F1 Olympic Stadium Proposal Illustrates Lean Field
The revelation that the possibility of running F1 in and around the Olympic Park is even being considered "demonstrates the challenge facing the stadium planners," according to Paul Kelso of the London TELEGRAPH. The idea is "so unlikely as to be comic, but they are way past laughing" at the London Legacy Development Corp. As "we will discover this summer," track and field "works brilliantly" in the Stratford Stadium. But, Olympics and World Championships aside, the "purest of sporting disciplines does not fill stadiums." Not even brand new ones subsidised by £9M ($14M) of taxpayer investment and "served by excellent transport links." Yet retaining the track is "non-negotiable," so the LLDC has had to "cast its net wide." West Ham United FC remain "by far the most likely" means by which the LLDC can get enough money from its primary asset to "underwrite the maintenance of all the other venues on the Park." The other bidders show "just how lean the field is." The University of East London can offer educational uses, exploiting the offices and large amount of indoor space in the stadium. The UEL has secured the backing of Essex County Cricket Club, initially to run an academy on the stadium site that the county hopes "will tap talent in east London, but there are suggestions of Twenty20 matches." West Ham offers the most straightforward solution. They are the only football club "willing to tolerate a track," but only if they are "permitted to build over it with new seating that they are keen not to pay for" (TELEGRAPH, 6/22).