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London Olympic F1 bid still on table

17 July 2012

The legacy left by the London Olympic Games could still include an F1 circuit after the bid turn the Olympic Park into a potential grand prix venue was taken forward to the final consideration stage by the London Legacy Development Corporation.

The bid, tabled by Intelligent Transport Services, calls for a layout to use the roads already incorporated into the park, as well as a section running through the Olympic Stadium itself. The plan [see story here] has apparently been discussed with F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone, who has made no secret of his interest in seeing a race in the British capital, both before and after concluding terms with Silverstone.

“A race in London would be great for the city,” Ecclestone told news outlet Bloomberg, “We've told them it's a good idea and we would be interested.”

While any race through the capital has to be thought unlikely - particularly the 'rival' proposal put forward as a marketing ploy by banking group Santander - ITS' bid will also have to fend off three alternative claims on the stadium and its surrounding area, from the West Ham United and Leyton Orient football clubs and the UCFB College of Football Business. West Ham already thought that they had secured future use of the stadium, only to see a lease deal canned amid legal concerns.

The recently-promoted Premiership club is understood to be seeking sole use of the facility, while Orient has apparently tabled a bid for the two teams to share it. UCFB, meanwhile, would relocate from Burnley FC. Essex County Cricket Club was also thought to have been interested in using the stadium, but has since withdrawn its bid. A decision is not expected on the stadium for several months.

The LLDC says it is possible more than one bidder could be successful, with chairman Daniel Moylan insisting that much deliberation would be made to ensure a fitting legacy for the venue.

“London is further ahead in planning legacy than any previous host Olympic city [but], dspite our success, this is no time to rest on our laurels," he explained, "We have planned a superb Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and we are working to ensure we achieve the right long term future for all our permanent venues.

"This is simply unprecedented in the history of the Games. While there is still a way to go, we should be proud of the achievements so far in planning a new part of London with new homes, jobs and a set of thriving sporting venues for everyone to enjoy.”

The stadium has already been confirmed as the host of the 2017 World Athletics Championships, and will retain the running track installed for the Olympics, which starts later this month.


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