Horner: Liberty Media desires London street race

Mat Coch

Thursday 5th July, 2018 - 8:14am

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Daniel Ricciardo on the streets of London

Formula 1 owners Liberty Media has desires to host a Grand Prix around the streets of London according to Red Bull team boss Christian Horner.

The future of the British Grand Prix is currently under a cloud after oraganisers of the event at Silverstone, the British Racing Drivers’ Club, activated a break clause in its contract with F1.

It potentially makes next year’s event the last to be held at Silverstone, unless a new deal can be struck to keep the race at the Northamptonshire venue.

However, the former World War 2 airfield isn’t the only possible venue, with Liberty Media keen on a race in the British capital.

“I think there’s a desire within Liberty to see a street race in London,” said Horner.

“In an ideal world we’d be fortunate enough to have both, to retain the British Grand Prix at Silverstone and to have a street race in London, but obviously competition on the calendar is extreme.

“It’s difficult to see two British Grands Prix.

“I think from a historical and personal point of view, Silverstone is the natural home of the British Grand Prix,” he added.

“It would be great to complement it with another race, even if it wasn’t a permanent fixture on the calendar.

“To have a one-off race in London would be phenomenal, but Formula 1 is going through changing times.

“There’s so much competition for places on the calendar now that Silverstone is now starting to move with the times.”

The BRDC elected to take up the break clause in its contract with F1 after it incurred increasing losses following the 2015 and 2016 events.

With an escalator built into the contract, those losses would have increased every year until the end of the deal in 2026.

Though no replacement deal has been struck, Silverstone and Liberty are reportedly now working together in an effort to provide an improved event.

“Silverstone is the home of British motorsport, it’s a great track,” Horner said.

“Access to the circuit now is extremely good, and the amount of British fans that are coming to see the British Grand Prix, I think we’ve got another sell-out crowd this weekend.

“I think it appears that the BRDC and Liberty are now working closer together and are talking more positively about engagement with the fans and what they can do to put on a better activation with Formula 1.”

Despite that, Horner suggests a race in London is a realistic prospect, and even suggested the event could rotate through various European cities annually.

“As we’ve seen with their discussions with Miami, they (Liberty Media) are potentially looking at different kinds of models and markets,” Horner explained.

“Why not have a race in London one year, a race in Paris another year.

“You could come up with some great venues.

“Taking Formula 1 to the people as well, it’s proved to be extremely popular and some of the best races we’ve had on the calendar are street races.

“I think something like that, if the economics worked on it for Liberty, would be fantastic.”

London hosted an F1 Live demonstration event in the lead-up to last year’s British Grand Prix, though has never hosted a race.

Britain welcomed Formula 1 twice during the 1993 season, when Silverstone hosted the British Grand Prix and Donington Park the European Grand Prix.

The Donington event, held in miserable changing conditions, was won by Ayrton Senna, who moved from fifth to first in what has been described as the greatest opening lap in F1 history.

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