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. Ovals? No thank you. We have Nascar for that rubbish.

    Surely the real reason why Laguna Seca can’t be used as an F1 track — as wonderful as that would be — is that it simply does not reach the safety standards required. The corkscrew would have to be neutered, immediately eliminating one of the major reasons to go there and ruining the circuit for everyone else. There was a post here about it not too long ago…

  2. Lap record at Laguna seca is held by Zonta in a Toyota F1….

    Manhattan. State of the roads. needs money, road closures, expensive. Beyond even F1, I’m afraid.

    My dream, would be a"tour of Manhattan" round the FDR
    and riverside. Like the long Nurnberg-ring with skyscrapers.

    Anway, a 26 mile lap would be cool. More scope for errors, overtaking etc… I’d love see a return of the really long circuit,
    but again safety upgrade cost is proportional to the length of
    the track :(.

    Oh well… back to lurking…

  3. Mark: " … based on my experience playing F1 and Daytona on Playstation 2 I would argue that there is a ton of skill involved in both….."

    :D… well i ain’t denying it mate. Frankly speaking, i’m not cut out for either. However. On an oval, you accelerate, you overtake, turn ever so slightly and try not to collide. On any other regular F1 circuit, you accelerate, you brake, turn, try not to collide get in line to take corners like Eau-Rogue, Turn 7 & 8 at Turkey, 6,7, 8 & 9 at Malaysia, Copse, Becketts & Bridge  at silverstone and many more(in Suzuka, Bahrain, Imola, Monza etc) at great speeds with precision that mostly has all of us admiring the talent behind the wheels.

  4. Actually Peter Sebastien Bourdais beat Zonta’s time in a Champ Car last year.

    Nice to see a lurker emerge from the shadows though!

  5. The oval race might be fun, but I am not sure if we would be able to take 1 and half hour of it :-) especially if half the field would get sucked to the walls in first few laps :-) I think that half oval with one banked corner we had was just about fine. Unfortunately the infield section was not exactly exciting ..


  6. The most important thing is that F1 gets its USGP back – we can argue over venues once that is achieved.  Indy has been good enough for several years but who says the States should have only one GP?  There is clearly a case for the US having one in the west as well as Indy and then we could start dreaming of Watkins Glen again.  Or anywhere…

  7. Scott Joslin
    11th April 2008, 12:29

    I can’t help but feel that new configuration will do nothing to improve the racing at Indy. Infact it might make it worse. The Banked corner before Turn 1 meant that drivers could follow in the slipstream of over cars. Now there is no banking there is just a bland track, that resembles one of the old car park tracks from the 80′!

    I am fine wilth returning to the USA, but please, on a circuit that demands a real challenge for the drivers.

  8. No less a light than Schumy stated he thought oval racing was insanity, with constant speeds running near 200 mph wheel to wheel. The drivers would definitely not care for it. I don’t know if the engines/gear boxes would last at those prolonged top end speeds.

    Besides, if I want to watch former F1 drivers go in circles there’s JPM and JV in NASTYCAR.

  9. Well Schumacher isn’t in F1 any more and I don’t think he as much of an idea or interest about what’s good for F1 as a sport – he didn’t want traction control banning either. Open wheelers race on ovals in American at 200mph plus – Sebastien Bourdais has won on ovals and raced the Indy oval.

    The way I see it there are road courses, which F1 has plenty of, and street courses, which F1 has a few more of this year. Why not add oval courses into the mix?

  10. If you check F1 history you’ll see that the Indy 500 used to be part of the F1 calendar…and was an officially sanctioned race for about 10 years.  Can’t say that I want that again, but I certainly hope for the return of the USGP…and I’m happy with Indianapolis.

  11. theRoswellite
    11th April 2008, 15:30

    Hey, I got it…………

    We get Honda or Toyota to build a large track, within an hours drive east of LA.  They can use it for "testing" most of the time.

     It can be sculpted to use huge mounds of earth as "natural" seating…creating some of the amphitheater effects seen, to a lesser extent, on the PGA tour.  It would be able to handle huge crowds, look relatively appealing when not in use, and be able to host, among other things, the USGP on a world class track.
    And, I agree with Peter Boyle, we need some length…..say, at least 14 miles, with the longest strait in anyones memory.

    On a more realistic note…..Keith is right, America is known (unfortunately) for its ovals.  One real oval race a year in F1 would be VERY interesting, read different.  Let Indy be what it is, the cars can handle it, and the drivers can certainly handle it.  The only real question is………can we, the F1 fans, handle it.

  12. The oval would definitely be fun in a gimmicky kind of way… unfortunately I don’t see it ever happening.  There’s just too many safety concerns (much higher speeds – will wings break, will tires hold up, will monocoupes handle crashes), budget concerns (although essentially Monza’s setup… on steroids), and ego concerns (that’s for them there NASCAR folks).

    The Manhattan race would be great (just imagine the sound echoing off the buildings)… but the track would likely be a dull combination of 90* bends.  Ever look at a road map of Manhattan?  It’s a perfect grid (except Broadway – maybe we can have a few non 90* turns, but not many).  GT4 tried a Manhattan course, but even for being pretty creative, it’s still mostly 90* bends – no real fast corners.  That’s not even to mention the budgetary and logistical challenges.

    Vegas – been done, sucked, won’t be back.

    Laguna Seca – a viable option, but would need major upgrades.  Also not as ‘great’ as people have made it out to be.  While it’s a great ‘drivers’ course (lots of high speed bends + the corkscrew), it’s nearly impossible to overtake on.

    Watkins Glen – perfect option.  Why?  it’s only an hour from me & I get to race on it quite a bit.  Ok, maybe I’m biased.  Seriously though… it’s a great track to drive (the ‘chute’ has more elevation change than the corkscrew @ laguna seca), and has good overtaking spots.  Just needs some safety upgrades, but it has been holding major events for a LONG time, so it’s not far off.

  13. Thanks for the link Keith – as well as the new lap record
    for Laguna Seca, it coincidentally had the top article
    on a Heidfeld attempt on Nurburgring!

    Know how it turned out?

  14. I’m afraid he wasn’t really pushing, Peter – here’s the video: Nick Heidfeld on the Nurburgring Nordschleife

  15. As for Indy, I’m not to keen on that new layout. If they’re not going to incorporate at least one of the banked turns, why race at Indy at all? All they really need to do is fix that stupid double hairpin and the course should be fine. If anything they should include more of the oval, not less.

  16. Actually having thought about this a little more I came up with two more tracks that haven’t even entered discussion. I will be honest and say now that I don’t know the reasons why they cannot be used as F1 tracks. They are Sebring and Watkins Glen International

  17. The main "issues" with WGI is that:
    1) Safety – this is the main reason they left initially.  I’m kinda stuck actually thinking of any specific reasons which still exist today, but I’m sure there will be a few.
    2) The course – it’s probably got too much elevation change for F1 (WAY more than is allowed ‘by the book’, but not too much for safety in my opinion.  It’s also probably a little narrow in spots (although still much wider than Monaco.
    3) Location – It’s actually quite remote.  Nearest ‘city’ with a ‘hotel’ (singular) is about 45-60 minutes away.  Note… that’s Horseheads… if you want a
    decent sized city with an international airport, you’re looking to Syracuse, more than 2 hours away.  Also figure that the ‘town’ of Watkins Glen contains approximately 2 roads in & out – traffic is unbearable for NASCAR weekend, for an F1 race it would be impossible.
    4) Location (x2) – Maybe traffic won’t be a problem as there’s no major city’s with ‘fans’ to draw from.  I guess you could say NYC is ‘close’, but is 6+ hours ‘close’?
    5) $$$ – always an issue in F1.  WGI went bankrupt in the late 80’s, and is now currently financed by a glass museum, not exactly ‘high rollers’.

  18. I really think there should be a US GP these days certainly but I don’t like the Indianapolis track – it’s just like the Le Mans Bugatti in that’s it’s a mickey-mouse loop in a great venue.(BTW I think they certainly should make F1 cars race round the Circuit De La Sarthe , on the full Mulsanne Straight at that – just make qualifying a bit longer).

    This layout barely improves matters – we really need a high-speed and low-downforce layout for a bit of variety , and where better for that than Indianapolis.No , I don’t want the cars turning left all the time either :)

  19. I’ve been thinking about this since I left work.

    Champ car beats and F1 car round Laguna Seca, which
    is no oval. F1 no longer seems the pinnacle of technology
    I thought. Have the regulations hamstrung F1 performance
    that much?

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