By Mark Hanrahan
LONDON (Reuters) – With the U.K.’s Silverstone racetrack exercising a break clause in its contract to host the British Grand Prix, a Formula One event that saw cars race through the capital’s streets revived the prospect of a long-touted London race becoming a reality.
F1 boss Chase Carey told Reuters that Liberty Media were interested in bringing Formula One to more city-based street races, an idea that piqued the interest of some of the sport’s top drivers and even London’s Mayor.
“Why not? four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel told Reuters, of the idea of a London street race. “I don’t know if it’s possible to shut down a city for an entire weekend, like London. We do it in other places so it’s not impossible.”
Britain’s Jenson Button, the 2009 Formula One world champion echoed the sentiment, saying: “It could be a lot of fun, especially for the fans,” while Williams driver Felipe Massa added: “Why not a race here in London? It would be fantastic!”
London Mayor Sadiq Kahn told Reuters that while there would be hurdles to overcome, he would be “happy to listen” to Formula One bosses if they proposed bringing a race to the city.
Meanwhile, Carey expressed frustration with Silverstone’s decision to call the race’s future into question.
“That they (Silverstone) chose a week when both we and Silverstone should be celebrating the sport, to decide they’re going to use it for posturing and to negotiate, but so be it”, he said.
Carey and the drivers were speaking at the F1 Live event in London, which saw classic and modern Formula One cars roar down Whitehall in front of cheering fans.
The 2017 British Grand Prix takes place this weekend.
(Reporting by Mark Hanrahan; editing by ken Ferris)