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A United States Grand Prix? Why bother?

Posted by Carrot on April 27, 2010 | No Comments

Tony George, former CEO of the Indianapolis Speedway, told local newspapers that all that stands in the way of Formula 1 returning to America is finances. Really? Thank you for those pearls of wisdom there Tony, they are so very much unneeded.

Anyone with even a passing interest in F1 knows that it takes a lot of money to host a Grand Prix, just ask Simon Gillette. Cynics might even add that you don’t even need an interesting track, just enough money to please FOM and the circus will be on its way. So thanks for stating the obvious there Tony, God knows it must be good to fill up inches in newspapers and act as free publicity.

The thing is, why does anyone think we want to go back to America? The biggest push to go there came from the major automobile manufacturers that had teams and therefore wanted a whole load of free primetime advertising. Thanks to Spanky, and him acting like his father’s hero, they were all driven from the sport. We have three actual manufacturers left, Renault don’t count since the team are owned by an investment company, Ferrari, Mercedes and McLaren. Ferrari and McLaren don’t need the exposure provided by a dull race in order to have waiting lists three years long for their cars and Mercedes haven’t been making any big noises about it as far I can see.

The one thing that everyone thinks of if you say US Grand Prix is the farcical 2005 race contested by six cars. I think of that event as well, I also think of the number of unnecessary injuries caused by that banking as well as the conduct of the marshals, ask Pedro de la Rosa about being told to hop over a wall and then finding himself dropping six feet into a river…. I also remember the conduct of Tony George, after being unable to race due to circumstances beyond their control team bosses proposed a non-championship race after the end of the 2005 season, George blocked this without a second thought.

I want every event on the calendar to be run on an exciting track that has the potential to give us an excellent race. That’s why fans have been rejoicing about the return of Montreal this year and the return of Spa in 2007 and bemoaning the continued presence of Valencia. I don’t care what time I have to get up to watch a race provided it’s going to be a race that’s thrilling. The US Grand Prix at Indianapolis never gave us that, the most notable thing about it after the six car race was that it was Montoya’s last race after he took out his team mate.

Bernie is, of course, dropping big quotes about wanting to go to New York and race around the skyscrapers. It’s unlikely, maybe you’ll get one of the suburbs and the skyscrapers in the background Bernie but you’re never going to get Times Square closed for a week to hold a motor race that most Americans don’t even understand.

The only reason I’d want to go back is due to IRL CEO Randy Bernard’s statement that F1’s presence would hurt the ‘financially imperilled’ IndyCar series. It’d certainly settle the question of which is the better series if we went and killed the IRL.

Still, I managed an entire article on America without mentioning USF1….

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