OllieF1
America Loses US Grand Prix

America Loses US Grand Prix

The United States Grand Prix has been struck off the 2008 Formula One calendar, as Tony George (Indianapolis Motor Speedway chairman) announced to the press that a deal between himself and Bernie Ecclestone could not be reached. It is expected that the sanctioning fee is what stalled the negotiations, and this news comes as a bitter blow to the manufacturer teams who have large markets in America.

After several discussions, Bernie Ecclestone and I were unable to agree how to keep Formula One in Indianapolis for the near term. However, we have agreed to leave the door open for a potential future date.

It has been a pleasure having the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis, and I hope that as we approach our Centennial Era at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, an opportunity might present itself that would allow its return. Tony George.

We didn’t reach an agreement… Let’s see if we miss America. Bernie Ecclestone.

Bernie, as ever, straight to the point.

A return to the States has not been ruled out though, as George stated above in his final sentence that the door will be left open for the future. However, it does appear that the relationship between Ecclestone and George has suffered somewhat, with the British businessman making some derogatory statements towards the US Grand Prix earlier in the year.

From a selfish and personal standpoint, I won’t miss the race. In fact, I didn’t watch it this year, although that was more to do with seeing a band live at Wembley Stadium. But I’ve always felt the infield circuit layout was boring and didn’t inspire me as much as the oval does. It seems the history of the Brickyard was lost when Formula One arrived each summer, and really the sport should have embraced it rather than turn its back.

Should the US Grand Prix return to America though, which circuit would you like it to run on?

Oliver White

6 comments

  • Watkins Glen would be great, and so would the Virginia International Raceway. Unfortunately, neither of those courses has nearly enough in the way of infrastructure to support a modern Grand Prix. A race in Vegas would be fantastic!

  • A sad day for F1 in America, amidst all the controversy about F1 being appreciated here in the US or not…

    I guess that from a personal standpoint, I WILL miss the race Ollie…maybe just because of the fact that it is the only race that I can possibly attend in the calendar…or maybe because I think the US DOES have a very faithful following to F1…

    100,000 fans in Indy beats most, if not all, the F1 attendances in the calendar and I personally think it shouldn’t be ignored…

    …Not to mention how technically challenging, although boring for others, the Indy track is…20+ seconds of full throttle where aero is key for passing bridged to a very tight infield section were perfect mechanical setup is key for good lap times…

    I will miss Indy…

  • I have attended all but one of the USGP at Indy and it has become a ritual for my son and our friends. We meet the same families there each year and really enjoy it.

    With that said, I will miss the race not being there next year. While Eddie George has commented that Bernie Ecclestone has always been good to work with, I think the following fact shows how Formula 1 management feel about the United States and OUR Grand Prix – there is not one single word about the cancellation of the USGP (or the lack of putting it on the calendar) on the official Formula 1 site (Formula1.com).

    It is as if the USGP never existed. What arrogance. It is a slap in the face of all the people in the US that came and spent our money to support the series. Bernie doesn’t seem to understand the broader picture.

    I have followed F1 since 1974 and still do, but I will be glad when there is a change of leadership at the helm.

  • Kevin said:

    Bernie doesn’t seem to understand the broader picture.

    How true. How very, very true. While I say I won’t miss the event, I say that from the viewpoint that I simply don’t like the track that much. I find it a little dull, but of course, that isn’t the fault of the 100k+ fans who line the Brickyard each year.

    It will be missed by fans such as yourself, Kevin, and I firmly believe F1 has done American fans a great disservice over the years. I won’t mention them, but I’m sure you were present at many of the mess-ups that have occurred since the re-introduction of the race. That is a great shame, and something F1 needs to learn from.

    As I stated in another comment responding to Luis:

    Maybe if Bernie can sort out his issues with the branding and presentation of F1, and if Max can stop changing the rules every five minutes and try listening to the fans, then F1 may have a chance should it ever return to the US.

    I too await a change of leadership. However, I’m not holding my breath just yet.

    Thanks for commenting, and I hope F1 can return to your shores soon, America deserves a race, on a circuit that will maximise Formula One cars and enable fans to experience the sport in all its glory.

  • It is bittersweet to lose the USGP – again. None of the venues since Watkin’s Glen (and Long Beach) have really put the US’s best foot forward – Dallas, Detroit, and especially Pheonix were awful courses. I felt that the Indy road course was ok, but could have been a lot better. Indy does have history, though. Tony George just should have torn up the golf course and made a couple of 4th-gear corners that could have really challenged the drivers and cars. Maybe the silver lining to come from this will be a USGP at a great American circuit a few years down the road.

    As for where to put the USGP in the future, ideally it would be at Laguna Seca or Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. These are fabulous natural terrain courses with high and low speed corners and elevation changes. Great for drivers and spectators. Downsides: Laguna would need some updating and Road America needs a lot of work to meet modern F1 standards, but worse, it’s the surrounding transportation that would probably doom both races. There have limited access roads and are far from major cities (Laguna is close to San Francisco, but it’s not that close.)

    I think a great solution – although it would never happen – would be for some promoter to develop an Adelaide-style high-quality street circuit in the Flushing Meadows Park/Shea Stadium/US Tennis Center area in Queens, NY. This is where the US Open (Tennis) is held every year, so it can handle crowds (parking lots and NYC Subway). The Park was the site of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs (and featured in the film Men in Black) – so it has history of its own. Not sure if city regulations would allow it – but La Guardia Airport is nearby, so it’s not like the noise would be a big problem.

    And you know the F1 glitterati would love to come and wine and dine in Manhattan for a week. If Bernie wanted to make inroads into the American market, there would be no better way than to put Lewis Hamilton and the whole F1 Circus in front of the epicenter of American media for a weekend. (Works for NASCAR every December when they go to NYC for their annual awards banquet.) The only way to do that is to go to New York. The sponsors, manufacturers, and team members would all love it, I’m sure. And the media exposure would get a lot of casual sports fans in the US interested.

  • It’s the MONEY, folks. It always has been with Bernie. That’s why Laguna Seca, along with Watkins Glen America’s most likely spot for running a Grand Prix, never took the FIA up on its offer to host a GP there. It just costs more than it’s worth.

    I’ve always been of the opinion that that only reason the USGP was at Indy was because of Bernie’s manipulation of Tony George. Bernie was at one time worried about the now defunct CART horning in on his international audience with the building of ovals in the UK and Germany and CART’s running of road races in Latin America and Asia. It’s my belief that Ecclestone convinved George to build the Indy road course and promote the USGP there to help bolster the then languishing popularity of the IRL and force CART out of the market. It seems to have worked. CART – now called Champ Car – is struggling and the IRL, which has strayed from its original concept and now includes road races on its schedule and foreign drivers, engines and chassis’ in its format, has become what CART used to be.

    Lastly, if the USGP at Indy was so popular, with record crowds announced by Indy management each year, why would it be taken off the calander? Maybe those crowd figures are – as has been suggested for years re both the GP and the Indy 500 – “inaccurate?” Do ‘ya think?

    Lord Plye Wood, O.B.S.

    Duke of Earl

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