British Grand Prix sponsor Santander has released a special concept film to show how an F1 race on the streets of London could appear.
With the capital being under the sporting microscope this year thanks to the 2012 Olympic Games, Santander took the opportunity to carry out a feasibility study alongside architects Populous – the company behind the extensions made to Silverstone – into how an F1 race could be run on the city streets.
With Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button then called upon to provide insight from a drivers point of view, a 5.156km, 14 turn circuit was created that includes a start-finish line on The Mall and that would race past iconic landmarks such as Buckingham Palace, Admirality Arch and Trafalgar Square.
A special CGI film showing the London GP layout has now been released, giving fans the chance to experience the layout from behind the wheel of the McLaren MP4-27 as raced by Hamilton and Button this season.
“Having been immersed in this project, having helped to shape this track, it feels as real to me as anywhere I've raced,” Hamilton said. “Jenson and I have worked in the simulator to provide some useful feedback to inform the circuit design, so this is far more than whimsical thinking out loud.
“The film that encapsulates all of this work is massively detailed as well as logistically achievable. I have to say, this is an utterly epic track and would produce the most stunning and compelling Formula 1 race. If you add an event of this complexion to London's staggering roster of world-class sporting events, it surely would have to own the title of the ultimate sporting metropolis.”
Button meanwhile insisted that the virtual circuit would be a worthy addition to the F1 schedule if it were ever to become reality.
“Both Lewis and I are hugely conscious of how integral the UK is to Formula 1, right the way from our fan base that is highly knowledgeable and engaged to the technology culture and engineering enterprise that makes us the pre-eminent source of racing innovation anywhere on the planet,” he said. “With all of this background, Silverstone is a natural celebration of the UK's contribution to Formula 1. It is nice to add to this rich tapestry the notion of a London street-race, and I agree with Lewis, it is a great hypothetical track to drive, and is as appealing as the reality of the Silverstone circuit.”
In order to try and made the proposed layout as credible as possible, Populous was asked undertake an extensive and wide-ranging approach to its feasibility plan for a London Grand Prix – going far beyond the actual circuit layout itself.