was racing, they said we’ll have the Hyde Park GP around Hyde Park, which would have been absolutely stunning, and they were going to put the pits where the Serpentine was, but the police turned around and said: ‘I’m sorry, we just couldn’t control the people who’d come along.’
“I’m talking now the mid-1950s, so a long time ago, but it was interesting because it would have made an absolutely stunning circuit and quite honestly there are a lot of other places one could have a circuit without too much disruption other than the amount of traffic which would come along to an event.
“I think it would be tremendous for London and for our sport and it would bring an enormous amount of money in. When you get a whole lot coming in where expense doesn’t really matter, it’s an enormous filler.”
But when asked whether it was a non-starter, Moss added: “I hate saying I think it would be, but in truth if you think about it … I suppose it depends on how much money there is behind it, and how keen the people who want to put it on are. I mean they’re getting the Olympics here, which is going to be absolute chaos, far worse than a Formula One race would be. It’s a wonderful dream.”
But modern British drivers think the idea could get off the ground. Lewis Hamilton, preparing for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone, said: “I was looking over the city and a grand prix here would be the best thing in the world, the biggest event,” he said.
“It would be sensational. They never approach drivers to have any input into the design of circuits, but I would be very, very open to help in any way if they are planning to do it, to give advice on curves and corners and parts we should be going through. It would be insane.
“How many people in London would turn up to this grand prix if you had it in the summer? The turnout would be phenomenal.
“It would be millions. I have always wanted to do a demonstration run here. I have always been surprised we have never done one [in recent times]. We have done demos in Moscow and India and not done one here at home.”
His McLaren team-mate Jenson Button said: “Personally, do I like the idea of having a London Grand Prix? Yes, the more grands prix in the UK the better.
“But I’m not sure where it would be. There was talk of using the Olympic Stadium, which could be quite a lot of fun. I’m not sure you would be able to close down London for a grand prix, but it’s a nice idea.”