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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-24-2010, 09:13 AM Thread Starter
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F1 warms to a return to USA

F1 warms to a return to USA
ESPNF1 Staff
April 24, 2010
Tony George talks with Zak Brown in Shanghai last weekend © Sutton Images
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Tony George is trying to bring Formula One racing back to the United States, but not necessarily to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, according to a report in the Indianapolis Business Journal.

George was head of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indy Racing League (IRL) until 2009 when he was removed, and his own IRL team folded last year. Local sources suggest that bringing F1 back to Indianapolis is no longer his priority, although his family continues to run the circuit.

There has been no US Grand Prix since 2007 when George and Bernie Ecclestone failed to come to a commercial agreement, but there is a large fan base in the country and Ecclestone is also aware of the huge financial market there to be exploited.

George was spotted in China at last week's Shanghai Grand Prix where he was the guest of Ecclestone. He reportedly had discussions about future plans for a grand prix in the USA as well as meeting with potential sponsors.

While Indianapolis is the historical home for F1 in the USA - the Indianapolis 500 was included in the world championship from its inception in 1950 for more than a decade - Ecclestone has made no secret of his desire to host a race in or near New York. On top of that, business experts said Ecclestone would have to lower the F1 sanctioning fee, which ranges from $10 million to $30 million annually, to make the race feasible in Indianapolis.

When asked whether or not Indianapolis was the best place for a potential round stateside, Ecclestone said: "Yeah, it is. It's only the fact that it's all the wrong crowd and the wrong people. Nothing worked there really. We'd have to have a big change round. But we'd like to get back there."

But if it failed the last time it was here, why would it come back?
Randy Bernard, the new head of the struggling IRL
But Zak Brown, founder and CEO of Just Marketing International, an Indianapolis-based motorsports marketing firm, who was in Shanghai as well, said F1's sponsors were clambering for a presence in the USA.

"Would Tony George love to broker a deal to bring back a US Grand Prix? Sure," Brown told the newspaper. "Tony has a lot of contacts in motorsports, and he knows how to put on a US Grand Prix. I think if there's a role for Tony in trying to bring Formula One back to the US, he'd be willing to help. Tony and Bernie have a very good relationship, and Tony has a lot of interest in seeing F1 return to the US."

Brown added that Ecclestone's long-term aim may well be to host two races in the US, as has happened before. That would raise concerns among teams and fans who are already concerned the expansion of the sport into new venues is leading to an overcrowded calendar. Ecclestone will have none of that, recently remarking there could be as many as 25 grands prix in a season.

Cars line up at the start of the 2006 US Grand Prix © Sutton Images
Back in Indianapolis, the possible return of F1 was greeted with caution. "Anything in the entertainment world from the NFL to F1 is a competitor," Randy Bernard, the new head of the struggling IRL, said. "If it is good for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the city and the state, who am I to make a formal opinion to the contrary? But if it failed the last time it was here, why would it come back?"

While some fear F1's return to Indianapolis, other worry about the consequences if it did not locate there. "If the world's top level of motor racing returned to the US and didn't locate at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, you'd really have to scratch your head," Tim Frost, president of a Chicago-based motorsports business consultancy

"He [George] still has an ownership stake in the Speedway. I'm not sure why he would work to bring it anywhere else unless he's simply convinced it wouldn't work there."

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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-24-2010, 06:27 PM
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The teams need to figure out exactly what it is worth to have a US venue, and kick in accordingly. Bernie has figured out how much he can charge to other countries (who subsidize the race) in sanctioning fees. It's currently more than what a private US promoter will pay. There are no subsidies here, the race has to make money. With Bernie's sanctioning fees, that's tough.

If the US is important to the teams, they can make up the difference. However, with only Mercedes, Ferrari and Lotus commercially active in the US, it doesn't look promising.
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-24-2010, 07:55 PM
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The 2007 fiasco at Indy took it's toll on lots of F1 fans here in the U.S. With the economy in the crapper and the residual heartburn from the 07 race, it would be difficult to fill any venue in the U.S.
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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-25-2010, 09:58 AM
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Just keep it the hell out of Indy!

There needs to be a race on both the east and west coasts!
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-27-2010, 06:27 AM
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Could Bernie be looking at two USGP venues?
April 27, 2010 in joesaward's grandprixblog

The pressure is on in Formula 1 circles to get a United States Grand Prix back on the calendar as quickly as possible. The US is a huge consumer market and, despite the economic troubles of late, the average American has more money to spend than consumers elsewhere. The problem is that the only venue that can instantly host a race is Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which spent a fortune getting ready for F1 10 years ago. The race did all right, despite the best efforts of the F1 world to mess things up, notably in 2005 when most of the cars withdrew from the race because of fears over the safety of the tyres after attempts to find a compromise with the FIA failed. Looking back now it seems that the whole business was probably a power struggle between FIA President Max Mosley and F1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone. Whatever the case, F1′s failure to adhere to the age-old rule that “the show must go on”, did not end of harm to F1′s reputation in the United States. There was still a decent crowd in 2006 and 2007 but Indianapolis Motor Speedway boss Tony George was under pressure from his family to keep down costs – as he was shelling out fortunes to keep his Indy Racing League (IRL) alive – and he would not pay the sum demanded by Ecclestone for a new contract. So F1 turned its back on the Brickyard, saying that Indiana was not the place to entertain its high-flying corporate guests – a fair point. The problem is that since then Ecclestone has so far been unable to find anyone willing to pay the kind of money he wants for a race. The government has no interest in getting involved and states and cities acros the US are suffering because of the economic downturn. The only hope, therefore, is for Ecclestone to find a private investor who has something to gain from funding a race.

George, in the meantime, has been shipped out of Indianapolis by his family and is no longer involved. However, it seems that he has some control over the rights to the phrase “The United States Grand Prix at…”. This means that he could be involved in any other race wishing to use that name, be it in Alaska or New Mexico. The rights to such an event would normally belong to the national sporting authority – in this case, the Automobile Competition Committee of the United States (ACCUS) – but it seems that these were delegated to the IRL, an ACCUS member, when the race was being run at Indianapolis. It is not clear whether Ecclestone agreed not to have other race names, such as “The Washington Grand Prix” but it is logical that this would be part of such an agreement.

While Ecclestone is not keen to take F1 back to Indiana, he might be willing to do that to get F1 back into the US, particularly if such an arrangement led to a race being established elsewhere. The Hulman-George Family is not going to be wanting to spend more that Tony George was spending, so unless Ecclestone bring down his price the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is not really an option, unless someone else is willing to make up the difference between what Bernie wants and what the Speedway is willing to offer. And even if that happens the Speedway will always be in Indiana and the F1 corporate types will still not want to go there… Thus the recent visit to Shanghai of Tony George must be about more than simply another race at Indianapolis.

Ecclestone often says that he wants a race in New York. Recently he has talked specifically of a race in New Jersey, with the New York City skyline as a backdrop and easy access to the city by public transport. This can only mean that there are discussions going on with the Meadowlands Sports Complex in East Rutherford, New Jersey. This is owned and operated by the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority (NJSEA), an independent body established by the State of New Jersey in 1971 to oversee the complex, which today consists of three main venues: the brand new 82,500-seat Meadowlands Stadium, which is the home of the New York Jets and New York Giants National Football League teams. This opened a few days ago and replaces the neighbouring Giants Stadium, which will now be demolished.

The complex also boasts the Meadowlands Racetrack (a popular horse racing facility) and the Izod Center, a multi-purpose indoor arena which has been home to the New Jersey Nets basketball team and the New Jersey Devils hockey team. It is also a popular venue for concerts. This has little future as the Devils and the Nets are moving elsewhere and it is located next to a new development called Meadowlands Xanadu, which aims to become the largest retail and entertainment complex in the United States when it is finally finished. This will offer not only a baseball stadium but also venues for concerts and indoor sporting events. There will also be entertainment, shopping and convention halls. It will feature America’s first indoor snow park, and a skydiving simulator. In addition there is to be a observation wheel (sponsored by Pepsi) which will provide views of Manhattan. The project will ultimately include four office blocks and a 520-room hotel.

This all sounds remarkably like the ingredients that have been put together in Singapore where hotel baron Ong Beng Seng worked with the local government to launch the super-successful Singapore GP, as it would benefit his hotels, restaurants and retail outlets. What is most interesting is that the Xanadu project is now funded by a private investment firm called Colony Capital, which owns a chain of 41 hotels and resorts around the world, operating under the Raffles, Swissotel and Fairmont names. Colony also operates gaming resorts in the US and is also the owner of the French soccer team Paris Saint-Germain, so it clearly understands the value of sport as a means of drawing customers to its businesses.

Meadowlands was used for Indycar racing in the early 1980s but two different tracks laid out in the parking lots failed to attract crowds and the race lapsed after 1991. Much has changed since then, however, and the most significant advance has been the construction of a rail link which opened last year with trains running to Secaucus Junction where there is a connecting service to Pennsylvania Station in New York City.

NASCAR has long been trying to get into Meadowlands but has thus far failed to do so (which would no doubt amuse Ecclestone). The local authorities may be happy to go along with such an idea as they clearly want a higher profile for the facility. They are bidding for the 2014 Super Bowl and are part of the US bid for the FIFA World Cup in either 2018 or 2022.

There are few environmental issues with a race track as the area is criss-crossed with major freeways, has no housing and a record of environmental misuse. It is under the flight path of Teeterboro Airport, New York’s executive jet facility, and of Newark Liberty International Airport, which is located 13 miles to the south-west.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 12:28 PM
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I'm all for it! One in NJ and one in CA!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-28-2010, 01:03 PM
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As F1 Bobby said: Just keep it the hell out of Indy! There are plenty of better tracks.

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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 04-29-2010, 06:43 AM
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Watkins Glen and Long Beach are the true historical homes for F! in the U.S. I was lucky enough to attend a few GP races at the Glen and it was great. I also attended two of the races in Indy and it wasn't so great. It would be nice to get back to the Glen.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-04-2010, 02:09 PM
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(GMM) Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey, has emerged as the potential site for a United States grand prix between 2012 and 2016.

Local reports said talks for a race amid the backdrop of the New York skyline are underway, with a city spokeswoman confirming that "preliminary discussions" with F1 officials started three weeks ago.

The story emerged after documents obtained by opposition group Friends of Liberty State Park showed plans for a 3.6 mile track within the 1200 acre park providing "the least impact to city functions".

"It is a marketing tool to bring people to Jersey City such as foot traffic and revenue to local businesses," the spokeswoman is quoted as saying by hudsonreporter.com.

Mayor Jerramiah Healy issued a statement clarifying that Jersey City was approached by formula one.

"Jersey City is one of several cities they (F1) are pursuing," said mayor Healy. "There have been a few, preliminary conversations and this is very much in the exploratory phase.

"However, this may not be something that is in the best interest of Jersey City or Liberty State Park," he added.

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone's London office could not be reached for comment.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 05-05-2010, 06:40 PM
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Jersey City shoots down F1 race plans Barely 24 hours after plans for a Grand Prix in Jersey City were revealed, its Mayor has decided not to go ahead with the idea. Following a protest relating to environmental issues, it now seems as though a Formula 1 race with a New York City backdrop is out of the question.

Tuesday saw Jersey City submit an official plan for Grand Prix ideas, with word being that a possible night time street race could be held by as early as 2012, although - following the protest - Mayor Jerramiah T. Healy has voted against the F1 event.

"After a review of the draft proposal prepared by the city's Tourism Office, I have come to the same conclusion that this type of event is not suited for Liberty State Park," he said via a statement.

"While we work to attract national and international events to our city, we must ensure that they are appropriate and will have the least impact upon the quality of life of our residents and our community."

While the news may be seen as a disappointment by race fans, the President of Friends of Liberty State Park is pleased that the surroundings have been taken into consideration.

"Mayor Healy did reach out to me yesterday and we had a very constructive conversation," Sam Pesin commented. "Instead of a negative wasteful controversy, we can all focus on working together on positive efforts to benefit Jersey City and Liberty State Park." GPUpdate.net
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