Ecclestone wants six USA races on 25-race F1 calendar

2016 F1 season

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Bernie Ecclestone wishes to expand the F1 calendar by adding five more races in the USA.

The F1 boss said the sport is “trying” to arrange a new street race in Las Vegas in addition to the existing round at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas. “We’re encouraging a lot more street races,” he said.

Asked how many races F1 needs in America, Ecclestone said “really and truly we need at least six.” However he indicated a proposed race in New Jersey, which was first planned for 2013, will not go ahead.

Ecclestone was speaking to businessman Sir Martin Sorrell, who is a non-executive director of Formula One Group holding company Alpha Topco, in a wide-ranging interview at the Advertising Week Europe 2016 conference.

This year’s record 21-race calendar could continue to expand in the future, Ecclestone indicated. “I suppose in the end we could have 25 races,” he said. “The problem what restricts it is the teams because at the moment the staff’s all on the limit. So we have to be careful.”

Along with an increase in American rounds of the championship, Ecclestone also wants to see F1 return to South Africa. “They’re rebuilding Kyalami so we’re going to have a look at it again,” he said.

Ecclestone also reiterated his view that Formula One does not need to retain races in Europe including the German Grand Prix, which was missing from last year’s calendar.

“I was told there couldn’t be Formula One without the French Grand Prix,” he said. “Still going, no French Grand Prix.”

“I wish we had a French Grand Prix and I hope we continue having a German Grand Prix,” Ecclestone added.

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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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73 comments on “Ecclestone wants six USA races on 25-race F1 calendar”

  1. Bernie should really look into standup comedy for the short amount of time he has remaining on this planet, he would sell out arenas in no time at all

    1. Sometimes, I really do enjoy Bernie’s responses.. There’s just so much.. ”I’ll do what I want anyway” shining through as the undertone of pretty much anything he says. It’s entertaining at least

    2. Dan Rooke (@geekzilla9000)
      20th April 2016, 6:01

      In order to stop the calendar getting too busy, he could always get rid of some of those silly European races like the British, French, Belgian and German Grand Prix and still keep 21 races but have more in America and the Middle East.

      Because why bother to have F1 in the places where the fans are?!!

      1. The French GP would be beneficial to him… He could hold it at the Paul Ricard circuit for free, charge his entry fees and still potentially make a huge amount of money… That was a great circuit with a straight that puts China to shame…

      2. You left out the Italian GP. It’s just Ferrari after all.

  2. He needs to be sectioned for his own safety.

  3. As an American that sounds fantastic! ….and ludicrous. Can someone help Bernie find his marbles. He has without a doubt lost them.

    1. You beat me to it. Definitively lost his marbles

      1. 52 races a year, all for double points.

        1. with sprinklers!

          1. Don’t forget the Saturday sprint race that’s 104 races

  4. Balderdash. If he wanted some US Street tracks he would have made New Jersey and possibly Long Beach happen. I’m sure he could have persuaded CVC to invest some of the tens of millions of dollars they bleed away from F1 back into it if it helped them make even more money in the future. I still haven’t got over the collapse of the New Jersey plans, still gutted.

    1. D:Reid, in the case of New Jersey it seems that the developers had no real intention of creating the circuit and used the event as a way of circumventing the planning regulations. As for Long Beach, the organisers were being threatened with legal action by the IndyCar series over a non compete clause that the IndyCar series inserted into their contract to block F1 from using the circuit.

      1. I wish F1 fans would just forget about Long Beach. It’s very scenic but the circuit is simply much too narrow. The result is endless accidents, crashes and safety cars. I love street circuits but the racing in Long Beach is abysmal.

        1. Crashes for whom? We just went flag to flag with NO yellow. You gonna tell me that the Indycar boys can do it but the supposed “best” drivers in world cant?

  5. Next: North Korea and Syria.
    And maybe 2-3 additionnal races in United Arab Emirates, because they have a lot of dolla…. sorry, a long love story with F1.
    All of them will be street races with 90% of 90° corners, and 90 spectators in the grandstands.


    1. @bebilou True problem is that that 90 spectators will be Bernie’s target audience, Rolex owners, Sheikhs and Dictators

      1. indeed, Bernie will just point at the buying power for the lucky few who get invited to he Race in that cas!

    2. Class Comments!! 90s Spectators…

  6. Maybe it’s just time for the media to stop reporting on what Bernie says. That way maybe he will fade into obscurity and get the hint that it’s time to retire, giving the reins to someone who might start to manage the sport with a long term plan.

  7. He isn’t wrong. If F1 want to conquer the US, they’ll need more races there. 5 sounds a bit much, but maybe 3 would be good. He is also right that we can do without some of the European races. The German Grand Prix for whatever reason fails to attract fans. It can be dropped without much consequence for F1. Also in my opinion they should drop the Spanish Grand Prix, it just isn’t producing exciting races (it’s at the bottom-end of circuit-ratings here at f1f). Finally they should also drop Abu Dhabi, which isn’t ranked very highly either. So it is fully possible to add 3 American races, without the need to extent the calendar.

    1. @me4me The problem is, Abu Dhabi (and most of the other dross tracks in backwater deserts and oligarch playgrounds) pay more than anyone else to be there.

      Bernie’s quote has been edited… what he really meant was:

      “I wish we had a French Grand Prix, but they can’t pay for it and I hope we continue having a German Grand Prix, but only as long as they pay for it!”

  8. Well, considering that the US has the best selection of race tracks on the planet, it is criminal that they are largely overlooked by America’s top domestic championships and completely ignored on the international scene. But as far as I’m aware, only two tracks come up to F1 standards, being the Indy road course and, obviously, COTA. So realistically, Ecclestone would need at least four more new Grade 1 tracks to be built in the States (or bring some current ones up to standard, which of course will involve butchering them). That’s not going to happen, nor do I particularly want it to happen. I would love to F1 visit America more often, but on tracks like Road America, Road Atlanta, Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen, etc. If it’s just going to be another Tilke-drome, a soulless street track in a disinterested city, or, worst of all, a butchered classic, then I see no reason to get excited.

    1. RaceProUK (@)
      19th April 2016, 22:29

      Road America would be a good track to have on the calendar, and it shouldn’t be too difficult to get it to Grade 1 standard; the layout allows for plenty of run-off to be built in all but one place, and even that corner (the first tight left), there’s room to do something. The pit facilities would need a major overhaul though, but again, there’s plenty of room to do so.

      1. I am excited for the Indy race at Road America this year! It is a classic venue, and I would love to see it obtain the proper rating to host F1.
        Kyalami, on the other hand, not so much. It is very different now, only retaining a few corners from the old track, and seems rather cramped for F1.

      2. If F1 went to Road America, they’d have to either run the chicane version of The Kink or they’d be forced to cut down all the trees and add a parking lot runoff to the outside. If those two, id be praying. They just run the chicane because God help us if they neuter that corner. It’s frightening even in lower powered cars and it’d be a shame to take away its challenge. Also, they’d be forced to pave and extend the runoff for Canada corner. Also a shame. So I don’t really want F1 there.

    2. The corkscrew in an F1 car would be… Urgh… Interesting…

  9. Too much races, I don’t need it.

  10. They could hold 3 in the UK and sell out every one still. Reduce the price to something reasonable and they could probably sell out 5 or even more.

    But the US? Didn’t the struggle to fill Austin already? They could easily add the New Jersey race and that will do well, but another 3 as well?

    1. They filled Austin for the first 2-3 years but then all the Mexican’s went to their home race instead for 2015, so the numbers dropped off.

      1. And the weather was terrible.

    2. They didn’t struggle at all to fill Austin when the weather cooperated. The fact that a hurricane was coming in from Mexico that same weekend kind of got in the way of most people’s travel plans.

  11. A lot of us here are calling for Bernie to go away and for F1 to have new leadership. My question is,”Who?”
    Who now should be in charge of FOM and F1? Could be an interesting poll to have here.
    I am and always will be a Ferrari fan. I love them but I must admit, I do like a lot of the things Christian Horner has to say about what needs to happen for the sport to continue and grow. He is young and intelligent and could be a great leader for the sport.
    Would love to know what other F1 Fanatics think.

    1. @eoin16 alex wurz. already doing a lot for the gpda, he would be a terrific leader.

      1. @rigi, Been listening to Peter Windsor huh? ;)

    2. I think Horner’s suggestion of Ross Brawn would be good. I think he not only has the technical know-how but seems alot more sensible and measured than ecclestone and todt.

  12. Robert McKay
    19th April 2016, 22:20

    “Ecclestone wants 5 races on Mars as part of 33-race interplanetary calendar

    Bernie Ecclestone wishes to expand the F1 calendar by adding five more races on the Red Planet.

    The F1 boss said the sport is “trying” to arrange a new race round Olympus Mons in addition to the existing round at the Opportunity NASA base. “We’re encouraging a lot more low-gravity races,” he said.

    Asked how many races F1 needs in the Solar System beyond Earth, Ecclestone said “really and truly we need at least eleven.” However he indicated a proposed race on Pluto, which was first planned for 2037, will not go ahead since “Pluto isn’t a proper planet”.

    Ecclestone was speaking to businessman Sir Makeity-Uppity, who is a non-executive basketcase of Formula One Group holding company Gamma Flimflam Alpha Zulu, in a wide-ranging interview at the United Federation of Planets 2026 conference.

    Sorry Keith, I had to “borrow” some of your article, for my own only-slightly-less ridiculous version.

    1. If this doesn’t make comment of the day then I don’t know what could qualify sir, amazing!

    2. hahaha XD absolutely awesome comment, all time favourite!!

    3. LMAO! Were you a writer for Monty Python?

    4. I came out of retirement to give this a +1.

    5. Can you imagine the regulation adjustments for improving downforce at a low-gravity event?

  13. ColdFly F1 (@)
    19th April 2016, 23:15

    I don’t think it’s that ridiculous.
    If we can have 3 race in the desert, then we can have 6 in the USofA (or maybe North America with 4 in USA).
    The only thing they have to resolve is how to manage more than 21 races in a season. Maybe stay longer on one continent with weekly races; maybe visit places every 2nd year; maybe shorter weekends and/or double crews (funded by Bernie). Surely that can be solved.

    1. Race-sharing only works within countries and even then, only if the facilities are already built or there’s a huge amount of private investment. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to make it work in the US, where each state would baulk at the idea of supporting an F1 race only to get glory every other year.

      If the calendar needs to get compressed, they need to basically plan it properly so every race is a double-header in the appropriate part of the world. Unfortunately, because of climate & weather, this isn’t always ideal, plus there’s the current mandate that unless the race is flood-lit, it has to finish at a certain time before sundown, which often goes against TV scheduling plans.

  14. Tokey Mctokeface!

  15. Next we’ll be seeing images of Bernie with a thick gold chain and a baseball cap trying to be all gangsta.

    Was it really Bernie they interviewed of did Lewis have a Bernie Doll on his lap ?

  16. I’m sure he’s talking about some Scaletrix championship

  17. I’m pretty sure at the start of the season Bernie said 21 races were too many and they should never go over 20.
    Now he wants 25.
    Common signs of dementia
    Memory loss
    Impaired judgment
    Difficulties with abstract thinking
    Faulty reasoning
    Inappropriate behavior
    Loss of communication skills
    Disorientation to time and place
    Gait, motor, and balance problems
    Neglect of personal care and safety
    Hallucinations, paranoia, agitation

    1. One size small straitjacket please.

  18. Unfortunately I can see the writing on the wall. To fit in all these races he wants, Bernie will drop the ones that don’t matter to him. As an Australian, I just know that will be the Aus GP because our location is so far away, we refuse to play ball and make it a night race and the main reason, it is the peoples race. The grand stands and grass banks are packed with everyday people that love motoring racing, not corporate boxes with business men that couldn’t care less about whats going on.

    1. 5 or 6 in the US? I’m a Canadian and if we had an extra in Canada the Montreal GP would lose its prestige…. This guy is such a moron it literally isn’t even annoying anymore but rather sad….I told my mom last week I thought my grandpa was starting to lose it a bit….Bernie has 6 years on my grandpa

  19. And i think The most Street races of indycar is super boring. Formula one cars should race more of real tracks, magny-cours, San Marino or turkey. Laguna seca if they fix it up.

  20. There are a whole lot of brilliant tracks in the USA. Just watch the IMSA calender, each track is simply a legend. However, many are not F1 suited and never will be. I do think they should work on adding Road America and perhaps an other race in South America.

  21. 25 races, no problem.. I could watch it every weekene.

    US should have as many races as Europe.

    That beingnsaid Italy could have two, Britain could have two, Germany cold have two, France could have 1.

    And teams are already stretched thin. Maybe move to 30 races and have teams operate two crews. Naturally pay for extra manpower.

  22. Frankly, I find 21 races too much already. I’m a big F1 fan and aim to watch at least qualifying and race in full (if not always live) but I also have a family and other commitments so it sometimes gets tricky to juggle. I think 17 or 18 races would be ideal.

    But then, I can see others who have more time available and who would like to see a race almost every weekend.

    Furthermore, having more than one race in a country diminishes its felt importance. There is THE British GP, THE Italian GP, THE United States GP. Having six races in a country would make it feel like 1/6th of a GP in terms of importance even if full points are given.

  23. As an F1 Fanatic, I’m not sure I even want 25 races a year!

    Once every 2 weeks for 8 months a year is fine. What’s the point of all the extra races, they’d only be at big money tilkedromes with no atmosphere. Am I bothered?

    That’s exactly why this is being mentioned anyway isn’t it; he needs more money because audiences and revenues are falling. And he is taking exactly the wrong approach, more of a bad thing doesn’t make it better, but he’s out of ideas.

    So here you go Bernie, since you can’t come up with these yourself:
    – Free-to-air TV deal for any country that wants one for a sensible price;
    – F1 app free to all;
    – DRS and silly tyre rules abolished;

  24. Oh yeah, the typical Bernie nonsense. The Las Vegas race will never happen (it has been rumoured for the past 30 years ever since F1 left Caesar’s Palace) and a 25 race calendar is too much with the current setup of the whole championship – especially if the calendar is constructed as badly as it is now with flyaway races too close to each other.

    And Kyalami? They just finished it (or it is being finished) and it got the 1T grading, so why on earth would they upgrade it instantly to the highest possible grading without a guarantee of a Grand Prix?

    1. ”flyaway races too close to each other” – The ‘flyaway/long haul races’ should indeed be held close to each other for logistical reasons (to reduce back and forth travelling and, therefore, air mileage), so I don’t understand your statement.

  25. Diversion tactics…

  26. The sensible idea would be to have races at venues every other year. That way we could keep the calendar to a sensible size (say 20 races) but have a massive variety of tracks. It would also help to boost attendance at races as spectators would be more likely to spend money going to a race every other year. The venues themselves would also be more likely to afford the hosting fees as well.

    It makes sense to me, which is why it would never happen……

    1. But nobody will invest in the tracks just to get a return on their money every other year.

  27. As long as there are circuits out there that pay the money then tough luck to those that cannot. I see what he is saying in that he would love the traditional European tracks but just because of their history they should not have to pay less. If another track will pay full price they get the race. This is how everything works, supercars cost so much as people pay the money and I cannot afford one so tough luck on me, I will not get a Ferrari for the price of a Ford. 6 races in the US is a good idea as well as USA is bigger than Europe so if they can also pay the money they should have the races. In an ideal world Arabs will buy classic Euro tracks like SPA and Monza like they buy football teams and maintain the races in Europe but I doubt it.

    1. It’s funny how he wants a historic track like Monza to pay in full Like all the new circuits but he pays an old historic team like Ferrari out the ass

  28. In 1982, the United States had 3 races on the calendar (Long Beach (Los Angeles), Detroit and Las Vegas). If they had six on the calendar; they would have to go to ideally cosmopolitan cities like New York or Los Angeles, or even Miami.

    Ideally, if something as ludicrous as having 6 races in the USA happened (3 should be the most, IMO).

    In addition to COTA in Texas, with 25 races on the calendar, the current calendar would probably look something like this:

    1. USA (Long Beach or Vegas)
    2. Australia
    3. Bahrain
    4. China
    5. USA (Port Imperial) (New York)
    6. Russia
    7. Spain
    8. Monaco
    9. USA (Infineon) (San Francisco)
    10. Canada
    11. Azerbaijan
    12.. Austria
    13. Britain
    14. Hungary
    15. Germany
    16. Belgium
    17. Italy
    18. USA (Indianapolis)
    19. Singapore
    20. Japan
    21. USA (COTA)
    22. Mexico
    23. Brazil
    24. Abu Dhabi
    25. USA (Daytona)

    1. Actually- switch 5 and 9 around

  29. *25. USA (somewhere in Florida)

  30. Bernieneedstogo
    21st April 2016, 6:38

    How about a new tyre compound “Off Road” and a gravel circuit in a desert?

  31. The U.S. has some GREAT tracks but there are problems with using them for F1:

    – The tracks aren’t currently up to FIA F1 rating. They would have to alter the tracks in significant ways to accommodate F1. Some of the changes would degrade their classic characteristics and the alterations would make them less appealing to the racing series (and fans) that currently use them. Each track would have to spend millions to upgrade paddocks and services.

    – The track owners and sponsors know that Bernie is a greedy hustler who only cares about short term profits. He’ll use them and kick them aside at the first sign of a better deal somewhere else or whenever he feels like it. They are reluctant to do business with him.

    The location of many of these tracks are in areas where there is very little interest in F1 and are they not near big cities with glitzy hotels and entertainment. It’s not clear that there would be sufficient ticket sales, esp. at the prices that would result from Bernie’s “deals”.

  32. Looking at the comments made by Ecclestone, this could include the Americas, so I suggest an additional US GP (Indianapolis) and an Argentine GP, that’s 6 if you count Mexico, Brazil and Canada. I think it would look like this:

    Australian GP
    Chinese GP
    Bahrain GP
    Abu Dhabi GP
    San Marino GP
    Spanish GP
    Monaco GP
    Austrian GP
    Canadian GP
    American GP
    Argentine GP
    German GP
    British GP
    Hungarian GP
    Belgian GP
    Italian GP
    European GP
    Russian GP
    South African GP
    Singapore GP
    Japanese GP
    Malaysian GP
    Mexican GP
    US GP
    Brazilian GP

  33. There are many tracks in America that could be used but won’t be due to Safety. I think this would mean the calendar would look like this:

    Longbeach GP
    Road America GP
    New Jersey GP
    Australian GP
    Japanese GP
    Monaco GP
    Spanish GP
    Austrian GP
    Canadian GP
    Mexican GP
    Indy-American GP
    Hungarian GP
    British GP
    German GP
    European GP
    Russian GP
    Belgian GP
    Italian GP
    Singapore GP
    Malaysian GP
    Bahrain GP
    Abu Dhabi GP
    Las Vegas GP
    US GP
    Brazilian GP

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