London Grand Prix high-speed circuit plans


Plan for F1 race in London proposed Image: dar and LDN

A plan for Formula 1 to stage a London Grand Prix (UK) in the East of the capital has been pitched alongside a major redevelopment plan.

‘Independent’ stated that the prospect of rejuvenating an area around London Docklands – with a high-speed circuit compared to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal (Canada) – has been proposed by environmental group LDN Collective and consultancy firm DAR.

London-based Formula One is the highest class of international racing for open-wheel single-seater formula racing cars sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile. The FIA Formula One World Championship has been one of the premier forms of racing around the world since its inaugural season in 1950.

The 100,000-capacity Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, also spelled Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve, is a 4.361 km (2.710 mi) motor racing circuit in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. It is the venue for the FIA Formula One Canadian Grand Prix.

The Canadian Grand Prix is an annual motor racing event held since 1961. It has been part of the Formula One World Championship since 1967.

London (UK)-based LDN Collective is a virtual network of built environment experts and creatives fighting hard to improve people’s lives and the planet’s prospects. Its members are world-renowned experts in social impact, zero carbon and modern methods of construction as well as architects, engineers, graphic designers, and film-makers. As a diverse and eclectic group we are bound by a set of values and a cost-effective business model.

DAR Consulting Engineers is an Engineering and Design company. It is involved in multidisciplinary projects like oil refineries, petrochemical plants, chemical industries, steel making industries, infrastructure, town planning, bridges, buildings, etc. DAR has its head office in Al-Jubail Industrial City, Saudi Arabia. It has satellite offices in Yanbu Industrial City, Saudi Arabia and Cairo, Egypt.

‘Independent’ further stated that a race could be held there as early as August 2026, with a 3.64-mile route consisting of 22 corners and an average speed of 127mph put forward.

Cars would run along the London City Airport and the docks on a circuit full of long straights and chicanes.

The concept of a London Grand Prix, which has been floated previously by former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, has lingered in recent years but it is understood would be in addition to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

The British Grand Prix is a Grand Prix motor race organized in the United Kingdom by the Royal Automobile Club. First held in 1926, the British Grand Prix has been held annually since 1948 and has been a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship every year since 1950.

The 150,000-capacity Silverstone Circuit is a motor racing circuit in England, near the Northamptonshire villages of Towcester, Silverstone and Whittlebury (UK). It is the home of the British Grand Prix, which it first hosted as the 1948 British Grand Prix.

The redevelopment plan includes floating units that can form grandstands with a total capacity of 95,000, as well as other year-round attractions to form a “globally recognized waterfront destination for sports, leisure and entertainment”.

A unique pit lane has also been put forward, run alongside the first-floor servicing and loading deck of the ExCeL Centre, which currently hosts Formula E’s London ePrix.

Formula E, officially the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, is a single-seater motorsport championship for electric cars. The series was conceived in 2011 in Paris by the then FIA President Jean Todt and Spanish businessman Alejandro Agag, who is also the current Chairman of Formula E Holdings.

The London ePrix is an annual race of the single-seater, electrically powered Formula E championship, held in London, United Kingdom. It was first raced in the 2014-2015 seasons until the 2015-2016 seasons.

Maintained Max Farrell, Chief Executive of LDN Collective, “There’s a general level of support for the idea. Obviously, there’s a lot to work through in terms of the practicalities and the planning, but if the political will is there, we believe that this is a very credible and deliverable proposition.”

Added Dan Horner, DAR’s Director of Planning and Urban Design, “We’ve spoken to investors and we’ve put something to them that we think will be appetizing to them. We’ve done financial models which show a healthy rate of return [for investors]. We identified a need in London for more leisure and entertainment destinations. The Royal Docks is just a perfect location. We’re looking at this as a year-round, family-focused leisure and entertainment destination. Yes, Formula 1 is part of the offering, but we want to create a destination for the other 50 weeks of the year.”

Despite the proposition, reports stated that Formula 1 has not received any proposal as of yet and no discussions are currently taking place between F1 and the LDN Collective and DAR.

Waterfront Destination

‘LDN Collective’ stated that the concept extends the width of the existing 10m embankment by 20 m for a length of 2.7 km along the Royal Victoria and Royal Albert Dock embankment from ExCeL to the University of East London, creating 48,140 sqm of prime waterfront land.

The water’s edge would be activated by a series of floating modules, combining to provide further community space along the embankment edge and 70,790 sqm (gross floor area – GFA) for a wide variety of functions, from boutique hotels and restaurants to libraries and pocket parks.

Movable and flexible in configuration, the 28 modules offer 22 revenue generating units and six high quality floating parks with different uses, from spaces to relax and socialize, to playgrounds, learning areas, adventure zones, and exercise spaces.

For 50 weeks of the year, London’s new waterside boulevard would be an ‘eventscape’ programed to host events and activities with a cycling and running track encouraging healthy and active lifestyles. As the F1 race week approaches, the embankment’s linear park can be disassembled to reveal the FIA grade surface, while floating units would be reconfigured to provide grandstands, food and beverage outlets and entertainment facilities.

‘LDN Collective’ further stated that a London Grand Prix in this location would offer a waterside street circuit with high speed, long duration and full throttle sections with heavy braking zones to maximize overtaking. Offering a similar experience to Montreal’s circuit, it would complement the British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The 5,868m circuit would have 22 corners, an average speed of 204 kph and an anticipated lap time of 1’42.1.

The design incorporates a mix of floating and non-floating grandstands with capacity for over 95,000 people and a unique pit-lane would use ExCeL’s first floor servicing and loading deck for increased viewing opportunities.

Maintained Max Farrell, head honcho of LDN Collective, “This vision could do for the Royal Docks what the Olympics did for Stratford and the Lea Valley in London. By extending the promenade we are creating a flexible eventscape and by creating floating commercial uses we are making the proposal financially viable and deliverable, without the taxpayer footing the bill. We know that Formula 1 is interested in hosting a Grand Prix here and we have designed a track that meets all of their requirements and regulations. We have discussed the proposals with the GLA, who are developing a water strategy and planning framework with the Newham Council, which we hope to align with. With or without F1, these proposals are transformational and would be a huge boost to London and the United Kingdom globally.”

Explained Dan Horner, Director of Urban Design at Dar, “It’s apparent for anyone visiting the Royal Docks that the water is underutilized, but has huge untapped potential. We have approached this large, contained and clean body of water as a platform which can be reconfigured using floating modules, creating a new family-orientated leisure and events destination. Although floating buildings, structures and spaces are a relatively new concept within the United Kingdom, there are a growing number of precedents, notably in Europe, which have been highly successful and cost-effective. We believe this is an exciting and viable solution for activating the Dock, making it a world-class destination.”

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