F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone offers millions to hold London street grand prix

Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button pose with taxi drivers in front London's Tower Bridge. Photo: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

Bernie Ecclestone, the billionaire boss of Formula One, has offered to put millions towards holding a Grand Prix motor race on the streets of London, according to The Times.

Plans for a London Grand Prix are set to be unveiled at the Royal Automobile Club on Pall Mall tonight.

The route, seen by the newspaper, would take in a selection of London's most famous landmarks, including Buckingham Palace and Trafalgar Square.

An LBC mockup shows a track with its start and finish line on The Mall.

“Think what it would do for tourism. It would be fantastic, good for London, good for England - a lot better than the Olympics,” Mr Ecclestone told The Times.

The event would be so popular that it would pay for itself, the billionaire said, offering to stump up an initial £35m of his own cash.

Trafalgar Square seen during this year's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Credit: PA

'It could be one of the best grands prix'

Last week British Formula One stars threw their weight behind the prospect of a grand prix being staged in and around the Olympic Stadium.

You are only going to get positive comments from me when it comes to British grands prix.

– Jenson Button

It could possibly be one of the best grands prix of the whole year, so I'd definitely support it.

– Lewis Hamilton

Among five bids on the table for the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) to mull over is one from Intelligent Transport Solutions Ltd, based at Wanstead in east London.

The company are proposing using the venue for a race, which would naturally become the new European Grand Prix given Silverstone's long-term contract to stage the British Grand Prix.

If successful, it would certainly fulfil Bernie Ecclestone's dream of staging a race in London, just as his aims of holding an event with Manhattan as a backdrop are slowly coming to fruition with next year's planned Grand Prix of America in New Jersey.

McLaren's Jenson Button during the Monaco Grand Prix, which races through the streets of Monte Carlo. Credit: PA