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”

  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.
    http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2007/12/16/dont-blame-hermann-tilke-blame-the-rules/

  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!!

  20. @gman
    facilities in Istanbul are far from great from a viewers perspective and it is a hell of a job to get to the circuit. I think future US gp organizers should have the new circuit-if they build it- somewhere closer to the city centers.
    I would like to see the race in Road America, with some upgraded pits it will be great.

  21. The only best circuit for f1 in the states is laguna seca or maybe infineon raceway if they get the paddoks setup for it. What we really need is a F1 built track on the west coast asap.

  22. Gman – “Meadowlands Sports Complex”
    Now a fancy new F1 track there would certainly be impressive. You have all the transportation links in and only a stones throw from Manhattan.
    I guess with the cost of building it, you’d need a Nascar + F1 event each year to make it work. But then you’d think they could charge all those stockbrokers plenty of money for some weekend fun?

  23. Matt, a night race in Las Vegas would be absolutely amazing!!

    they couldn’t have it there in the day though, becase the last F1 race in Las Vegas resulted in poor attendance and racers being extremely dehydrated from the heat (desert heat is much harsher then say humid heat). Why not Los Angeles?

  24. Areez- While a night race with the casinos all lit up may make for a great spectacle, it would never fly as long as Bernie is in charge. As Chalky points out in post 7, Bernie strives to make sure GP start times line up as best they can for the European viewing audiences- therefore allowing his companies to charge the max rates for advertising. A night race in Vegas- even if started around 8 PM local time- would be in the wee early morning in Europe, and that would never fly with Mr. E.

    Chalky- Indeed, a track at the Meadowlands would be more than fantastic- all the perks and pomp of NYC just across the river, and within driving range for tens of millions of Americans. If the teams are looking for an ideal spot from a marketing standpoint, they won’t get a better one than New York. Finally, from a personal standpoint, it would be less than two hours from my home and would be just next to the brand-new stadium for my beloved New York Giants of the NFL- I coulden’t ask for anything better!!

  25. In browsing around for a bit more news on this topic, I’ve discovered another fantastic venue….New Jersey Motorsports Park, brand-new facility located in Southern New Jersey. If it’s up to F1-spec, it could be the PERFECT venue for the USGP!! It’s very close to Atlantic City, so Bernie and everyone can have all the fun of Vegas, and the teams can still go racing at a proper circuit. And it’s right here on the East Coast, very close to Philidelphia and just a few hours from New York.

    Take a look at the link and see what you all think-has anyone on this site been there before or know if it would mee F1 sregulations?

    http://www.njmotorsportspark.com/

    1. Atlantic City Casinos are know to be huge dives, attracting impoverished gamblers on regional buses…not high stakes camblers on private planes.

  26. I used to live in Indianapolis and went to every race. Don’t knock Indy – there is nowhere in the world that compares to it. It’s just unfortunate that they didn’t come up with a better road course.

    Unfortunately, track owner Tony George said in an interview with the Indianapolis newspaper that talks had broken off.
    http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080908/SPORTS0107/809080352/1052/SPORTS01

    Long Beach may not be too big of a stretch. I think that the race there is owned by George’s arch-enemy Kalkhoven, who’s Champ Car was driven into bankruptcy by the IRL. It is quite possible that Kalkhoven would love to stick it to George by snatching the USGP.

  27. Gman:

    That Thunderbolt raceway circuit layout reminds me somewhat of Brands Hatch. A tight wiggly bit out on a limb, attached to a fast, square-shaped section.

    Looks a if it’s not quite built yet though.

  28. Why not return to the glorious 50’s (when the Indy 500 was included in the Championship points) and include a US oval in with the mix of road courses? As a pure speed event, it would be fascinating to see what would happen. Maybe even NASCAR-ites would take a peek.

  29. Hmm…a United States Grand Prix…at the Meadowlands? Am I the only living person that remembers the Indy Car race by that name in the ’80s, on a street course within the Meadowlands complex? It seems even here in North Jersey no one remembers it but me, and it was reasonably well attended so that’s baffling. Major renovations there (new Giants Stadium going up and the old one still standing until spring 2010 at least, and construction of the Xanadu shopping complex) would make a street circuit difficult to lay out and a permanent one all but impossible, but I’d sure enjoy a 10-minute trip to an F1 race, so it sounds nice to me. Don’t hold your breath for NASCAR to come to town under such circumstances either…once International Speedway Corp (NASCAR’s even eviler track-owning twin, which is mainly in the business of running race tracks out of business) was rebuffed in an attempt to construct an oval in Staten Island, I think NASCAR got the hint that cracking this market would be harder than they’d anticipated and decided to give up.

    By the way, the CART “USGP Meadowlands” does have a Bernie connection…Bernie had hoped to hold an F1 race at Flushing Meadows in Queens, also on a street circuit, but when that proved impractical, the Meadowlands option surfaced…ultimately, though, Bernie lost interest and it was only ever run as a CART Indy car race.

  30. It would be nice to put it at Sebring

    1. Especially if they used the original 6+ mile track.

  31. AL MACDONALD
    2nd April 2009, 23:57

    As an expat F1 aficionado living across the pond in USA, i’d love to see F1 return. To date its been a shambles. Street circuits are so so boring & just don’t suit F! ( monaco being the exception for reasons other than the racing ) . I live in Vegas & went to the Indy thing last year. No real vantage points for viewing. Streets not suited for any kind of racing & generally a really dull event ( made you wished you’d stayed at home with your Playstation ) A long term commitment could maybe generate the huge income to bring an existing track up to speed, to compare with the recent ones purpose built abroad. Really hope somebody gets it together.

  32. I’d like to know if some channel in Orlando will show the Malasya GP.
    thanks

  33. Bryce Priggemeier
    3rd June 2009, 15:35

    A US Grand Prix at Thunderbolt would be absolutely superb. The facility is done (to my knowledge) and provides not only the top notch amenities that F1 types seem to gravitate towards but also accomodations for the tens of thousands of fans that would flock to a race such as the USGP. Monte Carlo it is not, but definitely worth a look-see from Bernie!

  34. I have been wanting to see the USGP for years. The wife and I were planning on going and then FIA jacked it. I do hope that the FIA and crew do bring it back. I know that we dont have many tracks that are as known world wide. As Spa, Monza, or Monico but it doesn’t mean we could have a race here. I would like to see Laguna Saca or the Glenn.

  35. Watkins Glen is where it belongs.. I know the track would need some work for F1 standards, and it’s in a very small country town, but it was the original location of the US gran prix, and it’s an amazing track.

    1. Actually, I think the first USGP was in Sebring. But I agree that Watkins Glen is the perfect place.

  36. It is a travesty that Formula One has as many races in Spain (Valencia and Catalunya) as North America, South America, Central America, Africa and Oceania combined (Albert Park and Interlagos). Formula One is already a specialist sport – the way to making it more globally great is not by leaving three inhabited continents (Africa, N. America and Central America without a grand prix). I live in Britain, but if I lived in one of the aforementioned continents, I could easily come to the conclusion that Formula One doesn’t care about us so we won’t care about it.

    1. In order to make it more appealing to US and Canadian crowds F1 needs to stop screwing up the race tracks with excessive safety regulations and allow for more passing. Watching parade by grandstands without anyone passing each other is boring.

      I prefer sports car and open wheel racing myself, but FIA needs to keep in mind that NASCAR races in the US have cars within inches of each other running flat out at 175-190 MPH. Leads can change twice on a single lap. They crash at that speed and the drivers walk away.

      Put more safety contols into the cars and take them out of the tracks so the drivers can race again and F1 will be popular here. Otherwise, we’ll continue to show more interest in the Rose Bowl parade, which is just like watching F1 in slow motion.

  37. well i think we should have to races in the u.s. it should be east and west. I think long beach is great because its an american version of monaco. It can maybe get some upgrades to make the track overall better because its short compared to monaco. finally i think the east grand prix should be road america because it has changes in eleveation which makis it fun. Please bring usgp back to Long Beach it already attracts a lot of fans!

  38. I’m coming to the party really late, but that’s when interesting things happen, no? 2 GPs for the states, no doubt. Have to start with one, though- Vegas could definitely put a decent street/racetrack course together. Cheap flights to there from the rest of the country, and no lodging problems. I’m suprised that no other Yank has mentioned VIR- although they have no lodging to speak of, the track is essentially Spa in the central Virginia hills, absolutely spectacular,so you have DC an hour’s helicopter flight away. My last time there, I watched some really rich guy at a vintage race put his ex-M. Schumacher Benetton into the guardrail at turn 6. Dang! Call Flavio.

    1. VIR is a nice track. I am in Maryland about 2-3 hrs away from VIR. I would make the drive for that.

      Now that rich guy I would have to say thats a case of too many dollars and not enough cents. :)

      Cheers.

  39. It was just announced a few days ago. Baltimore (Maryland) is going to host an IRL race, in August 2011. Now I am not much of an IRL fan but I would hope that the FIA will take notice and maybe consider bringing the US GP back and maybe in the Baltimore. I would say this is wishful thinking but hey one can hope.

    Cheers.

  40. Watkins Glen is the ideal location. It has the rich sports car racing history, and a track whose original configuration was built for F1.

    It has better proximity to major cities than any other race track in North America. Within seven hours driving distance are Baltimore, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Montreal, Toronto, Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh. This is a major reason why it is the top drawing road course in NASCAR, and one of the top 5 fan drawing NASCAR races overall.

    Finally it is in one of the most picturesque settings in North America in the heart of the Finger Lakes, which was the premiere wine region in the US before California.

    Invest in the track and bring it up for F1 sagety standards, BUT DON’T SCREW IT UP, as FIA is wont to do.

  41. IT’S IN AUSTIN NOW WE KNOW
    Being a foreigner, and also not living in the states, all i can say is if you get it right, your city and state will see the benefit, and believe that you are the envy of many countries and cities around the world. In some ways im lucky being in europe as we have so many choices of races to visit but the cost of tickets is ridiculous, where as with the spectators set up the way it is in america tickets will be significantly cheaper. all i hope is that this track is better than Tilke’s other efforts, which are quite dull, but to be fair he has to work to modern safety constraints – barrier placement, sufficient run off’s etc – that other older tracks such as spa francorchamps never had to worry about when they were built / designed. so once again, support it and enjoy it as if it works and you get behind it you will see the benefit that F1 can bring

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