Eccelstone:"It does not matter...if there is no grand prix in the US" - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-25-2006, 12:17 AM Thread Starter
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Eccelstone:"It does not matter...if there is no grand prix in the US"

From the 'Evening News' (UK) 23 June

Bernie Ecclestone claims Formula One would not lose out if the United States Grand Prix was axed.
Ecclestone's contract with Indianapolis expires this year and extension talks will be strained after the six-car parade last year prompted anger from track owner Tony George.
But Formula One commercial rights holder Ecclestone is adamant he will make no concessions to Indianapolis when negotiating a new contract at the race next weekend.

He said: "It does not matter to Formula One if there is no grand prix in the US."
"What do we get from America? Aggravation, that's about all."
"If you say 'good morning' over there and it's five past 12, you end up with a lawsuit."
"We have never got any sponsors out there. The television has never taken off - we have more viewers in Malta than over there."
"If they want to continue having a round of the Formula One World Championship over there, I am happy to talk to them, which is what I will do when I get there."
"But I am not prepared to subsidise a race in America."



I can't imagine too many Americans being bothered if F1 never came back, right?
How many actually know it's there now?


It doesn't have a name...it's just a car

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-25-2006, 12:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomada
From the 'Evening News' (UK) 23 June

Bernie Ecclestone claims Formula One would not lose out if the United States Grand Prix was axed.
Ecclestone's contract with Indianapolis expires this year and extension talks will be strained after the six-car parade last year prompted anger from track owner Tony George.
But Formula One commercial rights holder Ecclestone is adamant he will make no concessions to Indianapolis when negotiating a new contract at the race next weekend.

He said: "It does not matter to Formula One if there is no grand prix in the US."
"What do we get from America? Aggravation, that's about all."
"If you say 'good morning' over there and it's five past 12, you end up with a lawsuit."
"We have never got any sponsors out there. The television has never taken off - we have more viewers in Malta than over there."
"If they want to continue having a round of the Formula One World Championship over there, I am happy to talk to them, which is what I will do when I get there."
"But I am not prepared to subsidise a race in America."



I can't imagine too many Americans being bothered if F1 never came back, right?
How many actually know it's there now?
This is only being seen as an negotiating ploy by Ecclestone for the upcoming renewal of the Indianapolis contract. The teams of Renault with daughter Nissan, McLaren Mercedes with Daimler Chrisler, Ferrari, BMW, Honda with Acura and Toyota with Lexus do not share this view and would like to see a second annual Formula One GP in the U.S.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-25-2006, 08:50 AM
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When the first GP was held at Indy, a couple of weeks after 9/11, there were nearly 300,000 fans in attendance. It was almost as packed as an Indy 500 even though only part of the stands were used. How many other F1 races put that many people in the stands?

Each year it has been fewer, mainly due to the lack of ability to be near the pits as we are used to in other motorsports and at least in some part to the unfortunate choice of Tom Carnegie as on track announcer. Last year was just an overall embarrassment but most of the American fans were pretty responsible in their protests.

Bernie has been threatening the race in the US since it started, each year wanting to pull it. His irresponsible negotiation tactics have pretty much ruined the heart of F1 and taken it down to the same level as NASCAR.

I guess we will see next week what the race will bring. For the first time, my tickets did not have renewal forms with them but there is too much money here for a race not to happen.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-25-2006, 06:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mcbear
When the first GP was held at Indy, a couple of weeks after 9/11, there were nearly 300,000 fans in attendance. It was almost as packed as an Indy 500 even though only part of the stands were used. How many other F1 races put that many people in the stands?

Each year it has been fewer, mainly due to the lack of ability to be near the pits as we are used to in other motorsports and at least in some part to the unfortunate choice of Tom Carnegie as on track announcer. Last year was just an overall embarrassment but most of the American fans were pretty responsible in their protests.

Bernie has been threatening the race in the US since it started, each year wanting to pull it. His irresponsible negotiation tactics have pretty much ruined the heart of F1 and taken it down to the same level as NASCAR.

I guess we will see next week what the race will bring. For the first time, my tickets did not have renewal forms with them but there is too much money here for a race not to happen.
Hmm, I have been to every USGP since it arrived in the US ( I live in UK ) There was a degree of interest in 2000, but there was more like 150,000 present on RACE day.
You are correct that each year appears to have been fewer, although I recall travelling to the 2001 event with ony 40 people on an MD-11 such was the effect of 9-11. You will no doubt remember that the USGP was the largest event held in the USA after 9-11 and this had a massive effect on crowd sizes, a lot of people never returning.
I really think that pit access has little to do with crowd size, I think its more to do with the predictability and lack of overtaking that is prevalent now in F1, there is just no spectacle when compared with many other racing formula around the world. In addition its just always ferrari that wins, that alone takes the edge off attending. people want to see a RACE and that just doesn't happen as much as it could.
I think Bernie would love it if it had the same profile as NASCAR, but I can;t ever think that they will get 500,000 people at Indy to watch it, just think of the revenue the Bernie would generate then !
I'm sad to say that there is a huge ignorance of F1 in North America, its just a novelty thing and its the visitors that seem to struggle to grasp the rules and what goes on. I'm currently in Montreal having attended todays race and the people immediatly around me knew very little of the sport...and thats in Canada ! The americans have a very purile grasp of the sport and each year the knowledge of the "fans" seem to go backwards. I realise that F1 could maybe do more to raise the profile of the sport, but I'm afraid that I agree with Bernies comments, it would not be a miss if there was no F1 race in the USA.
I'd be dissapointed as I have enjoyed the last 3 years where the Canadian and USA GP have been only a week apart, so I get to see 2 races in one short vacation.
The people of Montreal provide what is undoubtedly the BEST party in the city of anywhere in the world, Indianoplis is also a great city on race weekend (see me in Ike and Jones) so I hope some deal is struck to ensure a USA race survives. How about Laguna Seca ? The F1 cars would look great flying through "the dipper"
post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 02:07 AM
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There seems to be little effort to create more publicity re. Formula One on the North American Continent. The hosts of the two U.S. top TV late shows, Jay Leno and David Letterman are both certified car nuts. Letterman with his Rahal/Letterman three car Indy team with the cute and talented Danica Patrick, and Leno with is 70-80 car collection are both no strangers to Formula One. There is reputed to be a longstanding open ended offer to Schumacher, he has so far refused to appear on either show. Have fun at the races, Teutone
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 08:43 AM
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I'd pretty much agree with him though. I live in the states and I know its the Nascar loving area. But you find the most watched sports in the world are not given much coverage here (F1, Motogp, Worldcup soccer) in comparison to other countries. comparing the people in the stands is not a valid point. It's the X in millions that tune in on TV that pays for things. I was at monaco this year and I spoke to a few people who were there for practice and qaulifying but would stay for race day as it's so hard to follow the race actually being there Because you cannot see much. There are also big problems in F1 at the moment with defining future regulations for engine size ect. Nobody can really agree. Check out some of the articles on http://www.grandprix.com/
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 09:25 AM
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The 300,000 number I was using for 2000 was from Indy for tickets sold on Race day. If you fill the place [just seats] you seat over 300,000 plus all of the infield. I know they did not use Indy turn 3 so that ruled out some seats but the infield was more full. Who knows. The post 9/11 event was very interesting as it was pretty much all American at the track. There were tickets given away by the various sponsors but it packed pretty well from where I saw in the Bombardier Tower.

I can't imagine Bernie wanting Formula 1 to be like NASCAR. Other than the Daytona 500 and the road courses [yesterday was a very good race at Sears Point] it has become not much more than a spec series.

I don't know what the numbers are now but during the first couple of years USGP was the largest of the GP races as far as attendance was concerned [read in Formula 1 mag]. I noticed that the circus that surrounded the event kept getting smaller and smaller each year. At first you could get autographs of some of the drivers but as the years went by, that went away. Originally, each team had a very large tent with their wares and give-aways and souvenirs and the like which filled the area around the Hall of Fame Museum but the last three years those were combined to just souvenir trailers and tire stands. It seemed that we were sent the B Team the last three years.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 10:55 AM
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As a kid I attended my first F-1 race at the old Nuerburgring and have been hooked ever since. We would later drive to Zolder, Zeltweg, Monza and even Estoril for the then Portugese GP. My Dutch buddy lives less than half a mile from the old Zandvoort track. Formula one was far more accessible to the public and it was not unusual to find yourself next to drivers in the restaurant. Formula one has become this huge business, where the top teams have to spend 300 to 450 mio. annual to compete. The days where a Lord Hesketh with no sponsorship and driver James Hunt or Walter Wolf with South African driver Jody Scheckter could privately fund a team and be fairly competitive are long gone. Both drivers became World Champions later with McLaren and Ferrari respectively. BTW. My brother in law in Dubai was involved in the end of 2005 negotiation for the possible purchase of both the old Jaguar and the 55 % of BAR not yet owned by Honda, before Sheikh Makhtoum decided on the A1 GP series instead. Those files are out of NDA and make interesting reading.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-26-2006, 01:12 PM
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It's a shame that F1 never raced at Laguna Seca. They raced at places far worse (Detroit? Hello!). Watkins Glen might have been fun to watch as well.

I was at the races in 2000 and 2001, and simply haven't had a chance to go back. I was impressed at the turnout though, given how little coverage F1 gets in the US media. If Scott Speed could win a race or two, I'd suspect people would perk up...then again, it's certainly harder to watch (even on TV) than the information-overloaded traffc-jam that is NASCAR...you actually have to think a bit to keep up.

It's also a shame to hear that the scene as I remember it from 2000/01 has changed. The Arrows/Orange team had a big display with techno music and impossibly good looking people dancing about...there were things to do...probably as many Europeans, etc. as there were US natives in attendance...it was a blast. After the race, those of us on the infield formed a huge scrum beneath the platform where Schumacher was giving interviews...we all broke into soccer stadium songs chanting "Schuuuu-miiii, Schuuu-uuuu-miiiiiii". He walked over to the railing, threw his hat into the crowd, and we all got some great photo ops.

I wonder if the fact that the Canadian and USGP's are now part of "one" flyaway package for the teams has resulted in them having less room for things that have nothing to do with racing...I know they complained that coming across the atlantic twice was a pretty expensive proposition (this despite Renault now permanently retiring every $50k steering wheel that was used to win a race - go figure).

When we do get 'prime-time' coverage in the US, it's done by brain-dead dolts like Derek Daly who do an awful job of explaining what is being seen and pointing out what to look for. When I as a viewer have spotted a development in strategy 8 laps before the announce team, something is WRONG.

Having watched some entertaining open-wheel racing in person this weekend (Formula Mazda), then immediately watching F1 on TV, you get a brand new appreciation for what incredible works of art those vehicles are, and how immensely talented the drivers are (except for the Super-Friends). There is nothing like it...Bernie is posturing, which is fine as he has nothing to lose, but America represents the "Holy Grail" for advertisers - F1 is going nowhere anytime soon.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-27-2006, 12:29 AM
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In 1983, while still living in the Middle East and visiting friends in L.A., I attended the Long Beach F-1 GP with Lauda, Watson and Petterson etc. I agree, Laguna Seca with the right investment could be a great venue. I never saw Formula One at Watkins Glen, but CanAm with the spectacular Porsche 917 driven by Mark Donohue. Now that was a truly insane race car. It's still to early to judge, but Scott Speed is doing o.k., and Marco Andretti might be a possibility if his judgement improves. As was seen in Dad's Michael Andretti lackluster stint, to succeed in F-1 requires total dedication. Easy on the eye Danica Patrick would be great to boost F - 1's popularity in the U.S. She has the talent, has proven her commitment when she lived in England and competed in Europe, and should at the very least get a test with an F-1 team. Unfortunately the original Red Bull plan for an all American Formula One team fell through when U.S. car manufacturers declined to participate.
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