Formula One track among Olympic stadium options

Published Jul 18, 2012 01:50pm

The proposal is among four being considered for the post 2012 future of the venue.  -Photo by Reuters

LONDON: Proposals for a Formula One circuit in and around the London Olympic Stadium are now under consideration as one of four proposals for the post 2012 future of the venue.

The scheme is one of several being reviewed by the London Legacy Development Corporation, who will decide what happens to the stadium after the Games.

The LLDC will also be looking at three other bids, including from nearby east London football clubs West Ham and Leyton Orient, along with University College of Football Business, who are an affiliate of Bucks New University.

An LLDC statement read: “Following an extension to the bidding period, the Legacy Corporation can today reveal it has received four bids for the venue.

“Bids from West Ham United, Intelligent Transport Services in association with Formula One, UCFB College of Football Business and Leyton Orient will now be assessed to ensure they are compliant before being evaluated ahead of negotiations.”

Intelligent Transport Solutions Ltd, who are based at Wanstead in east London, have already held preliminary talks with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

Any potential race would form a second British round of the world championship to run alongside the existing British Grand Prix at Silverstone in central England.

“They came up with a scheme whereby Formula One would race around the stadium, inside it, outside it,” Ecclestone explained. “They wanted to make sure I would be interested.”

The future of the stadium, which is set to include a permanent athletics track, should have been decided by now but was instead plunged into uncertainty in October when the original decision to name West Ham as tenants was challenged by Premier League Tottenham Hotspur and lower league club Leyton Orient.

That prompted officials to re-open the bidding process.

Barry Hearn, the outspoken chairman of third-tier Orient, has been a vocal critic of the Olympic Stadium's suitability for football.

However, he now seems prepared to accept a ground-share scheme with West Ham.

“There is no point dwelling on the design of the stadium and the faults of the stadium,” Hearn told the BBC.

“We have to get on with it, we have to make a fist of it and we have to make sure the Government and the people of this country get maximum value for the investment that has gone into the Olympic Stadium.

“Our idea does that, and I think it forms part of a legacy people in this country can be proud of.

“Bearing in mind this is the only time in our lifetime we are ever going to hold the Olympic Games, we need to get something out of it.

“A mixture of usages and a mixture of opportunity within the Olympic Stadium will give us the feeling we have spent our money wisely and that is really what we are trying to achieve.”

County cricket side Essex, based east of London in Chelmsford, had expressed an interest in using the stadium for some matches but have since withdrawn.

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