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Budapest mayor vows to ban Red Bull Air Race

Budapest Mayor István Tarlós apologized on Monday for the inconvenience caused to Budapest residents by the Red Bull Air Race at the weekend and said the capital would not host the stunt flying event again as long as he remains in office.   

The mayor said on public television news channel M1 that so many complaints had been made about the noise, and the organizers had needed to close off so much public space for such a long time, that "no matter how successful the event, Budapest residents canʼt be put through such an ordeal."

"This kind of scandalous pandemonium cannot be allowed in the capital," Tarlós said.

The Red Bull Air Race, established in 2003, was created by Red Bull GmbH as an international series of air races in which competitors have to navigate a challenging obstacle course in the fastest time. Budapest has hosted the Red Bull Air Race on the Danube every year but one since its launch. This yearʼs race took place on June 23-24, but pilots practiced for days before and some roads around the event venue were closed for more than one week.

Meanwhile, online news portal reported that opposition party LMP last week submitted a complaint against the city leadership for misuse of funds in connection with the Red Bull Air Race, arguing that while the state supports the event with a subsidy of HUF 1.9 billion, the organizers pay only HUF 13 million for use of the public space.

LMP expressed the view that the practice must be ended whereby state funding is granted to the appropriation of one of Europeʼs most valuable public areas "for pennies" to a polluting and potentially lethal competition that disturbs the lives of Budapest residents and traffic in the city for several days. The party said it will collect signatures calling for the event to be banned from the city center.