Indianapolis still hopeful of 2009 F1 race

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

2008 Indianapolis Motor Speedway Moto GP circuit

Indianapolis Motor Speedway is still sending out positive signals about its desire to hold a 2009 United States Grand Prix.

The circuit owners have made a point of stating that the Moto GP race held for the first time this year is not a replacement for F1 (it’s behind held in September, not June), and that the revised track (above) is suitable for F1 cars.

The new track is similar to what was predicted here just over a year ago.

The direction has been reversed (and so is now anti-clockwise, as the oval is when it is used), the banked corner replaced with a new section which also requires a change to the pit exit, and the horrible double hairpin replaced with a revised bend (see ‘ten worst chicanes’ for more on that…)

I hope F1 does come back to America in 2009 but although I’m glad to see the double hairpin go I’m not sure about the new first corner. I liked that the old configuration used at least one bend of the mighty speedway and the long flat-out section made for good overtaking opportunities into the original first turn.

But if this what it takes to get a United States Grand Prix back then so be it. Here’s hoping they find a sponsor.

More debate: Where should the United States Grand prix be held?

Thanks to Scott Newton for the tip.

2009 F1 season

51 comments on “Indianapolis still hopeful of 2009 F1 race”

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  1. As always, i’m thrilled to see news on here of a posible F1 return to the United States. As an American who is new to the sport, it is among my fondest wishes to be able to attend a GP here in my home country. Since i’ve never even seen any of the previous F1 races at Indy on TV, I can’t offen any credible commentary about the track layout, but i’ll take anything that brings the series back and produces a decent race.

    My thanks to Keith for continuing to keep us updated on this topic, and to all of you who have stated your support for a return of the USGP in recent months. Hopefully some good news will emerge on the event in the near future, and we’ll all be able to party in America’s heartland next summer!

  2. Fingers crossed for an Indy return in 2009.
    Everyone wants it back, well except maybe Bernie…..

  3. I think the USGP got black balled after a few incidents that were not the fault of the organizers. Its too bad the US is massive and Indy is in the middle of no where…. I’m going to shoot for Montreal next year.

  4. Woah, that first corner is very Tilke.

  5. It actually looks a bit like they’ve taken that ‘double hairpin’ and moved it to where the old turn 13 used to be. Reverse the direction back again and this configuration isn’t a million miles away from the controversial plan put forward by the Michelin teams to save the 2005 GP at the last minute.

    I always felt as though Indy was a mickey mouse circuit, but I warmed to it in later years, and I too would like to see it return to F1.

  6. uknowwhatisell
    11th April 2008, 2:35

    Why cant we get away from Indy?
    GP racing celebrates the greatest cities of it’s other host countries, is Indianapolis, Indiana, really our best choice?  Screw tradition, lets get a race people are excited to come to.

    Lets get a petition for a street race, either downtown Las Vegas or Manhattan.  In F1 anything and everything is possible.

  7. I would rather see some company invest into Laguna Seca so Formula One can go there. If F1 is all about racing at the best tracks then for me Laguna Seca > Indianapolis as far as F1 is concerned. 

  8. While I respect all opinions offered for a return of F1 to the US. I question the notion that Las Vegas fits into the "greatest cities" catagory mentioned above. Bernie would love it because it’s all about the glitz and glamour, but is "Sin City" really the best venue for America to show off to the world of motorsports? No offense to anyone who lives/works there, but the city is better known for many other things above sports or racing.  Many people in Las Vegas have been lobbying for years to get a major pro sports team in the town- NFL/NBA/etc- and they still aren’t sucessful. Brining F1 there would just further Bernie’s dream of turning the sport away from true racing and towards a pro wrestling-style moneymaking venue that is more "entertainment" than sport.

    I’ve heard Laugna Seca is a great track- and I must admit that i’m a bit biased due to location- but would it cost a small fortune to make it F1-ready? Indy has the facilities, the name and history- yes, that’s important to fans like me- and the willingness to start the race back up next year. The sooner it comes back, the sooner fans such as myself attend and develop a stronger interest in it.

  9. The ONLY saving grace about the old Indy layout was the one passing chance at turn one and now…..its gone! Personally I’d rather see no USGP if the only choice is Indy. Even the drivers held it in low esteem.

    The only viable street course I can think of is Long Beach, along with a prior history. Laguna Seca and Road America are superior tracks, but there is no one willing to pony up the $$$$ necessary to upgrade to F1 standards, and they are geographically no where.

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  10. uknowwhatisell
    11th April 2008, 3:36

    The only viable street course is Long Beach?  Use a little imagination friend… 

    Gman…  If tradition were what we based race locations on, well then the only possible place for a USGP would be Detroit.  Las Vegas, no matter how you spin it’s reputation, is a beacon on the map as far as world travel destinations.  Not sure if you have been paying attention to F1 over the past 2 decades, but it has been, and will always be a profit generating endeavor.  Do you think F1 is a non-profit organization racing for glory and pride?  Just think about that, as a fan, the only reason that we get to enjoy the sport of F1 is because it generates income for some billionaire tycoon.  The day F1 stops being profitable for those at the top is the day F1 ceases to exist.  There is no loyalty, no commitment to it’s own history, it is first and foremost a for-profit business.

    Also, I really feel like you are missing something if you do not enjoy the spectacle that is F1.  There are plenty of racing leagues around the world that have a more serious, less flamboyant approach to motor racing.  F1 however is proudly not one of those events, there is nothing like it anywhere else for a reason.  A USGP racing through downtown Manhattan or using the "strip" (Las Vegas Blvd) as the main straight for a road course in Vegas would be perhaps one of the greatest new events in GP racing in a while.

  11. uknowwhatisell, it’s ture that I am new to this sport, but I have learned a tremendous amount regarding it’s history over the last few decades from many resources, including this site :) I do love many of the aspects that make up the spectacle of F1- the international flavor and worldwide scope it encompasses being chief among them. But along with that is the history and traditions of the places it races at. I may be wrong, but if F1 followed your policy, we could just forget Indy and also drop places like Monza, Interlagos, Silverstone and Spa, and go race wherever the money flows and the lights will shine the most.  

    It’s just the humble opinion of a rookie fan, but the commitment/loyalty to history very much play into the spectacle for me. I’m also an avid fan of teams in the NFL and Major League Baseball- those leagues have a great deal of respect for tradition and history, yet still rake in a ton of money year-round. To me, F1 can easily do the same. I’m guesisng that if Vegas gets the USGP, it won’t fare any better than it would at Indy.

  12. A GP at Vegas would be just another attraction for the casinos to comp the high rollers with. It previously failed at Vegas, Phoenix and Detroit for good reasons. Historically they were abberations, nothing like Monaco, Monza or Spa.

    The reasons F1 is being pulled from the traditional venues is the promoters CAN’T make a profit because Bernie takes all the income and charges outrageous sanction fees (20mill?). The only way to subsidize the cost is through government funding (China, Singapore, Malaysia, Melbourne, etc,) and Tony George wouldn’t cough up more, or wasn’t smart enough to find a paying sponsor.

    And hell will freeze over before F1 or any racing series shuts down NYC for a weekend a year.

    "Use a little imagination friend…" Let’s read some of your choice locations that aren’t in the middle of no where?

  13. theRoswellite
    11th April 2008, 6:46

    Boy Keith, this one is fun!

    Just a couple of little points.

    "the middle of nowhere"…………Laguna Seca?

    Everyone is correct about the cost of upgrading the circuit and facilities (too bad it hasn’t been expanded since Ft. Ord closed).
      However, "nowhere" it is not.  Located on arguably one of the most outstanding coastlines in the world, and surrounded by such wonderful communities as Monterey and Carmel, it is certainly as beautiful as any place I’ve been in the US.  You can fly in, and the track is just down the road from the airport….all a short connecting flight from SF.  It would draw from the large metro areas (the Bay Area, and LA) and California generally….the most populated state in the US. 

    So……..ready to have a GP, it isn’t; but trust me, that is a real loss for any F1 fan.  (And please don’t start me on the potential for sponsorship…….as in……gee, is there any regional area in the world in which….say…..BMW or Toyota sell more automobiles than California??????)

  14. Nico Savidge
    11th April 2008, 6:50

    Like GeorgeK said, they’ve tried a USGP in Vegas (i think a couple of times – I remember Keith covered those hideous circuits a few months ago) and it was awful.
    Anyway, aside from the fact that it’s one of only American road courses that could actually accomodate F1 and the crowds it would bring, there is the fact that every inch of the brickyard is soaked in history. The point of racing at Indy isn’t that you’re driving an amazing circuit that presents a huge challenge to the drivers (other than staying awake through that double-hairpin) – it’s that you’re holding a race at the home of "The Greatest Spectacle of Racing," and that you’re bringing F1 to the heart of American motorsports. I was at the USGP last year, and the fact that Indianapolis isn’t a huge town didn’t mean a thing (by the way, Silverstone isn’t exactly a vibrant metropolis and that doesn’t stop the fans…) – the grandstands were still packed.

    To be honest, I don’t really care what layout they use – hey, they could battle it out on the golf kart course at "Brickyard Crossing Country Club" for all I care. As long as there’s a race in the US, I’ll be happy…

  15. Nico, your comments above sum up my point almost exactly.

  16. You know … I’d quite like to see F1 race the oval. We don’t have any oval circuits on the calendar … it may pull in more sponsorship/ fans from the US … and it is something a little different.

    Why not?

  17. You’re talking my language John.

    I’d love to see them race on the oval. I mean, they’d have to make some changes to the cars, and a 22-car field would look a bit pathetic (not that it doesn’t in Shanghai or Sepang), but I’d love to see oval racing in F1, and where better than Indianapolis?

  18. Interesting. Oval racing. There’ll be a lot of potential for overtaking. However, F1 is supposed to be more than going around in circles. Yes, oval racing also requires skill, but, in my opinion, F1 circuits generally, ahem… including even the Indy circuit) are fairly more challenging than an oval. Yes it is different, but not just as challenging.

  19. An oval would help to make it more of a complete world championship, win on the track, win on the road, win on the oval, the last thing we want is every circuit being from vaguely the same cookie cutter.

    Finally, Sri based on my experience playing F1 and Daytona on Playstation 2 I would argue that there is a ton of skill involved in both…..


  20. As much as I would like to see an oval race, it will never happen in F1. If it went ahead the FIA, or maybe the drivers, would demand \ require each team to pass an "oval" safety test on their car, that would require a redesign.
    Those teams with a large enough budget would probably design components specifically for the oval. Hence they would have virtually two cars, one oval and one circuit.
    I know you can have one car that does both as it’s being done by Indycar and by the former Champcars, but all the development in F1 has been non-oval and refined specifically for that field.
    The extra cost involved would not be welcomed by the smaller teams, as many discussions in the past have been looking towards how to cut costs.
    BTW – I’m no expert on the FIA rules. How much can you change on a F1 car once the season starts? It seems aero developments are going on all the time.

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