Ecclestone still chasing New York dream


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F1 raced in New York State until 1980

Bernie Ecclestone’s comments to La Gazzetta dello Sport about wanting to hold a New York Grand Prix in 2012 are an encouraging sign that he hasn’t forgotten the need for F1 to have a race in the USA.

He’s been pursuing his dream of a race in the Big Apple for four decades. But I see no reason to believe it’s any more likely to happen now than it was when the first F1 race was planned for September 1983.

Before anyone gets too excited, no, Ecclestone is not talking about taking F1 back to Watkins Glen. The the picturesque and rapid circuit, which held the American round of the world championship from 1961-1980, is now used by the IndyCar series.

Ecclestone wants to hold an F1 race in view of the city:

[It would be] in front of Manhattan in New Jersey, with the skyscrapers in the background. Fifteen minutes from the centre of New York to the circuit would be marvellous.
Bernie Ecclestone

This is not all that different to the event that was planned for 1983 near La Guardia Airport in Queens’, which was repeatedly postponed but failed to materialise. The 1983 race was eventually replaced by the European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch. The same happened again in 1985 but the New York race was once again given provisional status on the 1986 calendar before finally being dropped.

By a curious coincidence at the same time Ecclestone was pursuing his New York Grand Prix dream in the mid-eighties he was also trying to set up an F1 race in Rome. The project was similar to the one currently being mooted for 2013 and was even planned to take place in the same Espesizione Universale Romana district.

When the 1983 race was being planned there were already three American rounds on the F1 calendar. Today there are none.

Why is that so? Here’s an explanation Ecclestone gave two weeks ago for why F1 gave up on its last American home, Indianapolis, at the end of 2007:

It’s all the wrong crowd and the wrong people and they didn’t really… nothing worked there really, we’d have to have a big change round. But we’d like to get back there.
Bernie Ecclestone

One can only assume that by “wrong crowd” he means a big one, because Indianapolis never had any trouble attracting far greater audiences than we see at Istanbul or Bahrain. And this despite the farcical ‘races’ F1 put on there in 2002 and 2005.

But I don’t believe the ‘wrong crowd’ really matters to him. What matters is money.

Watkins Glen was dropped because it couldn’t afford Ecclestone’s prices. The company running the race it later went into administration. Nor was Tony George willing to meet Ecclestone’s demands for Indianapolis.

Who is he going to find in New York who has the money to fund a race in the first place and accept the likelihood of losing substantial amount of money on it every year? Most of the new races added to the calendar in recent years are in countries where the government is willing to pay huge sums to finance – something which is not likely in America.

Ecclestone has been trying to get a race in New York since 1970. In that time F1 has abandoned several potential homes for a United States Grand Prix including popular venues like Watkins Glen, Long Beach and Indianapolis.

I’m very keen to see F1 find a long-term home in the USA. Although I’ve no doubt New York would be a fine setting for a Grand Prix I’m not convinced it’s realistic.

F1 should go back to Indianapolis. Preferably the oval, but I’ll settle for the road course…

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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109 comments on “Ecclestone still chasing New York dream”

  1. I wouldnt mind seeing a preview of a new york race with current cars. but i dont think it will ever happen

    1. It won’t happen by NYC. Miller Motorsports Park is a great track layout. It is missing elevation change though. I’m sure the passing that would happen would make up for it though. Salt Lake City is only a half hour away! I know a lot of people can fly to Salt Lake. Not to mention, it’s beautiful out there! I’m from Philly area, so it isn’t a biased opinion what so ever.

  2. F1 should go to someplace like Laguna Seca or any of the other plethora of interesting road courses we have. Indy’s infield track is less than interesting to be honest. I’m with you that I’d like to see them run the oval (Indy is one of the few interesting ovals for it’s unique nature), but that’s even more unlikely. We’ve got so many great venues here, they don’t need a street course.

    …unless they had one in Cincinnati, of course.

    1. A race at Laguna Seca would be amazing! But from what I can see in the layout, and racing on it on video games like Forza, I don’t know if F1 could have a proper race there.

      For one, they would have to make major changes to the track and add a lot of safety features. Second, they would probably need to build a couple of more corners as they only have 11. It’s a very short track with lots of straights and not very many overtaking possibilities (1-2?). Also, the Cork Screw looks like it will eat F1 cars alive with the major elevation change.

      Road America would probably be a better choice, in my opinion.

      Again though… this is all based off experience in video games, so all of this is probably crap =)

      1. Yeah, Road America is another I’ve been suggesting.

        As far as overtaking opportunities, it’d be no worse than Hungary. The two main ones would be the 1st corner at the hairpin and then at the top of the hill at the corkscrew.

        Indy cars have raced there for decades with great races so I don’t see a reason why it couldn’t handle F1. Besides, they really need to pick a venue with some good racing history if they want to start drawing in American race fans. Most race fans in general will already be familiar with Laguna Seca and the corkscrew and have probably also been itching to see F1 cars wrestle with it’s fearsome drop and change in direction. Bernie seems like he wants lots of fans, well lots of race fans LOVE and know about that track. So to combine the two big names is going to draw a crowd.

        1. holy crap, run on sentence, much?

          1. No worries about the run on, I do it all the time :). And you’re right, after I posted that, I saw that Indy cars have been on the track many times, and Toyota even drove their F1 car on there. My apologies for lack of research.

            It is a huge name in motorsport and I would love for a race to be held there, its the closest big name track To me! I just think it needs a bit of work to make an F1 race there exciting.

  3. Although I would like a Grand Prix in the USA I am not really in favour of a New York GP because the main reason Ecclestone seems to want a race there is for the spectacle of having a race in a major city, the same reason we get rumours of a London or Paris GP every so often and why there is a Rome GP is in the pipeline.

    If one of these major cities does host a GP hopefully it will turn out to be a great race but that doesn’t seem to very high up on the list of priorities.

    1. Agreed. Personally, I think the thought of a New Jersey race with a view of the New York City skyline in the background is an absolutely ridiculous idea. It would not be an NYC race at all and I can only assume it would not be on a proper track. If they could do a street race in NYC which I think would be impossible) then I would be all for it.

      There are plenty of proper race tracks in the US and if F1 wants to be serious in the US market then they need to focus on a great race track with great racing possibilities. If they come over here and have some crappy race with the NYC skyline in the background, people will lose interest quickly (think Bahrain). If they go to Long Beach, Indy, Road America, Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen..etc, then just as Keith mentioned above, they will not have a hard time selling seats…

      1. exactly! Thank you! It’s like going to a pot-luck with all the best locally made dishes sitting out and then asking for a made-to-order steak.

      2. As a former resident of NJ, I can categorically tell you that an F1 race in an area Bernie is envisioning will never happen. There is no way the local governments and the residents will tolerate the logistical nightmare this will cause. C’mon…shutting down any part of the Jersey City/Hoboken/Edgewater area for a weekend when this area serves as an access point to Lincoln and Hudson Tunnels? For the amount of money Bernie is asking for? In an area where some yuppies and green people will slit your throat for even mentioning NASCAR? Nope. You’re never gonna get it, Bernie.

        1. You took the words right out of my mouth.

      3. London New York Paris!

  4. I remember you Keith saying Road America would be great for an F1 race, and I must admit you were right. Its a proper race circuit, not some street, or half street crap, like a lot of new venues are. I think one Monaco is enough, so no to New York.

    1. I’ll pretend that the Aussi GP isn’t a street track at this point….

  5. I know the die hard fans will disagree, but I’d love to see just one oval race. low low downforce, super high speed. I’d love to see that. I say stick the race on the Indy oval. The yanks would love it, and it would be something different.

    I’d rather that than another Tilke track.

    1. everyone loves to bash ovals, yet the names “brooklands” and “monza” are held in high esteem. ok, not 100% ovals, but monza was the best of both worlds. a modern oval/road hybrid would be outstanding.

      1. I too would love to see F1 run the full oval at Indy (or Monza). Add la Sarthe to that schedule and you’d have a great season.

        1. Can add my name to that list. I think even if only once that would be really fun to see. I can’t stand watching nascar but I occasionally check out a indycar race or even part of a nascar race (but since I don’t really follow nascar at all I never watch full races). I done a driving experience 3×8 laps in a nascar car on a small oval track (actually only 3 banks one longer and 2 smaller) and I’m in fit condition but I was good and sore the next day. Only did about 205kmph but the lateral force and the grip was intense and just follow lead car and driving was tough so after I have a LOT respect for the Oval track drivers that is doing this inches apart from a plethora of other cars. Due to banking the aero on the F1 is less important can follow close and overtake since you have multiple race lines. Due to DD drafting would probably not be possible today but with the future ban of DD’s good drafting would definitely be possible.

        2. You haven’t seen pictures of the monza oval recently have you?

          And before anyone says it to rebuild the track would be to destroy it in my opinion…

  6. it’s been said that bernie and tony george were no more than 10M USD apart, and widely known that sponsors were willing to make up more than that difference. i can imagine 1 finger being extended from 1 side of the table, and two extended from the other.

  7. Hello Keith, what do you think of the Portland, like Joe Saward advised a couple of days ago?

    1. Yeah Portland’s a nice track too – I did post a comment on there saying that!

      There are other tracks in America I like more – like Road America.

      But being realistic the only track in America at the moment which has the level of facilities F1 demands is Indianapolis. And that would be far better than nothing.

      The teams are already flying out to North America for the Canadian race so let’s bring back the double-header with the American round.

      1. That would be nice, having the american round back. A try on the Oval would be nice to do for a change, even though a lot of teams (and 1 special team) would probably complain about it.

        But Bernie would have to lower his demands a lot to get it done and Indy would make a great event again with maybe up to 500.000 people wtching?
        At 40$ that would make 20 million on ticket sales which they could split between them, next to the increased viewing in the USA.

        1. I think a race on a oval track in US could envoke a interest from the US people that are NOT following F1 and a small fan base could be picked up due to it and doing that for a few years could bring a large us fan base that previously ignored F1. Also doesn’t help that North America lost all their races last year and only 1 race this year. Plus we are getting entirely screwed on time of day for races with the tempering of race start times. All race starts are adjusted to better fit the Europe audience. Even Canada and Brazil race are adjusted to better suit Europe by running the races early afternoon (I’m central US the races starts 10 and 11am for Canada and Brazil. All European races starts at 7am and Asian races between 1am to 4am since they are all “delayed”. Before Australia was pushed up 2 hours last year I would go to bed at 1am after the race and I could sleep in on Sunday. Now race starts at 1am (can still sleep in). To be a F1 fan in the US take dedication or a good DVR.

          / Eje

          1. “To be a F1 fan in the US take dedication or a good DVR.”


      2. Portland has a very restrictive noise level requirement…..It’s the reason many domestic searies don’t run there anymore. Great track, a little short though, and that chicane on thr main straight has to go!

        1. Really? That’s a shame. It’s increasingly a problem over here too at tracks like Brands Hatch and Croft to name just two.

          1. I love the way people move in near historic race tracks then complain about the noise

    2. Fred Schechter
      25th March 2010, 18:12

      Having just run Portland in a 24 hour race ( total beaters it was a blast!)
      I would say no to that track for a few reasons. Mainly, it’s short, zero elevation, safety not at F1 levels by a lot and no real opportunities to make money in the grandstands like Bernie wants (though rain would be likely).
      As for Laguna Seca, the venue is nice, seating upgrades would be VERY VERY neccesary. Safety changes would be needed, but at least track interest would be high. It’s very much like the Sonoma Infineon track in that it’s got variety and elevation with some fast corners (I saw Schumi’s old car race there, and it felt like flying a jet in your bedroom, not enough room to stretch out). It feels like a slightly larger monaco however (or hungary) in that it’s not a large sweeping track like Spa or even the A1.

      To be honest the three best spots are Long Beach-fun interesting street circuit, go back to using the elevation changes up to the top (if you saw the last GP there you’ll know what I mean). The scene is AMAZING, the crowds are wild, and they appreciate racing. The other true option would be Vegas (build a better street circuit than the last one please,, or change the street circuit at the Las Vegas Speedway. Finally an option no one is thinking of, but would be fantastic would be to use the Fontana super-speedway, it’s “L.A.” (Fontucky) able to support a decent sized road course while integrating a bit of that “old American excitement” we refer to as an oval. (this is the part where I shudder in embarrassment).

      So to restate.

      1. Long Beach (street circuit)
      2. Las Vegas (new road course, maybe at the speedway)
      3. Fontana (room to make changes, a bit of an oval too)

      Last,, New York,, seating is too hard to implement (unless you go through the new giants stadium complex.) Zero elevation, and guaranteed concrete canyon racing (though you’d have some freedom in layout).

      Either way,if Bernie gets his butt over here, I’ll find a way to get there!

      1. Thanks for getting something on this from somebody who actually knows the tracks from his own experience.

        Long Beach would be a nice F1 venue, i am not sure about Las Vegas. Do the F1 people want to spend money at gambling? or will F1 lure new gamblers to the sport and Las Vegas?

        How does the Fontana course compare to Indy? Using the sports-car layout or motor racing (they use only the straight)?

      2. You’ve flown a jet in your bedroom?

    3. I lived in the portland area for most of my life, and as a Seattle resident currently, I would be ELATED to see a grand prix so close to home. The circuit itself is quite a good layout. Not to mention it would have a very high likelihood of rain for the race (unless it was late summer), which would make for very exciting racing.

      However, it would never happen. It lacks the scale needed for a grand prix, both in facilities and track length. The noise levels would be another factor, I cant see them getting around the noise legislation. It isnt up to F1 safety standards, or even close from the look of it. Also, portland is going to be even less likely than a city like Manhattan to foot Bernie’s sizeable bill for hosting a GP, especially considering public opinion. People seem to forget that Oregon is one of the most (if not the most) environmentalist states in the coutry. I can just imagine the outrage of the city’s residents at the idea of their government officials bending over a financial barrel to bring one of the world’s most un-green sporting events to the pacific NW.

      I hope I’m wrong.

    4. A while ago I cobbled together a hypothetical Grand Prix Layout for PIR. It’llo never happen, realistically, but it’s nice to dream. ;)

  8. by ‘wrong crowd’ I think Bernie means the managing body of Indianapolis, not the fans.

    1. Indeed I believe you are exactly correct. Problem is, the current IMS management has been focused on cleaning up what they see as a mess created by Tony George from his days running the operation. Most of that centers on the IndyCar split that he was one of the facilitators of, but it also involves F1 to a degree. The only way I ever see F1 getting back to Indy is if Bernie went begging and pleading with an offer of a next-to-free race fee. As you all know, I think there is a better chance of Monaco putting together a NASCAR event that that happening :)

      1. Fred Schechter
        25th March 2010, 18:12

        Nascar in Monaco, awesome!

        1. There’s a computer video on YouTube of Jeff Gordon doing a lap in his Chevy NASCAR…check it out!

  9. I’d love to see an F1 race in Manhattan, but I don’t see that happening any time soon for a multitude of reasons. Anything outside of a street race in Manhattan I think would be watered-down from the start.

    Watkins Glen would be another wonderful site for an F1 race (historical, picturesque, modern), but I’m not sure it lives up to F1 standards. It’s in a very rural area (VERY few hotels within a 1 hour drive, anything bigger than a “mom & pop” motel is over two hours away) – and probably doesn’t meet current F1 standards (too much elevation change being the primary issue).

    1. Actually, safety-wise I think the ‘Glen wouldn’t require a great deal of work. Most of the corners have large tarmac run-off and the esses the straight between the heel and toe of the boot now have the correct, high, concave safety barriers. I imagine that the Outer Loop (I’m sure that used to be called The Chute?) might need looking at however, as there’s little run-off *and* it’s off-camber. I know there’s a chicane before it, but it’s a fast one!

      I reckon the problems would be lack of facilities and the distance from a major conurbation.

      In many ways, I reckon the ‘Glen (circuit-wise) is pretty much the ideal venue for a US GP.

      Who’s with me? ;-)

      1. I think you’re confusing turns 5 & 6. Turn 5 is the “outer loop”, aka the loooong sweeper after the “inner loop”, and is VERY on-camber (it’s practically an oval track banking). Turn 6 is the “chute” and is the off-camber downhill right after it (into the “laces” of the boot).

        FWIW, they even added paved runoff into turn 5 this year, so that should be “kosher”. Turn 6 is slow enough that no further safety improvements should be necessary.

        The big turn that needs improvement is turn 11 (the right hander onto the front straight). I understand they did “something” there this winter, but I don’t know what. Previously it was really unsatisfactory IMHO – it was high-speed corner with the guardrail RIGHT there. Plus the tire wall they had in place was almost strategically placed to cause multi-car pileups when one car goes just slightly off-line.

        As Keith pointed out last year though – the FIA rules prohibit F1 from running on any track with any significant elevation change (Spa being the exception due to it’s “grandfathered” status). Few who haven’t visited WGI before realize just how much elevation change there is (especially in turns 2-3-4 and 6-7-8). As much fun and challenging as the elevation changes make the track, I could easily see it not meeting the FIA’s demands.

      2. Track length at the Glen would be another issue. I would expect the F1 cars to lap in the 50s neighborhood, possibly even quicker (40s or so). I can do laps a little over 2 minutes in my STREET car, and have seen much lesser race cars do laps in the 60 second range.

      3. Watkins Glen would be great…. what about Road Atlanta?

        1. @Scootin: you’re right, the Chute does indeed come after the Outer Loop. By off-camber, I actually meant the transistion INTO the Loop, where the camber is all over the place. Once in, it is indeed reasonably banked.

          I can’t see the elevation changes being a problem as – mostly – they don’t happen during the corners. Turn 11 is a problem though – I’d forgotten about that. It *is* a fast corner (I imagine that in a modern F1 car they’d be able to take the corner at 130mph+).

          As for the lap length, the circuit is almost 3.5 miles long and the last time F1 was there they were doing 1:40ish during the races so I reckon they’d get ’round in OVER a minute…

          What do you think?

  10. theRoswellite
    25th March 2010, 17:58

    Nicely put article…no punches pulled.

    My first choice, having beaten this drum before, is Laguna…with an extension and an upgrade. Add some interesting and high speed corners in the land to the northeast, old Ft. Ord, corners designed by, or with the help of, DRIVERS! We have so many intelligent, experienced and, I’m sure, enthusiastic American drivers that would probably enjoy participating in a project to build a permanent home for the US GP.

    There is no more beautiful area in the US than Monterey Bay, and it can hold the tourists (LA to the south, San Francisco to the north). Long live the Corkscrew!

    I also agree with Keith. If it goes back to Indy, just do the oval not the infield…it would be great to see F1 on a flat out full time American oval.

    Keith, did you notice no comments on Bernie (it’s a new me).

    1. See, I haven’t got that kind of restraint… :-)

    2. The people at Indy would never allow F1 to race the oval. The times would completely embarrass the IRL cars and the Indy 500.

      They did the same thing with the competing Champ Car series.. Any place the IRL raced that CC raced at they would change the layout to avoid an embarrassing comparison.

      The one and only place I’d like to see F1 in the States is Road America. Best natural terrain road circuit in North America! Sadly its not up to FIA standards and is in the middle of nowhere. I know I’d be there in an instant if they went!

  11. “What matters (to Bernie) is money.”

    Simple as that really. I don’t see a US GP any time soon while he continues to ask for ridiculous amounts of money. If he was asking too much of Indianapolis before the recession, he’s surely not going to get any more money now, and I doubt his financial demands have changed much since then.

    I keep thinking back to last July. Why didn’t FOTA just go for it and breakaway. They had the momentum, but they wasted their opportunity and now it looks like they’ll be stuck with BCE and CVC for a long time yet…

    1. my heart totally agrees with you, but you know bernie sweetened the deal to save his behind. besides, who would sanction it? the fia owns the titles, too. or would this devolve into boxing, with multiple world champs and none legit? maybe a huge race to unify the belts?

      1. I don’t think an F1 series made up of Williams, Force India and the new teams would have survived against a rival championships with all the best teams and drivers.

        Remember those rumours of the FOTA championships calender, with races in Helsink, Imola, Portimao, Indianapolis etc. That would have been great. And, most importantly, there’d have been no fat cats there to take half of the sport’s profits

        1. D’you know, I’ve been thinking the same thing for a while now!

          …but there’s this nagging doubt at the back of my mind: FOTA was mainly driven by the manufacturers, not the private teams. Given that, I could see down the line rules favouring said manufacturers, a little like F1 in the late 70s to mid 80s, when the power Renault, Alfa, Ferrari et al exerted over Balestre…

  12. You have got to laugh.

    Many believe that getting the USA on board for a GP is a golden goose that will lay the golden egg that will be the saviour of F1. It’s not. Too many times there has been a failure of F1 races in the USA.

    What makes me laugh the most is the number of Americans who continually spout the proverbial : “F1 needs America more than America needs F1”.

    Well, no, they don’t. And that’s proven.

    F1 is going along fine without having races in their country. In my opinion, America, and their apathy to F1 in general is the problem with having races there.

    When it comes to motorsport, they are an inward looking country that does not really try to get into international racing or events, instead focusing on domestic series such as Nascar and IRL competitions, which still does not boast international drivers or races like F1, even though they parade their ‘stars’ of Nascar on films and television (I have no clue who they are).

    F1 still is the jewel in the crown of motorsport, and their disinterest in F1 (even though there have been numerous tries to revive F1 there) should tell Bernie & Co to give up on staging an American GP.

    After all, they won’t like it if no yanks are involved. Americans struggle to have any interest in something that doesn’t have or involve Americans. F1 is one of those things.

    And if they are not going to stump up the money to host a GP, then leave them.

    The proper phrase is: “America needs F1 more than F1 needs America”.

    Now that is true. And that’s proven.

    1. How would you feel if F1 held an Oval race over there, do you think that would entice the American people into F1? I think it’s worth a shot!

      1. No, I don’t think that ovals hold any significance for F1, apart from that it is dangerous. Just like Nascar and IRL, crashes would be inevitable and myself, fans and those in F1 circles – unlike the USA – see crashes as a bad thing!

        If they did try races on ovals, Americans would say that F1 is copying Indycar and that Bernie & F1 is desperate to appease and appeal, and I don’t think that F1 has to or should try and copy or persuade anyone.

        After all, F1 shouldn’t follow, it should lead.

        I know that sounds cocky, but we shouldn’t stoop to going round and round in large circles with concrete walls in a bid to get Americans on board.

        Traditional motor racing circuits are the best way forward! If America is unwilling to provide that, then don’t go to America.

        1. Funny how CVC paid off the old owner of the Canadian GP (10 million) and cut the cost for the new group to 9 million (more then half off)…word is ,if the next USGP is not at Indy,CVC will have to pay 22 million.

        2. Personally (and I live the UK), I’d love to see F1 race on an oval!

          After all, the precedent has been set: F1 raced at Indy on the oval from 1950-1960. And let’s not forget the combined Monza circuit ;-)

          As a child of the 70s, I’m too young to have seen any of the above. I’d love to get the opportunity in the future though.

    2. Shallow, to say the least.

      Dose F1 still survive without a USGP? Absolutely, and it has without a French GP, and did without the almighty Canadian GP last year also.

      But would F1 be better off if the series could stage a successful event in the USA. Absolutely…and that is undeniable.

      If you look back at the repeated poor treatment dished out at American markets by Bernie and his people, it isn’t hard to see why few parties have lined up with serious intentions to host a USGP. Sure, many investors would love the chance, but you look back at Bernie’s history of verbal abuse towards all things American, plus his history of putting classic events like the British GP in jeopardy, and potential promoters turn to the many other alternatives that are available. Seriously, do you think promoters here watched the Donnington fiasco unfold last year and thought “We want that to be us next year”?

      Yeah, F1 is the pinnacle of motorsport. But over here it isn’t the almighty Holy Grail that you and others make it out to be….it’s just another option for quality entertainment. Donnington, the FIA/FOTA war, Crash-gate…all of those things take away from the sport’s appeal over here.

      Bottom line is that every other major sports and entertainment industry loves the American market, and having a successful presence here is only a good thing for them…and that is proven!

      1. I’ll have you know that the Donington fiasco, the FIA/FOTA war, Crash-gate… all of those things ADD to F1’s appeal over here!!

        Look at last year, the problems that occurred…. Wow! But even more amazing was F1’s ability to come out of it stronger than ever! If this detracts from an American viewpoint, then this is what F1 is, with as much action off the track as on it!!

        But another part of your comment says that a presence in the USA is a positive thing. That is true for most markets across the globe, but if the interest is not there then why should F1 try and knock it’s pan in trying to pull over Americans?

        Even without the shambles that occurred at Indianapolis a few years ago, it always seemed that the feel of the USA GP was shaky and lifeless, with no character. A bit like a Tilke circuit, really.

        1. We have a different interpretation, that is clear. But if you want some good food for thought, you should look at how big the European football/soccer leagues and teams are becoming over here. They know they will never challenge the NFL or NBA for pure numbers, but they are right behind them in many respects, especially with younger audiences.

          The thing is…those clubs and leagues make a good effort here. They stage events and games across the USA, put together good TV deals, and sell plenty of merchandise. If F1 even made a small effort like that, the results would probably be pretty impressive. It wouldn’t rival NASCAR, but to expect it to would be a failure from the start. F1 can build a successful fanbase here, on top of what already exists, but it takes some creative thinking and, perhaps above all, some optimism in the room :)

      2. In other words, Bernie’s meddling hands are the facking problem. The day he gets replaced is the day many a people will be happy.

      3. Does F1 still survive without a USGP? Absolutely, and it has without a French GP, and did without the almighty Canadian GP last year also.

        But would F1 be better off if the series could stage a successful event in the USA? Absolutely.


    3. I will agree with you that the US is not going to be the savior of F1, but just about everything else is absolute nonsense.

      America does not need F1, although I’d love it to be back. In a country that has roughly more than 1/3 of the population of all of Europe, I can guarentee you that a much larger percentage of the US knows about nascar more than that of Europe knows about F1. With that, there is no desperation for motorsports in the States.

      You also say F1 is doing fine without the US, which I think they’re holding their own, but if they’re doing fine, why are they looking for the goose to lay the golden egg to begin with?

      Is F1 still the jewel in the crown of motorsport? I mean they’ve had to get rid of some of the best tracks in motorsport to bring in the likes of Bahrain, Valencia, and Singapore because they can’t draw the money from those older, proper venues.

      The problem with F1 right now is Bernie is looking for a great location for a party, not a great track to provide great racing. You only need one Monaco, Indy, La Sarthe, or Daytona. Every race does not have to be the dream location.

      Start taking F1 to great racing venues and the crowds will follow. It’s pretty evident with the attendance stats now. So does F1 need America, maybe not, but we have a lot more venues here that would put on a greater race with greater attendance, than the likes of most of these new tracks have to offer.

      Bernie is all about the show, too bad the show is the scenery instead of the procession of cars running around a track

    4. Not all of us are like you describe! I grew up in upstate NY and attend LOTS of races at Watkins Glen from the 60’s till present. I’ve seen drivers from Jimmy Clark and Graham Hill, all the way to the current crop of drivers. I’ve “seen them all”. And I have been to many NASCAR races.. Formula 1 is the pinnacle of racing … period! If they had a GP at places such as Watkins Glen, Road America, Road Atlanta, Laguna Seca, ect the people would come in droves! We don’t want to see some “watered down street race” just because there are skyscrapers in the background! Trust me , “real race fans” don’t give a damn about that. But I’m sure the “beautiful people” that get all the pit passes at F1 races won’t agree. Natural terrain race tracks are where it’s at and Formula 1 is also!

      1. I wholeheartedly agree with you!

  13. My interpretation is that Bernie wants to cater for the elite crowds, so financially New York makes sense to him. Logistically it also makes sense in this ‘cost cutting era’, to have it back to back with Montreal. Unfortunately I fear it all comes down to money, and how much Bernie can pocket!

    I’m also with the minority (it seems) on having an Oval race and America is surely the perfect place to hold one! I don’t know much about Oval tracks, are any located in or around New York?

    1. No, the closest is probably “The Monster Mile” at Dover about 100 miles away. The thought of F1 cars taking on Miles the Monster

      does have a certain appeal though!

  14. As much as I love the idea of a New York city street race you have to remember that no other New Yorker probably would. And as much as I love the sound of F1 cars I don’t think they’d be very happy with the sound levels of cars screaming through the city streets. Remember this is a city of over 10 million strong, and based on a country that loves NASCAR and barely even knows what F1 is, I think you can see the growing negativity this could create.

    1. They aren’t talking about a New York City street race. They’re talking about doing it across the Hudson River in New Jersey, where you can see the New York city skyline in between the smokestacks and the drive-bys…..

      1. I hope that’s just a stereotype. I’m going there next week and everyone seems to think I’m going to get gunned down in the Bronx or something!

        1. It’s really just a stereotype, I was mostly kidding. However, most of the areas where I have been in NJ that overlook the skyline of NYC are very ‘industrial’.

          There are a lot of very nice and safe areas of NJ. Where are you going? Do you live in the America or are you coming from Europe.

  15. In US there are lots of great tracks.
    Unfortunately they are made for spectacle, not to make money as Ecclestone would like. Many of them are away from great towns, or in places where you cannot sell much more than … the race as it is.
    I think Ecclestone is pursuing the wrong side of what F1 should be.

  16. I guess by “wrong crowd” he must mean that there are more people with more money on Manhatten Island than there are in Indiana.

    Glad that he’s not thinking about an actual track on Manhatten Island, if the New York tracks in Forza Motorsport or Gran Turismo are anything to go by.

  17. Oh, yeah thanks, Bernie… thanks for ripping off my idea!

    Where did I put that licensing agreement…!

    1. Of course! That would be a brilliant track :-)

  18. Indy, on the oval (even if we have to have a mickey-mouse token infield with a sharp hairpin, to break the monotony).

    Since that goes exactly against Bernie’s “vision” ($$$$), then sadly it won’t happen :-(

  19. If the talk is of New Jersey, it could be something involving the Meadowlands Sports Complex. That area is home to a brand-new outdoor sports stadium that will house the New York Giants and New York Jets NFL teams starting this season. I believe CART may have put a few races on there back in the day, and that NASCAR was trying to stage something there, but it is flat ground and I don’t really know if it is exactly tailor-made for a Grand Prix.

    1. HounslowBusGarage
      25th March 2010, 20:27

      Yes, I was thinking about Meadowlands as well. But as I remember it, the track was ludicrousely narrow and unbelievably confined at the tight hairpin opposite the start finish.
      This is what it looked like
      and as it says on the site, it was just not long enough either. However, it cannot be beyond the wit of man or even Tilke to plan out a decent (flat) road course here.

  20. If Bernie really want’s a street race in the US, Philadelphia is the place to go. The most passionate fans in the entire country when it comes to sports, and anything related to their city. The Downtown center is one of the most beautiful in the country. It’s also a city with plenty of room for expansion, unlike Manhattan. It has a perfect mix of colonial and brand new architecture. It’s becoming a Financial center in the United States after the breakthrough with the comcast tower. There’s plans for a supertall skyscrapper to begin construction in june-july measuring 1500 feet tall.

    One can only dream…

  21. I will be at the Grand Prix of Long Beach this April for my first IndyCar race. Great race to watch on tv and I’ve heard it is better in person. An F1 oval race would be crazy. I could see the lesser teams get dome oval ringers from indycar.

  22. “Wrong crowd” = Racing fans, Not elites and dignitaries for old bowl cut to rub elbows with and feel important

  23. That’ll be so cool if a race was held just outside NYC. I live in Newport RI, which is about a three hours drive to NYC. It would very convenient because I have some family that live in Manhattan. I really hope that happens. That would be BOMB!

  24. If Fourmula 1 wanted to build a fan base in the US and present the crowd with exiting racing they could spend what it takes to upgrade Road America and we would have another Spa.
    But I guess they would also be the wrong crowd in Eccelstones mind. The frogs coming out of this mans mouth seems to be coming ever more frequently.

  25. Two words for you Bernie. Watkins. Glen.

    Keep the circus out of the city. It’s enough of a pain trying to get around there on a normal day.

  26. Sounds like Bernie wants a New York race pretty badly. I wonder if he would still take a fee for the rights to host the race or just give New York the race with no fee at all, like he does for Monaco?

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      25th March 2010, 22:56

      Before we had races in places like China, Bernie had been wanting them for years beforehand. The original plan was to have a Chinese Grand Prix as early as 1997 or 1998, to be held at Zuhai. When it finally happened, Shanghai still had to pay.

      Bottom line: New Jersey isn’t going to get a race for free just because they’re in America.

  27. Ecclestone wants to hold an F1 race in view of the city:

    ” [It would be] in front of Manhattan in New Jersey, with the skyscrapers in the background. Fifteen minutes from the centre of New York to the circuit would be marvellous. ”

    This sums Bernie’s point pretty well: he clearly focuses much more on what happens beside the track, in the background, not what is going on AS A RACE.

    What next ?
    A ride on the Great Wall, between the Pyramids, on the main LasVegas Strip ???

  28. I would love to see Watkins Glen or Road America host an F1 race

  29. There are so many great tracks in America, yeah they need some work but the should invest in restoring a great circuit instead of trying to keep creating lot’s of “Monaco’s” all over the world.

    1. No kidding…most of them are just big flat Go-Kart tracks

  30. F1 does not need a race in a parking lot in New Jersey. No one will be fooled that this is a race “in New York City.” For all the interest and catchet that location will have, it might as well be in the middle of Indiana, a day’s drive from any major city.

    On this point, maybe someone can explain the actual practical saftey condition requirements. Elkhart Lake is a pretty dangerous track, expecially the back straight were Katherine Legge had that horrendous wreck a couple years back. However, Singapore, Valencia, and Montreal are not excluded for having walls everywhere and a seeming lack of run-off in key areas.

  31. I would like to see a New York street circuit IN Manhatten :)

    Using Broadway as the main straight.

    Not sure New Yorkers would like the are closed for the best part of a week though ;)

    The US Needs a driver in F1, before they will accept a home Grand Prix again.

  32. New Jersey Motorsports Park ( is a brand new facility located between Washington DC, Philidelphia, Atlantic City, and New York. It may not have the NYC skyline in the background, but it would be a much better track than some temporary street circuit.

  33. Prisoner Monkeys
    25th March 2010, 22:45

    I’m no local, but a quick look on Google Maps shows there isn’t much to work with in New Jersey. Like most American citiies, it’s inappropriate for a street circuit because most of its streets are on a north-south grid pattern. There is the odd good-looking section of road, but unfortunately they’re all in suburbia, and so the population of NIMBYs will be pretty high.

    The only real solution I could see is an Albert Park-style semi-street circuit run through Liberty State Park adjacent to Ellis Island. Something like this:

    However, I’ve been told it’s actually pretty swampy.

  34. theRoswellite
    25th March 2010, 22:52

    (For GST: Never forget that the US has a long history of F1 involvement…the problem being that it was a “long” time ago. We had numerous world class drivers and the sport, F1 and sports car racing, was followed by many US fans. If the conditions were right that support would return.)

    For F1 to succeed in the US it needs a home, and not a mobile home. Not a street circuit of giant wire catch fences and temporary concrete walls. Something both beautiful and challenging. It could have been done….

    Try this: (Note: This press release could have been from any year in say the ’60-’80 when the US economy was strong.)

    “Goodyear plans to build a huge testing facility within 2 hour drive of the LA basin. It will be used not only for tire testing, but for automotive testing, as a regional airport with small aircraft manufacturing, the campus for a local community college, and – the home of the US Grand Prix.

    The Grand Prix will be a joint sponsorship arrangement with Ford Motor Company and the Chevron Oil Corporation. Some of the features of the track will be a 10 mile long straight which is rumored to be a future alternative space landing facility, a large banked oval which will also function as a 50,000 seat concert facility and a huge indoor pit facility which will allow spectators to watch the teams work on their cars while being protected from both noise and fumes. The indoor facility will function as the future home of the California State Fair.

    Additionally, 90% of the land is being donated by the BLM in agreement with Goodyear and the State of California to be established as a federally designated Wetlands Zone and Bird Sanctuary. The cosigners have agreed to establish and maintain this area under a 99 year lease.

    And finally, Los Angles County in agreement with 7 other surrounding counties, will establish free camping, hiking and recreation within a majority of this new facility. The goal for this project is to show that municipal, state and federal entities can cooperate with the private sector to promote the public good.”

    (Laughing can fade out)

    It would have been nice…..

  35. As mentioned elsewere dont forget the clocks(UK) go forward one hour at 26/03/10 01:00 GMT.

    1. Just realised its in the wrong post an wrong. F1 around the Indy Oval would be a sight to be seen, and worth seeing, but the powers that be dont listen to reason, because there not reasonable.

  36. It would be great t see a race in NY.. but like the others, I don’t see it happening int he near future, unfortunately.

  37. Prisoner Monkeys
    25th March 2010, 23:21

    For those of you plugging the idea of Formula 1 going to somewhere like Miller or Elkhart Lake or the Glen, I think you’ll find that of late, Bernie is in love with the notion of Formula 1 using circuits that were either built excusively for Formula 1 or built for Formula 1 first and everyone else second.

  38. I think Donnington serves a reminder when you get it wrong in the Bernie Battlefield.

  39. As a resident of NY and a huge F1 fan, I can say that the general population in this city doesn’t care about racing or Formula 1 nearly enough to deal with the logistical nightmare, and most of the businesses do not believe in the economic effect. Same for NJ – it’s even less likely to happen there with all the traffic snarls that would occur. And as for the outer boroughs, I don’t think those are the glamorous surroudings that Bernie is looking for.

    The only way it could ever happen would be if the American economy was suffering to the point that the Euro was worth $2.50-$3.00. Then the city and businesses would consider letting all the foreign money come in… but for obvious reasons I hope that doesn’t happen!

    In the meantime, what’s wrong with California, Bernie? They have money, they have glamor… it’s the “right crowd” and Monterey is especially beautiful.

  40. bernie is so full of s**t!

    hell be drooling over suitcases of money from another middle eastern govt long before he cares about fans.

    from my recollection the fans at indy were grass roots racing lovers keen to support F1. thats exactly what we want, those grandstands were packed! F1 let them down and who can blame tony george for not backing down to Bernies self interested demands (hes what the richest man in britain??)

    give us a break, mid america not stupid even though the cultre is pretty crass. why on earth would they want to pay hundreds millions to bernie and other euopean fat cats when they have so many great series that run awesome racing with good drivers.. perhaps not the tech or the finesse of F1 but without the arrogance.

    dont get me wrong i love F1, but lets be realistic here! the US has a lot of great input for racing and F1 could be learning a thing or two from them!

    shame there wasnt more support from europe for USF1…

    1. Bernie is a moron. “Hey, we gave you a 6-car race for your 200,000 strong crowd. Now give us $50m/yr to keep the race.” I don’t like Tony George but I don’t blame him for telling Ecclestone to take a hike.

      That said, though, the crowd was only that big because the ticket prices were so cheap, at $85 for the best seats.

  41. Who cares if there is a race in the US or not? They don’t have any tracks that F1 could race on. Leguna Seca is nice, but unusable by F1 standards.

    An extra street race is the last thing we need.

    I guess Ecclestone wants them to make more money, but that man is going to be the death of the sport. If he keeps lining his pockets and those of the investors instead of investing money in the series (ie not strip mining the people who host the races for insane amounts of money) then we will be left with boring tilke races that no one will want to watch.

    Can you even see the New York skyline from New Yersey? Let alone from the track.

    Don’t even get me started on ovals. Those things are simply ridiculously dangerous. I’d love to see F1 cars on there once for the novelty of it, but it’s just not worth it that one of them might die just for some novely fun.

    F1 cars aren’t even built with the safety features in mind for an oval. Look at how part of an oval nearly killed Ralf Schumacher

    The US has enough racing series of it’s own. Why would they be interested in what is essentially a European racing series? Especially at the FOM’s insane prices.

    I guess the big question is, what is so important about racing in the US? Besides money.

    1. I agree.

      Unless the USA gets a circuit that’s FIA approved and up to F1 standard and gives the fans decent racing then it’s not worth going there.

      Formula 1 should not go to America ‘just because it’s America’. FOM should be getting back to the older European circuits and upgrading them to bring back F1. Hell, once Donington is upgraded and out of problems, F1 should go there too!

    2. There are plenty of places in Jersey where the NYC skyline is in full view, but most of those roads are residential, meaning that there is about a 0% chance they’d let an F1 race come in for a weekend.

      Racing in the US is important, though… we may have been overtaken by China but we’re still the 2nd largest auto market in the world, not to mention other goods and services that are marketed by Formula 1 sponsors.

  42. If it was in Manhattan they could use the central park ring for part of the track. That would be awesome!

    1. Prisoner Monkeys
      26th March 2010, 11:44

      The roads are way too narrow, and the circuit would be way too long.

  43. lol “the wrong crowd”…

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