The Danish newspaper Politiken reports that the plans of getting Formula 1 to the streets of Copenhagen has lost support.
Back in February I wrote about how this was almost a done deal, so who finally woke up? Well, city mayor Frank Jensen seems to have gotten cold feet on this one and has now informed the minister of finance Kristian Jensen and project initiator former minister Helge Sander that the plans for hosting Formula 1 in his city must be taken off the table:
I now recommend that it [the Formula 1 plans] stops now. That is, I have informed my colleagues in the small majority that I have, that this is what I recommend. There is a need to draw a line. We can not keep planning such a huge project with so many risks.
Since the summer of 2017 when Helge Sander, together with Saxo Bank founder Lars Seier Christensen, announced that they had plans to get Formula 1 to Copenhagen, there have been many arguments both in favor and against it. Supporters were mainly promoting the potential branding value for the city, whereas the opponents were concerned about safety, noise, and the green image of the city.
First and foremost the municipality of Copenhagen made it clear that the city would not support the project financially. The first year the whole setup would cost up to $80 million. Frank Jensen adds:
I do not see the full support for this project. It is not an event that bring people together. It has divided people both in city hall, in the sports community, and in the country in general.
The minister of finance has to play along on this, otherwise it could get ugly, so Kristian Jensen acknowledges:
Such a project requires full support from all stakeholders, including the municipality. With today’s announcement, I do not see how we can continue working on the project.
So that’s that. I must admit I am relieved. Granted, there is a commercial value for Denmark in getting big world-class events to the capital city, but one has to question if this is the right time to introduce noisy greenhouse gas emitting race cars to the heart of Copenhagen? I think not. Copenhagen was European Green Capital in 2014 for crying out loud!
Who knows, maybe the mayor happened to read some news about banning vehicles with internal combustion engines in major cities in Europe, or news that major auto manufacturers are beginning to aggressively promote all-electric vehicles, or maybe even news that ordinary people in other countries are actually buying electric vehicles.
Maybe he realized that by the time the Formula 1 plans were to be realized in his own city in 2020 — 2022, traditional Formula 1 cities might be planning to get rid of those old noisy and smelly things and replace them with Formula E (and maybe occasional classic car races which can be fun). His city would be ridiculed. Now, we can’t have that, can we?