After all the recent fanfare, most of F1’s seasoned regulars at Silverstone merely raised their eyebrows when someone mentioned the London grand prix.
In fact, the raucous speculation has became only a muted buzz as experts agree it was all just a PR stunt. Any attempt to get at the real possibility of the bustling British capital closing down its streets for F1 came to a dead-end.
David Coulthard wrote in the Telegraph: “I learnt that it would require an act of parliament for it to happen as it would require a change to the law on speed limits. It’s not as easy as the mayor giving it the green light,” said the former McLaren and Red Bull driver.
And F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, accused by some of skilfully planting a diversion amid the Gribkowsky corruption affair, told the Daily Mail that one of the plans – involving the Olympic stadium – “looks a bit complicated”.
“Then this other thing came up, which was a Santander publicity stunt,” he said. “They showed me their idea two or three months ago and said ‘It looks good. It looks exciting. It’s good publicity for the British grand prix and Santander’.
“I said ‘You’re bloody right it is’,” Ecclestone told the newspaper. “And before I knew it I was apparently the one who was behind it. I didn’t know about it to be honest, but I accepted the credit.”
Ecclestone confirmed that he is still prepared to put in 35 million pounds to “make it happen”, but he doesn’t really rate the chances.
“I will try to resurrect what we originally discussed with the sports minister and the old mayor – er, what’s his name, Mr Ken Livingstone – some years ago. I will try to get that back on track,” he added.