If it succeeds, we might very soon see yet another European Grand Prix, this time in Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. Helge Sander, former Danish Minister of Science, Technology and Development, and Lars Seier Christensen, ex-owner of Saxo Bank, along with other members met F1 CEO Chase Carey and has proposed a circuit for the 2020 F1 season.
The proposed track would run through Copenhagen’s city centre, passing landmarks such as the parliament building and crossing two major bridges. Sander met with F1 CEO Chase Carey, his commercial chief Sean Bratches and director of promoters Chloe Targett-Adams during the Singapore GP weekend to discuss the plans in detail.
To design the future track, Danish ex-F1 driver Jan Magnussen gave his inputs, along with renowned F1 track architect Hermann Tilke, who has also designed the India’s only F1 track – the Buddh International Circuit. The layout of the Copenhagen circuit has been described as ‘Baku-like’ and Magnussen has said that the layout would make the circuit “one of the most spectacular in F1”.
Sander said: “We have had some very positive meetings with Formula One Management and my feeling is that they would love to have a grand prix in Copenhagen.” Danish government supports the project along with the Royal Family and Copenhagen city government. Although all the parties are seeking private funding to make the project viable.
There’s a strong possibility that the Copenhagen town planners have already been briefed to plan in advance how the F1 would impact the functioning of the city centre. The Copenhagen scheme has already met with opposition from the Danish green lobby and there are further concerns that any race would effectively shut down the city centre for a week.
Organisers has revealed at the recent Singapore Grand Prix that the it would cost the city state approximately £80m per year to host the race. Out of this, 60% will be government-funded, with the remainder coming from promoters. But the government is more interesting in roping private investors rather than spending government funds.
Denmark’s Ministry of Industry Brian Mikkelsen added: “We have discussed this with the private investors for some time and we’re now talking openly about the project, because I think it looks more and more realistic. F1 would give Copenhagen enormous branding.”
Christensen from Saxo Bank has previously sponsored the Lotus F1 team and said he was convinced any Danish Grand Prix would be a huge hit with fans. His reasons largely depends on the enormous popularity of Haas driver Kevin Magnussen in his home country. “We will have no problems selling tickets for a grand prix in Copenhagen,” he said.
“There are currently four Nordic drivers in F1 [Magnussen, Swede Marcus Ericsson, plus Finns Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas], and at the moment, their fans have to go to Belgium or the south of Germany to see them race,” he added. “For the Nordic countries and also for the north of Germany, Copenhagen will be the ‘local’ F1 circuit. But we’ll need both public and private investors for a project of this magnitude.”
Denmark has never hosted a round of the Formula 1 world championship, although Roskilde, Magnussens’ home town, did host two non-championship F1 events in 1961-62 at the Roskilde Ring circuit. The 1961 race was won by Stirling Moss, and the 1962 race by Jack Brabham. A Danish Grand Prix was staged 11 more times between 1960 and 1995, for Formula Junior, F3 and F2 events. Red Bull also staged an F1 street demonstration in Copenhagen in 2012.