Debate: Where should the US Grand Prix be held?

United States Grand Prix, Indianapolis, 2005, startThe Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s contract to hold the United States Grand Prix runs out this year – should it get an extension on the contract? Or should the race be held somewhere else.

The circuit has been criticised for being too unchallenging for the drivers and not worthy of the evocative name ‘Indianapolis’.

But American race fans have had plenty to complain about as well. The 2002 race was reduced to a farce as Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello tried to engineer a dead heat finish.

Three years later only six of the 22 cars started the race after the Michelin-shod teams were forced to withdraw for safety reasons.

The nine different venues that have held the Grands Prix in the United States are listed below. There are many other great tracks in America not yet visited by F1 – such as the fantastic Road America circuit.

The United States also has a healthy appetite for street circuits, which F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is keen to see more of on the F1 calendar.

So what venue would best suit the United States Grand Prix?

Mario Andretti, Lotus-Cosworth, Long Beach, 1977Indianapolis Motor Speedway – oval (1950-60)
Sebring (1959)
Riverside (1960)
Watkins Glen (1961-80)
Long Beach (1975-83)
Detroit (1982-7)
Caeser’s Palace Hotel, Las Vegas (1981-2)
State Fair Park, Dallas (1984)
Pheonix (1989-91)
Indianapolis Motor Speedway – road course (2000-)

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50 comments on Debate: Where should the US Grand Prix be held?

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  1. I know it’s not on your list, but the US race should be held at Laguna Seca in my opinion. The circuit is fantastic, and I seem to remember a Toyota running around the place recently as a PR stunt and broke the lap record. It would just be a joy to watch cars run up to the corkscrew, and much like turn one in Montreal, I think a fair few cars would have difficulty getting through while still on the tarmac.

    I personally find Indianapolis a bit of a joke. It isn’t really a racing circuit because of the silly mickey mouse infield. But then, if the cars ran exclusively on the oval I would probably be bored. The oval deserves its place in the history books, but the F1 configuration needs to be turned into an ornamental garden.

    • Paul said on 15th May 2009, 1:06

      Laguna Seca would be fantastic. It’s tough access, 2 lane road in and out… But Monterey has a lot of hotels for spectators. It’s such a beautiful venue. If F1 is ever going to get big in the US, they need a stable signature event. The venue matches the F1 brand in the way that Indy and Long Beach do not…

  2. Id like to see F1 at Laguna Seca too, classic track.

  3. My vote for Laguna Seca too. But only because it’s unlikely that Long Beach would have F1 back…

  4. Dan M said on 14th June 2007, 15:05

    Long Beach is a very boring race no matter what series race there. I think Laguna is the best track as it does have a history and I believe most people around the world know of it due to the signature corkscrew turn. F1 drivers would like it for its high speed turns and tough braking area leading up the hill which should be good for passing.

    I think Road America would have the same complaint that Indy does as being a very easy track for that type of race car.

    For the record Toyota test driver did run a couple laps at Laguna and set a record lap but that was soon broken by Sebastian Bourdais, granted that was with a few more HP, a power to pass button, and slick tires.

  5. For some reason unclear even to myself I enjoy the F1 races at Indy.

  6. Johnny said on 14th June 2007, 17:30

    I would have to say Laguna Seca as well. The track is classic and is in a great area. I wouldnt mind Long Beach, boring as it is, because I only live about 20 minutes away. That said I would put in the 6hr drive to get to Laguna Seca to see F1 cars lap the corkscrew

  7. Poleshitter said on 14th June 2007, 17:56

    Laguna would be great, but my vote goes to the streets of San Francisco.

  8. I’d like to see an F1 race at Road America because there are a couple of long straights that could create overtaking. The problem with Road America though is the amount of spectator viewing is heavily restricted.

  9. Dan said on 14th June 2007, 19:35

    Restricted spectator viewing at Road America? Have you ever actually been there? I cannot think of any corner on the track that I would not be able to find a good spot to watch from. About the only place that is really difficult to get to is the Kink.

    Unfortunately Bernie will never let F1 come to Road America. The place is too remote, the facilities too primitive. And I fear if they were to bring the track up to modern F1 standards the place would lose its’ character. But F1 at Elkhart Lake would be magnificent to see.

  10. I’d love to see Laguna Seca. Even outside the corkscrew, there are some really challenging turns.

    I’d also like to see F1 race the oval at Indy. I know it would never happen (safety concerns and European hatred of ovals being the primary reasons) but it would be a fun change of pace for 1 race every year.

  11. So despite not holding a Formula One race before, the majority here think Laguna Seca would be the best bet for the future!? Time to petition the FIA me thinks ;-)

  12. Paul said on 15th June 2007, 0:58

    I would like to know what safety and other changes might be required before the F1 establishment would consider Laguna Seca. I think it would make for a very interesting race.

  13. I like the votes for Laguna Seca but I have a feeling its famous drop-off corner (the corkscrew) would not be popular with F1 teams. With that in mind, I think Infineon should be chosen instead.

    Atlanta’s road course (search Petit Le Mans if you don’t know it exists, Panoz test there) might just have the right combination of safe run-offs in corners and proximity to luxury as well. (Being able to drive to it in eight hours instead of the 24 it takes to reach Indy gives it a bit of personal favor for me.)

    Road America is another good choice, but its distance from airports and the blind kink Katherine Legge pasted would make it unpopular with FIA as well.

    Mid-Ohio would also be overlooked for the airport reason.

    Indianapolis Motor Speedway was chosen because Tony George had the money to pull the deal off. I don’t think any of the other named venues can buy him out, and besides, George and Ecclestone are such notorious jerks that there is probably some odd magnetism between them.

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