City planners are always claiming that their latest project will put their region back on the map. In most cases, it’s a plan to build a new public swimming pool or erect an arty sculpture to attract tourists.
But now, one fledgling area in the UK is hoping Formula 1 can help cement its spot on the map. It’s a small region in the south of the country, called London. You might have heard of it, but if you haven't, we can forgive you. It's no Baku, after all.
Despite its long-held position as a seat of national government and its place on the list of the world’s largest cities, local councillors in the region are turning to motorsport to raise London’s profile.
By hosting a street race on the city’s roads, local government ministers say Formula 1 could help put London “firmly on the map”.
Forget that there has been a settlement at the site for almost 2,000 years, and the fact that it was first mapped in 1553. That doesn’t matter to these people. Instead, they are worried that London’s international standing could slip if they don’t let race cars drive round the city’s streets for three days.
According to the Daily Mail,
Unmesh Desai, London Assembly member for City and East, said: “It is about opening up east London.
“When Formula 1 and other major events come to east London, it will show that we are now firmly on the map. I am more than hopeful. It will happen.”
If the term “east London” rings a few bells in your head, that might be because a few years ago it hosted a little sporting event called the Olympics.
In addition, the area is where electric racing series Formula E now runs its events in the UK, and runners in the world-famous London Marathon also pass through the region every year.
Greater London is also home to the Arsenal, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham, Tottenham and West Ham United football clubs. Small, local affairs that I'm sure no one outside of England has ever heard of.
But who knows, maybe Formula 1 can succeed where so many other international sports before it have failed.
The rumblings of a new motor race in the UK were first published by the Daily Mail yesterday. The paper reported that the city was “closer than ever to staging a Formula 1 race” after essential funds to build a circuit in east London were secured.
According to the outlet, US investment firm 777 Partners is working with a UK sports group on plans to host a grand prix. The project could also include the development of a sports and entertainment complex at the Royal Docks in the borough of Newham.
The Royal Docks are home to an international exhibition center and London City Airport. Presumably, then, pilots in the area must be hopeful that London’s addition to the map will make landing in the region a whole lot easier.
As well as backing from a US investment firm, the proposals have also garnered excitement from London Mayor Sadiq Khan, and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner.
Horner told London’s Evening Standard newspaper that “it would be a fantastic advert for London and great to see and hear GP cars around the streets.”
Hopefully the plans get the green light and go ahead. Then, this fledgling city can stop losing out on global sporting events to behemoths like Montreal, Baku and Lusail.