Monticello Motor Club making United States Grand Prix bid

Monticello Motor Club circuit

Monticello Motor Club circuit

Monticello Motor Club is making a bid to hold the United States Grand Prix.

According to Autoweek the club’s 6.59km (4.1 mile) track has already been inspected by F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke.

A letter from the Monticello Motor Club president Ari Strauss reads:

A few months ago, [MMC chairman] Bill McMichael and I met with Bernie Ecclestone, President/CEO of Formula One Management (FOM), and discussed the terms for an exclusive 10-year United States Grand Prix to be hosted at MMC.

Shortly thereafter, Hermann Tilke, the chief engineer and circuit designer for F1, spent time at MMC and confirmed that our track and surrounding properties, with some expansion and minor track modifications, is an excellent location for a Grand Prix.

Since receiving a letter of understanding from FOM confirming their hope to bring the U.S. Grand Prix to Monticello, Bill and I have continued to secure the backing and support of local, state, and federal politicians and organizations.

Earlier this year Ecclestone said he didn’t intend to take the United States Grand Prix back to Indianapolis because “It?s all the wrong crowd and the wrong people.” Is a private motor club a better fit with his view of where F1 should be racing?

This line from the letter seems to suggest fans wishing to attend the race may have to become members of the club:

If F1 comes to Monticello, our intent is to preserve MMC as, first and foremost, a private country club. Obviously, demand will accelerate as well as the initiation fee for new members.

Or they might just be hoping the increased publicity for their club gains them new members.

Ecclestone has been chasing a Grand Prix in New York for decades but Monticello would not satisfy his desire to have a race within sight of the Manhattan skyline – a dream the aborted Jersey City project would have fulfilled.

Could Monticello be the destination for F1’s return to America? Have your say in the comments.

Monticello Motor Club video lap

Monticello Motor Club location

Location of Monticello Motor Club circuit below. The satellite image appears to have been taken before the track was built in 2008:

United States Grand Prix

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122 comments on Monticello Motor Club making United States Grand Prix bid

  1. DanThorn said on 21st May 2010, 11:00

    Looks good, some nice corner sequences in there. As long as they use the perimeter road and dont neuter it with acres of run off it should be a decent starting point.

  2. GeeMac said on 21st May 2010, 11:01

    I quite like the look of that track, but I fear that it will be a shadow of its former self once they let Hermann Tilke loose on it. Roll on acres of tarmac run off…

  3. Prisoner Monkeys said on 21st May 2010, 11:02

    Autosport have picked up the story now, and I just spotted something I missed in this article:

    A few months ago, [MMC chairman] Bill McMichael and I met with Bernie Ecclestone, President/CEO of Formula One Management (FOM), and discussed the terms for an exclusive 10-year United States Grand Prix to be hosted at MMC.

    I’m guessing the response from Ecclestone may have been somewhat positive. Strauss wouldn’t have mentioned meeting with Ecclestone and Tilke at all if there was nothing gained from the meeting.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 21st May 2010, 11:27

      You missed the fourth paragraph? :-P

      I have to say, it looks only slightly less optimistic than the Jersey City one to me.

      • Prisoner Monkeys said on 21st May 2010, 15:01

        Hey, I had the opportunity to get the first post. Of course I wasn’t paying attention.

        And while it’s certainly written in an optimisitc way, it stands to reason that if Strauss’ meeting with Ecclestone went badly, he wouldn’t mention it at all. And if he did metion it, it wouldn’t make its way onto the internet and get picked up by major news sources.

        Interesting that they don’t metion a date for the race. Of course, being May 2010, it’s probably too late to get a 2011 start – unless they go for later in the year. But I doubt that would happen.

  4. Nixon said on 21st May 2010, 11:03

    I think this is the best Formula1 track, and i’m not even american! But really as soon as my eyes fell on the track layout i fell in love with it. i hope F1 geos there.

  5. Ned Flanders said on 21st May 2010, 11:07

    Nice idea, but is it going to happen? Nope. Michael Schumacher will confess all of his racing sins before there’s an F1 race at Monticello. It would cost about $100 million to bring it anywhere near F1 standards

    • Alex Bkk said on 21st May 2010, 11:14

      Ned, Prisoner Monkeys mentioned a 10 year contract. I certainly think that over 10 years a very reasonable profit could be made even at 100 million…

      • Ned Flanders said on 21st May 2010, 12:59

        As long as Bernie and CVC are in charge, no circuits will ever make a profit. Even if they charge a smaller race fee than they would elsewhere it’ll still be an awful lot of money

  6. W-K said on 21st May 2010, 11:27

    If they insist on member only, then according to

    http://monticellomotorclub.com/_uploads/Jalopnik080108.pdf

    the initiation fee is $125,000

    • W-K said on 21st May 2010, 11:29

      I also meant to add that the circuit map/location, for once is better seen using mapquest, instead of google maps.

  7. Woffin said on 21st May 2010, 11:29

    Looks like a decent enough track but when you compare it to even the new section at Silverstone (which is a privately owned circuit that complies with modern F1 standards) then it’s got a lot of butchering ahead of it before any F1 car races there…

  8. Marc Connell said on 21st May 2010, 11:46

    looks good but i think drivers wont like it.

  9. Gator said on 21st May 2010, 11:46

    I’ve driven the circuit as well. It’s wonderful and easy to get to. If they hold an F1 race there, it will be open to spectators, not just club members. Here’s a full lap HD video at higher speeds in a Porsche Cup.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ba8rEkO8C-A

  10. maciek said on 21st May 2010, 11:55

    Hmm… popularising F1 in the states by holding a GP at a private country club – if you wanted to dream up a sure-fire way to grate on American sensibilities you would be hard pressed to do better than this. Especially given where the country’s economy is at and popular resentment at big money right now.

    Good track or not – this would only top the PR disaster that was the six-car non race at Indy.

  11. mmt said on 21st May 2010, 12:00

    I agree with most of the comments, looks great, but scared bernie et all will pressure them to add too many great big ugly run offs and it’ll ruin some of the nice rural-ness

  12. Monticello excites me, its such a wonderful flowing circuit and harks back to the good old days… which is its failing in the current guise. As already said, it would need a lot of work to bring it top current F1 standards, but if they did decide to do that and keep the current layout of the track, this would be a very welcome addition to the calendar in my view.

    Unfortunately, I agree with Keiths earlier sentiment…

    Quote – “I have to say, it looks only slightly less optimistic than the Jersey City one to me.”

  13. BMW said on 21st May 2010, 12:25

    there is a lack of run off areas.. :(

  14. sheep said on 21st May 2010, 12:28

    I’m sorry but ONE helipad? That’s plainly not sufficient for F1’s needs P:

  15. Bartholomew said on 21st May 2010, 12:48

    I´m sure that Keith will want the simplified outer layout !
    Me too !

  16. m0tion said on 21st May 2010, 12:53

    Too bumpy and narrow and lots of trees to go for run off and they would have to build a Berlin wall to keep out that riff raff from Scranton PA to get Bernie’s tick.

  17. S Hughes said on 21st May 2010, 12:56

    It would be great to have a GP in America again but maybe not here if they only let members attend. The attendance at GPs is iffy anyway, this would make it even worse. What do they mean “the wrong type of crowd”. Sounds like a pathetic excuse to me.

  18. Icthyes said on 21st May 2010, 13:08

    Depending on what configuration they use, it could be a really good venue – better than the infield at Indianapolis was.

    My favourite choice would be racing on the Indy oval. When Bernie says “wrong people”, he’s of course talking about the same old thing, $$$$. Although I’d welcome any USGP anywhere, the Jersey city plan sunk my heart a bit, and was blatantly motivated by money and little else. Going to MMC will have exactly the same motive, of course, but at least it isn’t a joke of a track.

  19. Arun Srini said on 21st May 2010, 13:27

    i think this track is fantastic , turns 4-7 the kink, i think there are loads of overtaking opportunities. As nothing good is happening with F1 from the tracks perspective lately, I don’t think we’ll get this circuit or they’d probably add more chicanes for ‘safety’ purposes and suck out the soul of racing… damn my nerves are hot

  20. John H said on 21st May 2010, 13:35

    Part of the MMC member letter:

    “Shortly thereafter, Hermann Tilke, the chief engineer and circuit designer for F1, spent time at MMC and confirmed that our track and surrounding properties, with some expansion and minor track modifications”

    ‘minor track modifications?’ Please god no!

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