British Formula One fans have long dreamed of a Grand Prix in London and the prospect moved a step closer Friday when Prime Minister David Cameron announced plans to change the law.
New legislation to be introduced later this year would make it easier for local authorities to hold major motor races on public roads, Cameron said, raising the prospect of high-speed cars careering past Buckingham Palace.
Announcing the change as he opened Formula One team Williams’ new advanced engineering facility, Cameron said it meant “more races, more events, more money coming into our country and more success for this extraordinary industry”.
There has long been discussion about a Monaco-style Grand Prix on the streets of London, and the idea has re-emerged following the success of the first stages of the Tour de France in Britain earlier this month.
A spokesman for Mayor of London Boris Johnson said he was open to the idea, while warning that issues of air quality and noise would have to be addressed.
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said the proposed change in the law was a “good sign, a step in the right direction”.
“It just depends on what we can come up with commercially because how are we going to fund it?” he said.
“The news is good, but I don’t know whether you’d have street racing because it’s not cheap to put on something that’s safe. Street racing is bloody expensive.”
Local authorities must currently apply to parliament to host a road race, a process than can take up to 18 months.
Under the planned changes, this would no longer apply, although they would still have to consult local people.