Surrey

Woking Grand Prix plan unveiled by McLaren

The Woking International Circuit Image copyright McLaren
Image caption The tongue-in-cheek plan for a "glamorous" F1 circuit in Woking

An "absurdly ambitious plan" for a Grand Prix circuit on the streets of McLaren's hometown has been unveiled by the Formula 1 team.

Woking in Surrey would join the ranks of Monaco and Singapore as one of F1's "most glamorous and iconic race locations", McLaren said, with tongue firmly in cheek.

The Woking International Circuit would be one of the world's "fastest and most demanding" tracks, it claimed.

Woking council welcomed the news.

Image copyright Geograph / David Howard
Image caption Could Woking soon rival Monaco, Melbourne and Abu Dhabi for F1 excitement and glamour?

McLaren said it was "a bit scared" about the authority's reaction to its "absurdly ambitious plan" given there would need to be extensive and costly re-profiling of many roads and local landmarks.

But in a hard-to-believe official statement, Jonathan Neale, McLaren's chief operating officer, said: "Why not? Why not bring Formula 1 to the streets of Woking?

"Obviously, aside from the huge social and financial commitment needed to set up the infrastructure, re-profile roads, re-lay Tarmac, fit miles of Armco, build grandstands, pay for race-hosting fees and gain approval and sign-off from the FIA, we don't see any barriers to our vision."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Lewis Hamilton won his fifth British Grand Prix at Silverstone this year

The circuit would take "full advantage of the market town's winding streets and fast multi-carriageways", with the paddock on floatable pontoons anchored along the Woking-Basingstoke canal.

Silverstone has been the permanent home of the British Grand Prix since 1987 but its future is uncertain after its owner confirmed it had activated a break clause to cease hosting the race after 2019.

If a Grand Prix is held in Woking, it would not be the first time that it will have seen the world's fastest drivers on its streets.

In 1998, F1 world champion Mika Hakkinen drove his McLaren car on a lap of honour around the town after clinching the title in Japan.

Zak Brown, executive director, said that event "lit a spark that started a fire that turned into a dream that we converted into an idea: to host a round of the Formula 1 world championship on our doorstep, in Woking".

Ray Morgan, Woking Borough Council's chief executive, said: "We look forward to receiving McLaren's proposal which would reinforce Woking's position on the world stage."

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