The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) has confirmed that an ambitious plan to stage a Formula One race is one of four bids being considered for future usage of the Olympic Stadium.
Following an extension to the bidding period, the LLDC on Tuesday announced that bids have been received from Barclays Premier League football club West Ham United, third-tier team Leyton Orient, Intelligent Transport Services “in association with Formula One” and UCFB College of Football Business. The bids will now be assessed to ensure they are compliant, before being evaluated ahead of negotiations. The bids aim to add to the legacy uses already secured for the £486 million Olympic Stadium. It is already set to become the new national home for athletics and host to the 2017 World Athletics Championships.
Despite LLDC’s extension of the bid process, Tuesday’s announcement marks the same number of bids for the centrepiece of London’s Games as had been received by March’s initial deadline. The number was a significant reduction from the 16 parties that had initially expressed an interest when the tender process was first announced. The Formula One proposal is undoubtedly the most eye-catching amongst the four bids, but may face a number of challenges. With Northamptonshire venue Silverstone currently two years into a 17-year deal to host the sport’s British Grand Prix, a London Grand Prix could become a second UK-based round of the world championship. The bid has been put forward by London-based company Intelligent Transport Solutions Ltd following discussions with Formula One’s commercial rights-holder Bernie Ecclestone. “A race in London would be great for the city,” Ecclestone told Bloomberg, adding there was no agreement in place with Intelligence Transport Services. “We’ve told them it’s a good idea and we would be interested.” The plan is believed to envision running F1 cars on a track leading into the Olympic Stadium and then around the Olympic Park.
The LLDC says it is possible more than one bidder could be successful in what has been a drawn-out process, with a decision expected in the autumn. Daniel Moylan, chairman of the LLDC, said: “London is further ahead in planning legacy than any previous host Olympic city. Despite our success this is no time to rest on our laurels. We have planned a superb Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and we are working to ensure we achieve the right long term future for all our permanent venues. This is simply unprecedented in the history of the Games. While there is still a way to go, we should be proud of the achievements so far in planning a new part of London with new homes, jobs and a set of thriving sporting venues for everyone to enjoy.”
The LLDC has also confirmed that it has agreed to award iCITY sole preferred bidder status to become the long-term tenant of London 2012’s Press and Broadcast Centres – in keeping with its vision to create a new commercial centre on the Park. The confirmation came after the UK Fashion Hub consortium withdrew its rival bid last week, criticising a lack of transparency in the bidding process. iCITY aims to create a leading centre for technology, design and research with the potential to generate more than 4,000 jobs. The LLDC said it has set iCITY “tough but achievable requirements” that must be met before any agreement for lease is formally signed.
Gavin Poole, CEO of iCITY, said: “This is a unique opportunity to cement Britain’s position as a global leader in innovation and the creative industries. iCITY will provide a sustainable legacy for the local community through the creation of thousands of jobs, apprenticeships and training opportunities. The incredible track record of start-ups and entrepreneurs in east London is growing at an impressive rate, and this is a chance to provide additional connectivity, capacity, investment and highly advanced infrastructure.”
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F1 proposal makes cut in Olympic Stadium legacy race