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F1 boss backs London GP over Olympic Stadium race

Saturday - 8/4/2012, 2:49pm  ET

By ROB HARRIS
AP Sports Writer

LONDON (AP) - Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone would rather run a race that zips past Buckingham Palace than one that goes around London's Olympic Stadium.

A group working with F1 is one of four bidders being considered as future tenants for the east London venue after the games.

But plans for a proposed London Grand Prix, with cars going past landmark sights in the center of the capital, had already been announced in June and endorsed by British drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton.

"I'd rather (have a race) where we originally planned, in central London," Ecclestone said at the Olympic Park on Saturday.

The proposed route would have a start-finish line on the Mall outside Buckingham Palace, with Trafalgar Square, the Houses of Parliament and London Eye also part of the route.

"We will work on that," Ecclestone said. "It's a project we are going to try to make happen."

But Ecclestone isn't completely ruling out a race that would go in and out of the $760 million Olympic Stadium and join the existing British Grand Prix at Silverstone on the F1 calendar.

Few details are known about the plans by Intelligent Transport Services, which is leading the F1 Olympic Park bid and has held talks with Ecclestone.

The other bids being considered for the stadium are from: Premier League soccer club West Ham; Leyton Orient, a fellow east London club that plays in a lower division; and a soccer business college. The bids are being evaluated by the company in charge of securing a legacy for Olympic venues.

Ecclestone toured Olympic Park on Saturday, a month after hosting IOC President Jacques Rogge at Silverstone.

"They've done a good job. I think it's really, really superb," Ecclestone said.

F1, though, will never be an Olympic sport, and the IOC has said as much.

"The Olympics are about people rather than mechanics," Ecclestone said.

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Rob Harris can be reached at http://twitter.com/RobHarris


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)