| LONDON, July 18
LONDON, July 18 The possibility, however slim,
of a Formula One race one day being held in the London Olympic
Park left Green campaigner and environmentalist Jonathan Porritt
boggling at the ironies of life on Wednesday.
Organisers of the Games, which open next week, are proud of
their efforts to make the Olympics in east London as car-free as
possible through an array of rail and bus links and secure
At the same time, the London Legacy Development Corporation
announced on Tuesday that one of the four bids to take over the
Olympic stadium after the Games was from a little-known company
acting in association with Formula One.
Premier League West Ham United remain the favourites to
become tenants but F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who denies any
direct involvement in the bid, has spoken in the past about his
interest in hosting a race in London.
"Our life is full of irony isn't it," smiled Olympic
'Sustainability Ambassador' Porritt, whose father Arthur was a
bronze medallist for New Zealand in the 'Chariots of Fire' 100
metre race at the 1924 Paris Games.
"I find the whole story about F1 racing and sustainability
quite difficult," added the man whose focus has been on the
sustainable design of Olympic venues and an
"F1 racing is a celebration of crazy, unsustainable use of
cars in many ways and I would much rather that we would see more
use of the park for cycling and all of those kind of things,"
added the environmental activist and former director of the
Friends of the Earth campaigning group.
The gas-guzzling sport of Formula One is trying to burnish
its green credentials, with teams and factories offsetting their
carbon footprint and the sport declaring itself carbon neutral.
Technical rules have been changed to make engines last
longer, with bio-fuel and fuel efficiency set to be an
increasingly important factor, while manufacturers are also keen
to establish a link between racing and 'greener' road cars.
Organisers have pushed urban street circuits, such as
Singapore or Montreal where spectators do not have to drive to
grands prix, and compared the sport favourably to the Tour de
France cycle race which is followed daily by a long caravan of
The sport, however, depends on criss-crossing the globe, and
teams fly cars in jumbo jets to circuits from Brazil to
Australia to Singapore.
While the Formula One-angled bid for the London stadium
looks a long-shot, the 2014 Winter Games in the Russian resort
of Sochi has a grand prix as part of its legacy planning.
The first race there is scheduled for the months after the
Games, using some of the same facilities built for the Olympics.
"One is bound to say that these things just sound
dissonant," said Porritt.
"Motor car racing just doesn't fit in that stable for me.
"To me it's extraordinary that anyone could think this could
be on the side of the angels when it comes to sustainability but
there we go," he told Reuters.
Despite London's best efforts to limit car usage, something
also pushed by fears of gridlock on narrow congested roads at
Games time, VIP guests and Olympic officials will be whisked
around town in a fleet of BMWs.
"They will be very noticeable to people living in central
London because they will be whizzing up and down those specially
designated lanes and probably making people a bit angry on that
score," conceded Porritt.
"Who knows, in 20 years time, maybe there will be no cars at
all even for members of the IOC."
(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ossian Shine)