Debate: Where should the US Grand Prix be held?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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. Road Atlanta gets my vote. It’s a great circuit with a strong racing history. Petit LeMans runs there now, and Can Am raced there back in the heyday of that series.

    Panoz owns the track, and also the nearby Chateau Elan resort- so there is a built in luxury element,
    and we all know the Bernie likes to market F1 to that crowd. The fact its a mere 45 minutes from me also weighs heavily in my choice!

    If not Road Atlanta then take F1 back to Watkins Glen…

  2. Laguna Seca has my vote. A classic track, some challenging corners, the corkscrew…I only wonder if (any) modifications could be made to satisfy F1.

    The fact that Zonta ran the TF106 out there last year gives us hope, I guess. Check out the onboard footage on YouTube sometime…

  3. Check out the video on YouTube titled “Road Atlanta in a Lotus 7”
    Too bad it has soundtrack instead of the sweet sounds of the Lotus but,it is a great open view of the track.
    With a few adjustments I think it would be a good F1 venue.
    KEEP F1 IN THE U.S.A.!!!

  4. They’d have to keep the deer out as well. I wonder if da Matta will ever come back to racing?

  5. Tim Benjamin
    21st June 2007, 17:54

    The US is large enough (geographically) we should get two GPs, even if we need to call California an independant country (San Marino ring a bell.) I’ll throw my vote in for Watkins Glen. Drivers tend to like the configuration, its fast and more rhythm oriented then technical. The draw-backs are its location in a very rural area, and because its narrow it would be difficult to pass. The 120 foot drop in elevation in the third of a mile from the end of the backstretch to the toe of the boot and the nearly mile long run from The 90 through the esses and to the end of the backstraight should be taken flat out by the cars making all out speed junkies pretty happy.

    Willow Springs might be a good call.

    Judging from the complaints from MotoGP fans Laguna probably couldn’t handle a crowd the size of an F1, admittedly a good candidate for a race though.

  6. I can’t see why you wouldn’t take Infineon Raceway. You have a lot of hair-pin turns, a lot of elevation change and some straight aways. A little reconfiguration in the pits and a few upgrades here and there and you have a track in the US that is not so anemic like Indy. Oh Ya, Bernie will like the fact that it is in a wealthy area and close enough to 2 international airports (San Francisco and Oakland).

  7. Tim Benjamin
    25th June 2007, 13:46

    I’ve always felt a lot of hairpin turns made a track kind of pedestrian, kind of like watching the French Grand Prix, kind of ironic if you consider the French hosted the first Grand Prix. Its a big country one for the east coast one for the west coast.

  8. My vote is for Laguna Seca as well, it is one of the few tracks where you can see 60% of the course from one spot. It is also in between two huge markets, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Not to mention the Seattle area, where the Ferrari and Porsch set drive down for the Rolex Classic races every year. It would be good also for us locals to be able to get the jump on the tickets, as most F1 GP’s are priced out of reach of the every day motorsport fan.

  9. My vote would be for Laguna Seca. An F1 race at such a classic track would be pretty special for many racing fans. Second vote would be for Road America. I think the fast nature of the circuit would be more ideal for F1 cars than the other potenial circuits.

    Whatever circuit is chosen, if it requires renovating (as it likely will) it should be handled by someone other than Hermann Tilke and Co. Switch it up a little and get some fresh ideas on the issue of F1 circuit design.

  10. I’m going to pick either Infineon, or somewhere new. Someone rich could probably dent their bank account and build a road course that FIA and NASCAR and Indy and everyone else can cope with. There has to been some undeveloped open field that someone could build a track on. And for the point of Infineon, I can’t see too many real complaints out of FIA about the sports car course. Even the stock car course would probably be a hit with the drivers. BRING F1 BACK TO THE USA!!!

  11. I love laguna seca :) is an old spirit track, with several nice turns…

  12. Speaking as a newcomer to the USA from Europe, I have grown quickly
    to enjoy oval racing which in Europe is now sadly impossible to find.
    In 2000, when F1 returned to the United States, everybody I knew were
    excited at the prospect of high banked, 215mph, balls out racing,
    which we assumed Indianapolis would provide.
    Instead, we were treated to half the oval, and a ‘mickey mouse’ section
    inbetween. I would like to know who was responsible for this? The FIA or the American race organisers? For me, this decision was a huge mistake. NASCAR and IRL races all use the full oval course at
    Indianapolis, why not F1?
    The American F1 Grand Prix would have been a far more dramatic spectacle
    had the full course been used, and the public had the full understanding
    at just how fast these cars are. On the subject of safety, NASCAR and
    IRL races are run to such a high standard there that, to me, safety
    could not be that much of a concern. Indianapolis should host the F1 race, but without the terrible infield section which, as you Americans
    would say, ‘sucks’!

  13. my vote goes to watkins glen. the real home of formula one for 20 yrs. don’t give me the cry about access. indycar was just there, nascar will be there soon and f1 still goes to places like monza and monoco. oh yeah, my bad,ecclestone doesn’t want it there. far too many drivers like the challenge and atmosphere. ask any professional or amateur driver that has ever been there,i.e.;mario,stewart(jackie) this circuit has a lot of history and not just f1. if i had enough, i’d bet that everyone would come out winners, if it were there. but…

  14. emily margaret
    2nd September 2008, 14:18

    Indy.Definitely Indianapolis. Centralized location and large event infrastructure. Interstate 70 is completed and travel to and from the city is much improved. Indianapolis knows how to take care of racing fans.

  15. How about a night race in Vegas? Use the track CC used in 2007, just build a garage area on the front straight and rebuild the train bridge before the last turn and you are good to go. The lighting system they had at Singapore would work great.

  16. o.k. it doesn’t really matter where anyone wants F1 in the u.s. the problem is bernie. what with all these new countries with their multi-million dollar facilities and the FEE required by bernie, the countries that have had F1 for decades are being choked out. case in point, spa and montreal to name a couple. how many more are going to be cut to make room for these other countries that have governmental backing? in my opinion, bernie only cares about his bank account. if he really cared about the “show”, as it has been called so much over the years, bernie would be taking a lesser fee, giving a bigger share to the teams and making it a point to visit all the classic circuits of the world.
    and yes, i agree that the u.s, a should have two, at least. maybe even three. one on each coast and maybe one in the middle. make all us bloody yanks happy.

  17. Remember that Salt Lake City held the 2002 Winter Games.

    What About Miller Motorsports Park?

    And Indy has modified the track with the chicane. Love to keep the tradition.

  18. larry t smith jr
    4th March 2009, 22:50

    oak ridge tn ,usa is planing a circut check out

  19. Sebring would be my best guess because it is a technical track and it would be a challenge to F1 drivers. i would like to see that

  20. Sebring would be a great place to host a U.S. grand prix for F1. the track is technical and it would be amazing. I would like o see that

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