New York F1 track plans revealed – Jersey City bids for 2012 night race

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

New York F1 track proposal - Jersey City

The plans for a New York Grand Prix have appeared online after an environmental pressure group criticised the project.

A 5.79km (3.6-mile) circuit in Liberty State Park has been designed and the organisers are hoping to emulate Singapore by holding the Grand Prix at night.

See the 2012 New York City Grand Prix plans in full below.

Update: The mayor of Jersey City says he doesn’t support the plan. More below.

The proposal says:

With the incredible backdrop of the New York City skyline, selecting Jersey City for the 2012 Grand Prix Auto Race Circuit will not only boost ticket sales as the Grand Prix returns to the United States, but will providing striking television footage. To maximize the dramatic effect, Jersey City could possibly follow in Singapore?s footsteps by holding the finals at night.

Pictured below is a generic circular circuit through Liberty State Park, which covers a distance of 3.6 miles, the area would provide the least impact to city functions, and the greatest possible space to accommodate ticket holders. As the park has 1,212 acres, with a significant portion dedicated open space, amble viewing facilities can be erected, with the potential to hold the largest spectator audience on record.

There are multiple ways to carve out the interior to make the course challenging with tight turns, great straights, plenty of options to place the pit, run off zones, team facilities, media center, and of course the paddock area.

However the planned space for the track to be built in looks distinctly cramped. Where is the room for the pit and paddock in their diagram?

New York F1 track proposal - Jersey City
New York F1 track proposal - Jersey City (click to enlarge)

The organisers point out this is just a preliminary idea for a circuit. Here’s the area they’re planning to build in:

View Larger Map

The organisers also expect Formula One Management to do a lot of the work including:

Planning, developing, logistics, marketing, and all necessary preparations to effectively carry out
the event.
Structures for media center, paddock and VIP areas, temporary meeting rooms, security control
tower, pit areas, team facilities, clubs, visitor welcome center, hospitality tent, and all other
necessary structures.
Providing ample portable facilities for visitors.
Obtaining all the necessary permits and licenses required to hold the event.
All equipment needed to stage the race as well as staffing.

It would be unusual for FOM to get so deeply involved with creating and running a race. But after 40 years of trying to get a race in New York perhaps Bernie Ecclestone is prepared to give a little more to get what he wants. On the other hand, it may just be a very optimistic plan.

Friends of Liberty State Park have criticised the plans, saying:

Whomever has proposed it to Formula I has no clue about the true purposes of LSP or about the park’s history of battles to protect public access. LSP is not a city property to rent out for the weekend and take away from public users who need it more than ever for the quality of their lives. LSP is a park for the people and is not a commercial venue. It’s arrogant for anyone to consider this use for our green haven.

Do you think the proposal is realistic? Read the plan in full here: Proposal for Jersey City Grand Prix (PDF)

Update: The plan could be dead already – the mayor of Jersey City says he doesn’t support it.

Read more: Ecclestone still chasing New York dream

167 comments on “New York F1 track plans revealed – Jersey City bids for 2012 night race”

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  1. Looks nice. But does it have to be at night?

  2. A night race in America is stupid.
    Normally, the justification for night or twilight races has been to cater to European viewers. If the race starts at 8pm, it’s 1am in the UK and even later in Europe.
    For people in Asia time zones, its a Monday.

    Having a daytime race makes sense.

    1. Yeah I wouldn’t care if it was 1am Sunday morning, but Monday morning would see virtually everywhere east of America tune out.

      1. Start the race at 6am and race into daylight!

  3. SciF1Droid
    4th May 2010, 8:47

    Doesn’t look like the track bodes well for overtaking, maybe one overtaking spot, but everywhere else looks like it’ll be a procession.

    Agree with the night time comments, great spectacle as it would be the time zone would make it illogical… Jim.


      This plan is a joke! It has to be, seriously. Most of those streets are 1-2 lanes wide (just zoom in), either they are going to pave 3-4 lane road everywhere around there (OMG, zoning will become a nightmare as half of NYC will probably be at the zoning meetings, it will likely take 3-4 years if zoning meetings in other states are any indication). I really doubt this plan is going to have a snowballs chance if they are going to place is somewhere this undeveloped and this contentious.

      But honestly, I wonder if Bernie chose this location and the organizers chose to make the terms so unpalitable that he would never want to do it in the first place. Although honestly, those terms are pretty similar to other terms that cities/states put on events that are hosted in the US, especially when the organization is demanding so much money to hold the event.

  4. The tracks looks quite natural and fluid. Nice.

  5. When I read “New York F1 track plans revealed” I do expect a bit more than what´s presented here.

    1. Is that a criticism of the story or their proposal?

      1. Thank you Keith for taking the information available and present it in a structured article.

        The track does seem to be somewhat of a sketch only without thoughts about viewer areas, pit boxes etc.
        I suppose this is only an offer of the opportunity available drawn after looking at google maps, not a track “design”. It uses a lot of the existing roads, but i think they would have to use some more of the infield for facilities.

        The night race idea sounds bad. A midday race would be timed better in Europe as well as in Asia.

      2. i think he means the proposal is a bit shabby at this time.

      3. I am disappoint of their proposal. Looks like it has been “designed” in 5 seconds. Not worth calling it track plan.
        “NY F1 track designer reveals colour of his felt pen”

        1. Honestly I for overtaking etc I think just using the purple road would be simply better would possibly give two overtaking spots. On the proposed track layout I see no obvious overtaking spots and as well pointed out where are they planning for pits etc?
          Consider this is a park with grass and trees I just don’t see either how the teams can bring in all gear etc and setup without trashing the place if pits will be as traditional on the inside field of the track. Idea of it is cool I just don’t see it plausible without to much destruction and all. But either way if race do happen there I would be there.
          Further night race? Does this mean quali on Fri and race Sat? Because due to timezones a late evening race would be very late Europe time. Not that 1am is badly late but still on a Sunday that means your not to bed until 3am or so on Monday. For me asian races works great with a start of 1am night to Sunday which allows me to sleep in on Sun.

          Just don’t seem very well thought out at this point and many things unanswered and not worked out at all just someone sketching on ideas more then reality.

        2. Vintage 68
          4th May 2010, 18:24

          Read it again. It is NOT a track design, just a “generic” idea of a track

    2. Same here. I thought it would be something like this:

      (dreaming) Where the track runs along Central Park, and weaves through the sky scrapers… (/dreaming)

      1. Prisoner Monkeys
        4th May 2010, 11:36

        The roads in Central Park are waaaaay too narrow for Formula 1, and there’s no way you could get them widened.

        1. They are not really that narrow. What about Monaco? At least these ones are straight?

      2. I thought I recognized that track. It is from Gran Turismo 4.

  6. I doubt Bernie would like them to run this at night. That would put the race time beyond midnight in Europe.

    1. perhaps ‘night’ could include evening, so a 5pm start would be 10pm. (i’m guessing 5pm would be getting pretty dark if the race was held in october/november…)

      1. Alternately, a night race on a Saturday night perhaps? It would be a change for F1, but not unusual for America and would come closer to being a decent time for Europe

      2. Assuming that the NYC race would be some time mid-summer (roughly when Canada is now), ending at 7pm would not qualify as “night”. It’s still early evening then.

        What I think would be really interesting is an early AM race, like 7am local. Seeing the sun come up over the city would be pretty interesting.

      3. Oct avg high 63°F, avg low 47°F, mean 55°F
        Nov avg high 52°F, avg low 38°F, mean 45°F

        I would say Nov would be pretty chilly in NY area esp for a evening race. Sun set is between 6:30 and 5:50 in Oct, 5:50 and 4:30 in Nov.
        (I like the layout of the Grand Turismo map ;) lot of long fast straights with heavy breaking zones, just don’t see it as possible to shut down those streets for a week or even just for 2-3 days with as heavy traffic they run)

  7. Who knows, they might run it on Saturday!

  8. There would be some nice views of the Statue of Liberty while going down the eastern straight, as well as Manhattan in the background in the corners in the north-east part of the track.

    As others have pointed out, running at night puts it in a bad position for us in Europe to watch.

    1. Actually Joe Saward had some think about it after reading the first information and gets more or less to the same conclusion as you.
      From what he writes, the location would be pretty good, having Ellis Island and New York in the background, a promenade with view on the hudson, a centre for showcasing technology use etc. Sounds like a good combination with F1.
      Send the critics to have a talk with Melbourne locals, and the only big issue remaining then is money.

  9. HounslowBusGarage
    4th May 2010, 9:07

    Bernie’s idea for the 8pm start is not intended for Europe’s convenience – it’s to make sure the entire US is able to see the race in comfortable hours. 8pm in New York is 5pm in LA.
    Obviousely, the track planning itself is at very early stage, so there’s no point commenting on that, but what’s the large structure top right of the track? There’s a huge car park and then either sheds or blocks of something; what are these?
    Bottom right, it does look a bit like a street track through an industrial park.

    1. Now THAT would be a switch if Bernie actually is setting a time that is convenient for the North & South American audience. No I don’t think that is the reasoning at all to be honest. If so why is Canada at None local time (9am pacific) and Brazil 2pm (8 am pacific). Far from ideal times for the western US/Canada. I sure hope that there might be some of it what your saying and that whom ever holds the race not only push FOM to provide a lot what is mentioned in Keiths article but also push for times that are good for North American audience and a date that will not clash with existing race categories in the US (Nascar & Indycar).
      Provide prime time coverage time that is not in direct competition to Indycar but especially Nascar because I know what race will suffer the most (and it’s not Nascar and probably not Indycar either for that matter).

  10. What surprises me about this proposal is that when we ran a “design an F1 track” competition here two years ago one of the winning entries used this same piece of land!

    Track design competition winners named

    1. But that track was designed with more racing ideas. Maybe they picked the idea from here in the first place. Great scoop!

      I would like to get Neils opinion on this, can you ask him to maybe get into his track idea for the area and comment on the proposal discused here?

  11. Nice Idea, I doubt weather the political red tape will see it through though,
    The area is a good spot for a race, (ignoring everything except F1’s interests), But the track shown is lacking, Now, I’m not Tilke, but even I can see how a better track could be designed, that silly section of the south will be boring, If your gonna have a corner, don’t do it for the sake of having a corner, have a good reason to want it there.

    Nice article Keith, I wouldn’t have known about it otherwise. :D Cheers!

  12. OMG it looks like a giant shoe! It must be some kind of joke, right?

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      4th May 2010, 9:44

      It’s a werid-looking foot you have if that’s the kind of shoe you have to wear.

      1. Your lack of imagination shouldn’t allow you to criticise my feet fella.

        Tip: left lower corner of the track is high heel.

        Tip2: Instead of shoe I should write high heel boots.

  13. Nathan Bradley
    4th May 2010, 9:41

    I don’t see room for the pits/paddock either Keith.

    Perhaps down the right hand side of the picture as we look, although I’m not sure of scale, so don’t know whether space is ample.

    A night race? Please, don’t have too much of a good, interesting diversion. Singapore and Abu Dhabi are enough. See Twenty20 cricket for an example of something originally a good idea, but taken way too far.

    And, as other people have said, it makes no sense to have a night race, because of the time zones for Bernie’s main market, his precious European viewers.


    P.S. I live in Europe, but do sympathize with viewers outside of Europe, for the sheer quantity of races run at night in other parts of the world. I know you can’t please everybody all of the time, but a little more even split might bring in more viewers from outside of Europe, and surely Bernie wants the most viewers possible for his $$$ right?

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      4th May 2010, 9:47

      Actually … the only races that are any problem for us in Australia are Canada and Brazil; we usually have to stay awake all night to watch the races. Assuming the race would be on at 8pm local time, we’d be getting it at 9am.

      Of course, given that the local broadcaster only cares about the Australian Grand Prix and puts every race on at around 11pm-midnight, I’d probably have to avoid the internet for the day to prevent spoilers.

      1. Nathan Bradley
        4th May 2010, 10:13

        Ah, in that case, apologies for my assumptions, should have worked out my time zones first!


      2. you really have to sort yourself out with digital tv. ONE show the races live, and usually the qualifying live as well (although sometimes delayed depending on their other saturday coverage).

        1. Prisoner Monkeys
          4th May 2010, 11:36

          I’m a uni student – I can’t afford ONE.

          1. I know I cant really comment because I dont know your personal situation, but you can get relatively cheap set-top boxes from JB-HIFI, Big W, Kmart etc. I havent checked prices in about 6 months but they were around the $50 mark, although with stock-take coming up they could come down.

          2. If you’re in a metro area you don’t even need a HD box, just a SD box. You can get them for less than $30 in some places.
            One only broadcast in HD in rural areas, but in metro there’s also One digtal that you can get on any stb

            and the Brazillian GP sucks as it’s always in the middle of exams, I can never justify staying up all night (unless I’m still cramming of course :p)

      3. Bit rich to comment on Channel Ten like that when the issue is simply that you don’t have a TV that isn’t archaic.

  14. Prisoner Monkeys
    4th May 2010, 9:43

    Yes, I called it! Back when Ecclestone said he was looking at a circuit within range of Manhattan, I predicted it would be in Liberty State Park!

    I have to say, I don’t mind it. I was iffy about the bottom half and the way it keeps bending back on itself, but what really stands out is that this is very much a circuit of two halves. The bottom half might be slow and folds back on itself, but the top half is looking very quick. Is there any circuit out there that has such a marked distinction?

    1. Old Hockenheim? The Indianapolis F1 track from a few years back?

  15. The Dutch Bear
    4th May 2010, 9:55

    When you start this race at the normal time, in the afternoon, it will be on television in Europe at around 7-8 pm, primetime. I can understand that Bernie wants to make it more comfortable for the Americans, but in terms of viewers primetime in Europe would be better.

    I know it’s early days, but I don’t like the track lay-out. Especially the bottom part which is full of hairpins. John Hugenholtz, the designer of the orginal Zandvoort and Suzuka which are both great tracks, always said: Please no chicanes and hairpins, only just as a emergency solution.

  16. re: prisoner monkey – one show ALL races live in Australia as well as qualifying (sister channel 10 show delayed telecast)

  17. Magnificent Geoffrey
    4th May 2010, 10:11

    Honestly, I will be amazed if this actually happens.

    (Also, hello to people reading this in 2012 – I was sure wrong on this one, wasn’t I?!)

    1. Bigbadderboom
      4th May 2010, 11:19

      Agreed, there will be far too much opposition to it, and there is no way Bernie is going to start getting his hands dirty again with all the nitty gritty. The FOM business model is designed for Bernie to have a packaged product he can sell. He may be looking to open the US Market but I doubt the motivation is strong enough to take such a resource heavy and financial punt at this time, it’s noit like he is short of takers at the moment either, F1 is very helathy in terms of demand for (and we all hate saying this!) “The Show” (Sorry!!)

    2. Yea, there’s no way this happens. Too many people will voice opposition, and the squeaky wheel always seems to get the grease over here.

  18. It is a good location for Grand Prix but I hope track layout won’t be so bland.
    I notice they mention ”finals” – do they intend to get the last race of the season? I really hope it will work but I think the best idea for F1 race which will trully get to make US fans love Formula 1 is to reinstate Indianapolis 500 as a championship event in a way. Maybe make it a part of the Indianapolis 500 weekend if there is room – crowds would be there already and Formula 1 on an oval would be interesting to watch for one race in the season…

  19. We dont need many night races in F1, we need to keep the spectacle. We already have a twilight race (Australia – although soon to be reverted to late afternoon), twilight/night race (Abu Dhabi) and a night race (Singapore).

    It would also be somewhat illogical to have a night race in the USA, as the whole idea of a night race is to improve viewing figures accross the world. In this instance, it would probably drop the viewing figures as it’ll be very late in the European Zone, and the start of the working day in Asia, Australia and the Pacific.

    I wouldnt mind staying up late to watch a race like the die hard fans in the areas mentioned above, but I dont think a night race in the states is either necessary or viable.

    1. Maybe quali Friday and race Sat. This would guarantee your not colliding with Nascar race on Sun (consider 30 some race in a year means hard time to Schedule and not conflict).

      1. Wouldnt work. Every Grand Prix in recent history (every race in the last 20 I think) has been held on a Sunday.

        There would be huge amounts of confusion and would completely throw out the entire weekend. All races are required to hold events over Friday, Saturday and Sunday (with the exception of Monaco, which has practice on a Thursday as opposed to Friday)

  20. I doubt it will go through… New Jerseans are attached to their quality of life space… and having the race at night is not practical by any means… new york and northern state have little electricity to spare.. first.. Obama is working on making the Country green… so forget about 26 fuel guzzlers running under the most electricity consuming lighting that can ever be created for a non vital issue… it wont happen… unless it puts 3500 people to work at least,,, and i doubt that

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