Events

London Grand Prix proposed as part of Royal Docks redevelopment

A new proposal has emerged for a Formula 1 race in London on a track that would incorporate the ExCeL London events venue.

Environmental group LDN Collective and consultancy firm DAR have unveiled plans to transform the Royal Docks area of East London into a “globally recognised waterfront destination” that can host sports, leisure and entertainment events. News of the project was first reported by The Times.

LDN Collective said the destination could potentially host a London Grand Prix, with the embankment’s linear park to be disassembled to reveal an FIA-grade surface. Floating units could also be reconfigured to provide grandstands, food and beverage outlets and entertainment facilities.

The event would offer a similar experience to the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal and would complement the existing British Grand Prix at Silverstone, LDN Collective said. The 5,868-metre circuit would have 22 corners, an average speed of 204kph and an anticipated lap time of one minute and 42 seconds.

The design incorporates a mix of floating and non-floating grandstands with capacity for over 95,000 people and a pit-lane that would use the ExCeL’s first-floor servicing and loading deck for viewing opportunities. The ExCeL already hosts Formula E’s London E-Prix.

The wider concept would extend the width of the existing 10-metre embankment by 20 metres for a length of 2.7km along the Royal Victoria and Royal Albert Dock embankment from ExCeL to the University of East London.

LDN Collective said 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 square metres for functions such as boutique hotels, restaurants, libraries and pocket parks.

Other features of the project would include playgrounds, learning areas, adventure zones, exercise spaces, and a cycling and running track.

Max Farrell, chief executive of LDN Collective, said: “This vision could do for the Royal Docks what the Olympics did for Stratford and the Lea Valley. 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 are 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 (Greater London Authority), who are developing a water strategy and planning framework with 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 UK globally.”

Dan Horner, director of urban design at DAR, added: “It’s apparent for anyone visiting the Royal Docks that the water is underutilised, 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 UK, there is 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.”

Motorsport.com reported that there are currently “no discussions” taking place between F1 and LDN Collective and DAR.

In November 2021, US alternative investment firm 777 Partners said it was working on developing a “world-class sports and entertainment complex” in the Royal Docks area that could host an F1 grand prix.

At the time, it was reported that funding had been secured for the project, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan also pledging his support. Hosting a race in London is a long-term goal for F1.