2010 United States Grand Prix rumoured

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

American crowds could see F1 in 2010 - but probably not at Indianapolis
American crowds could see F1 in 2010 - but probably not at Indianapolis

F1 team bosses have put more pressure on Bernie Ecclestone to put the United States Grand Prix back on the calendar in 2010.

However the venue for the race may not be the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where the race was last held from 2000-2007.

The teams have made it clear they want a USA Grand Prix on the calendar. Nick Fry, who’s spoken in favour of the US Grand Prix before, told Autosport.com:

This is supposed to be a world championship and a large part of it is made up of North America, so we should be going back there.

The North American market is absolutely vital to us, and for all the luxury car makers especially it is key. It is a market Honda is successful in, with Honda and Acura, and we would like to get back there as soon as possible.

But Mario Theissen explained why a return to Indianapolis may be avoided:

If I look at where we sell our cars it is certainly on the east coast and the west coast, so from that perspective [Indianapols] is not the ideal venue.

If not Indianapolis, then where?

Indianapolis has been modified since it held its final United States Grand Prix last year and if it was used would likely be run in the opposite direction without using the oval turn.

America has dozens of racing tracks and some of them, like Elkhart Lake and Laguna Seca, would be stunning places to watch F1 cars race. But they are likely a long way away from F1’s expectations of safety standards and paddock facilities.

A street track might be a better option. America has many street circuits and could take advantage of the new fashion for street racing in F1. F1’s experience of racing on American street has been variously good (Long Beach), bad (Pheonix) and ugly (Las Vegas).

But it’s been said time and again on this blog that F1 must have an American round. The small but passionate F1 following in America too often gets overlooked by those who think motor racing in the USA begins and ends with NASCAR. A United States Grand Prix in 2010 would be two years too late but still very welcome. Still, let’s not get too excited – we’ve heard these rumours before.

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47 comments on “2010 United States Grand Prix rumoured”

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  1. Frankly I (and I cautiously dare say many fans) don’t mind where in America they hold a race. We just care that it allows for good close safe racing that allows for decent overtaking opportunities.

    Personally I’m generally cautious about street circuits although I do enjoy them when its wet. Many say street circuits are notoriously processional, except of course when its wet.

    I think it will be good to go back to USA as it is a huge market and Bernie knows he is missing a trick there. I seem to think I read a report that talks broke down this summer with the Indianapolous boss though, so yes, where to now? Ooo the suspense 0)

  2. US open tennis was sponsored by Lexus. Federa won a Lexus with the title. A major global sporting event, in the US, sponsored by a luxury car maker. Says it all really.

    Only track on the East is really Watkins Glen, but huge amounts of money would be needed to bring the track up to standards. $200m or £100m perhaps :)

    West – Laguna Seca, but again I think the tracks probably too narrow for F1 and I wouldn’t want to see Tilke given the opportunity to ruin it. Spectators for the MotoGP was around 60,000 on race day. A long way off the capacity for Indy.

    Street – Bernie would want a permanent pit building, making it hard to justify building a new or adding to an existing street circuit.
    Maybe Long Beach could upgrade, but I doubt the money would be spent on something that is just not guaranteed anymore. Bernie has pulled the plug on races far too easily in the past and that doesn’t help a race track owner.

    Ideal track but wrong location is Elkart Lake, Road America. Or maybe Sebring, if the bumps can be sorted out for the F1 cars.

  3. Maybe its time for somewhere like Houston or Miami to either build/upgrade a circuit, or host a ‘street’ race (depending obviously on Bernie’s definition of ‘street’)
    I think the USA should host at least one round, but what about taking it to Mexico too?

  4. I think Chalky nailed it there are already four great circuits (Laguna Seca, Elkhart Lake, Watkins Glen and Sebring) in the USA and there is no need to build a new one.

  5. I think bringing F1 back to the US is a great idea, but I think it could be done with more style. With as popular as F1 is in the rest of the world, and as unpopular as it is here, I think that finding the right venue is absolutely crucial if F1 wants to attract more fans to the sport. In America, the most viewed sport is Football and the biggest games are (almost always) held at night. It’s a cultural thing in the US that only heightens the importance of any sporting event. I think that the ultimate venue for the USGP would be a night race on a street course of a large US city. Having a race on the streets of New York or Las Vegas would attract large numbers of new fans to F1, generate a HUGE amount of North American Press coverage, and (in my opinion) be great for the support. I think that if the night race this year is a success, then you will see an increase of night racing in F1.

  6. It would be good to get F1 back to the usa – but what if after a race like last week the fia stole/removed the winners race from them – try explaining that to the american race fan (not the exceptional fans who follow F1) – they wouldn’t believe it and F1 would fail again in the usa.
    So don’t hold youre breath while the bernie and max team are in control folks

  7. Matt – The night race in Singapore is being held to enable the European viewers to watch it without having to get up early. A US GP would be held at a normal time, making it an evening viewing in Europe.
    Any night race in the US would mean unsociable viewing times in Europe and that would not be a favourable deal with Bernie.
    A new street track in Vegas may do it. Just don’t let them cone out the track in a hotel carpark again. :)

  8. As we have effectively nine Grand Prix’ in the European Union (officially Monaco isn’t an EU-memberstate but abroad it’s represented by EU-member France) I think we should have at least three or four races in the United States. Road America, Long Beach and Laguna Seca are three well-known venues I’d like to see on the calendar. But all of these are not very likely due to the strict track regulations.

  9. If the US promoters have got any sense, they’d tell Bernie to shove it after the farce at Spa. Having said that, It’d be great to see an F1 at Laguna Seca…

  10. East – Sebring
    West – Laguna Seca

    Expand some runoff, put up some fencing, lick of paint. Tracks are plenty wide enough (they are for my Civic in Forza 2, anyway). Go Bernie, go!

  11. Can someone explain to me how can Spa, Monaco, Monza, Montreal and even Albert Park be legal and somehow other tracks don’t fit in the regulations? I think the regulations are more of a ploy by Bernie, Tilke, and Max to extort more money from old track that are “illegal” and from new track to make them “legal.” I think enough cash and certain up grades will make those pesky regulations go away.

    The west coast would be ideal because of the prime time slot in Europe and morning slot in most of East Asia / Australia time zones. In California there are three possibilities. Laguna Seca, Long Beach, and Sears Point. I’ve seen a race at all three, here is what I think:

    – Long Beach has been burned before and would require a lot of honey and sugar from Bernie to mend some long burned bridges. I don’t think the organizers can get the money together for the needed upgrades. True, you could renovate the events center down there and add the paddock and other facilities in the parking lot. However, that is a lot to ask. Plus, we already have Valencia, Monaco, and Singapore on the calendar. Do we really need another street circuit?

    – Sears Point is wide and with enough run off area to maybe make the track fit the regulations. The track is winding and would lead to some interesting challenges for the team. The track can pack in 100,000 people with good viewing. It’s less than two hours from San Francisco, Oakland, and Sacramento metro areas so that is a plus. However, the track is owned by Speedway Motorsports who have the money and resources but since they are so close to NASCAR, they may not want to bring F1 in. The track would need substantial investment in the paddock and around the course.

    – Laguna Seca would be mega and is the closest F1 ready track in the US outside of Indy. Remember, Laguna Seca went under a massive upgrade in the 1980’s to get their FIA certification when they were trying to convince Bernie to bring the race to the track instead of Phoenix. Also, the Monterey/ Salinas area has supported major sporting events in the past with similar demographics. If the area can host the US Open at Pebble Beach, I am sure that they can handle F1. The track would probably need a slight extension and they would have to build a new paddock but that would be nothing in comparison to Sears Point or Long Beach. The only draw back is the track is owned by the local government and couldn’t afford the infrastructure. They would need some major investment from several sources.

  12. Just go to Laguna Seca and get it over with already, Bernie!

    The track itself is in great shape, a little short maybe, but so is the Hungaroring. And there is actually quite a lot of run-off in the hard braking areas, and around the fast turns. I suppose the FIA would want to see them paved, but that isn’t the end of the world.

    And yeah, there isn’t any 7-star facilities for the wealthier folks, but who cares? Not me. :D

  13. I would love to see a race at Laguna Seca.
    Can’t see it happening any time soon though.

  14. Fist, let me say that any steps taken to bring F1 back here to the United States is an outstanding development-I almost jumped off my chair when reading it on Autosport Sunday evening!!

    In terms of the meeting, it is fantastic to see the teams stand together and demand that the American market be given a GP- while Honda and BMW appear to be leading the charge again, it is also good to see Williams and other on board. And for once, Bernie appears to be in a cooperative spirit about the USGP- his interview with Peter Windsor on the subject during the SPEED pre-race show saw him in a good-natured spirit- a welcomed change from his usual grumpy comments about America and the USGP.

    In terms of existing venues, I may be the only one on here who would enjoy seeing the race come back to Indy. It dose have a strong sense of history and tradition, and there are some other factors at work there for both F1 and the fans. For one, I know the tickets there were muich cheaper and a very good value compared to other GPs- I hope this trend continues no matter where the next USGP is. Second, the PR machines can hype up the fact that Hamilton will be back after his 2007 triumph. Along with that, I don’t know if Dr. Mario can count on having Kubica wiht his club for 2010, but if he still is then a race at Indy would bring out plenty of Americans with Polish ancestry who live in the Midwest.

    The other venues you have all mentioned are great, but the issue of upgrades is a major factor working against them at the moment. Indy, on the other hand, is all ready to go in terms of facilities. Kieht mentioned that F1 would most likley run on the revised version of the road course, and while bikes are much different than F1 cars, perhaps Bernie is waiting to see how the MotoGP event plays out there before making a call on bringing F1 back.

  15. Laguna Seca is a great track and produced one of the best MotoGP races earlier this year. I don’t think it suits F1 cars though. I fear another boring procession with no overtaking… but that’s only my humble opinion.

  16. To follow up, I meant to say “Keith” when referring to our esteemed editor- sorry on that one!

    In terms of building a new track, it would be fantastic to see a new circuit developed somewhere in the U.S.- the places mentioned earlier are all great and will continue to be, but I would love to see America have a new complex on par with places like Istambul and Shanghai. To that end, the best possibility I have heard came from a friend of a friend who has connections to a development group in the New York area- this bunch apparently wants to build an F1-spec track in the New York city area. As such, the most likley location would be at the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey- just miles outside of the city and within clear view of the Manhattan skyline.

    If there is some truth to this, there are a number of issues that would need to be sorted out, but it would be great if it worked- I know you’re all thinking of a GP in California, but there are many F1 fans out here on the east coast as well :) According to my friend, the main hurdle for the developers is that they will only launch the project if they can get both F1 and NASCAR to come to the facility on an annual basis. And as some of you may know, getting a slot on the NASCAR schedule is darned near impossible, even when compared with F1- much of this being due to many tracks having two races a year, leaving next to no room for expansion.

    In my book, any return to the U.S. for F1 is a good one, so we’ll see what happens. And for all we know, Bernie could have an entirely new card up his sleeve that none of us know about, so keep an eye out for anything!

  17. They can build a track in my back yard, I’m not doing anything with it anyway. I’ll sell them the land for cheap if they’ll let me run my car on the track whenever I want after its built. What say, Bernie?

  18. Gman: Been to the F1 Indy event twice. Yes, the tickets are very affordable…but the hotels are a huge ripoff. While I understand that doesn’t bother B. Eccelestone, I think he has a problem with the ambiance of Indiana not being up to F1 standards he expects. Having also been to the race in Monaco, he does have a point.

  19. I was hoping they would consider Road Atlanta but,it is kinda in the middle of nowhere.Not enough lodging either.(I would love to see F1 cars coming downhill into turns 10A and 10B,good overtaking spot)But,it is in my backyard so,I suppose it is wishfull thinking.Laguna Seca is an awesome track,lets have it there or,Watkins Glen,Sebring, Missouri Mike’s backyard,hell I don’t care,JUST BRING IT BACK!!

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