US alternative investment firm 777 Partners has said it is working on developing a “world-class sports and entertainment complex” that could host a Formula 1 grand prix in London, England.
The news returns to the table the prospect of an F1 race in the English capital, a long-term goal of the motor-racing series. UK newspaper the Daily Mail has reported that the complex will be located at the Royal Docks in the borough of Newham.
Funding is said to have been secured for the project, with 777 working in association with a UK sports group over the venture. The London Grand Prix is not envisioned to replace the historic British Grand Prix at Silverstone, which in July 2019 extended its race contract through to 2024.
However, the consortium’s proposal is understood to have the full support of London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who is seeking to bring F1 to the capital before his second term ends in 2024. Josh Wander, founder of 777 Partners, said: “We are hopeful that it is coming. We are hugely excited about it.
“There will be an electric atmosphere as the greatest athletes in the world, along with an international fan base and the world’s largest companies as sponsors, descend on the Docks for race weekend.
“More importantly, we will build a world-class sports and entertainment complex that can serve the community year-round and revitalise the surrounding areas. It is the type of thing you really can’t quantify until it actually happens, but the impact is dramatic.”
Khan is believed to view the Docklands race as the key element of his regeneration vision for east London. To answer criticism over environmental concerns, the Mail said Khan’s masterplan is that a London GP will be a carbon-neutral event and the first F1 race to be accessed only by public transport.
Unmesh Desai, London Assembly member for City and East and a close ally of Khan, said: “It is about opening up east London. There is so much potential and that is why Formula 1 want to be involved. They believe in us and we believe in them. It is a two-way partnership.
“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.”
Investment firm 777 has a strong presence in sport, concluding a takeover of Italian Serie A football club Genoa in September. The company also has a stake in Spanish LaLiga outfit Sevilla, while it has an interest in London sport through its ownership of British Basketball League club London Lions.
Wander added: “We believe the (F1) project itself is going to completely reinvigorate and transform the community. It brings the short-term excitement of a world-class race limited to the world’s premier cities – but at the same time we have the opportunity to create a sustainable long-term impact for the community and the surrounding areas.”