May 3, 2013

East Coast, West Coast

Regular updates from New Jersey have been noticeable by their absence © Sutton Images

It’s hard to know what the deal is with the New Jersey Grand Prix. There’s definitely construction work underway, so it looks like the race is on for 2014. But there’s increasing chatter about a race in Long Beach, and that kind of talk is often Bernie Ecclestone putting pressure on promoters.

While it would be fantastic to have three races in the States, one on each coast and one in Austin, it seems odd to be planning three races – admittedly geographically more far-flung than any European trio you could mention – on the same continent where F1 is a niche interest at best.

Sure, Long Beach has history. And yes, the IndyCar contract is up for renewal, meaning the opportunity exists. Bernie admits to having spoken to Long Beach Grand Prix, but Bernie speaks to everyone. Few conversations turn into races. Even fewer make the papers.

But when pressure needs to be applied to a promoter who is not on schedule paying his bills, or readying the track, talk of negotiations with other venues hits the headlines. In March, New Jersey race promoter Leo Hindery told Sports Business Daily that everything was back on track following the receipt of some missing consents.

Ecclestone was dismissive at the time, saying that Hindery’s problems were financial.

Given that there has been little communication from the promoters since March – the website is both annoying to find and bereft of content – it looks like Bernie’s public pressure might be necessary.

Whatever financial matters may or may not lie unresolved between the commercial rights holder and the New Jersey race promoters, there is no denying that a little more information wouldn’t hurt. Where the COTA race organisers were regularly releasing photos of construction work in progress, and time-lapse film of the circuit’s development, it’s hard to find any recent progress reports from Port Imperial.

A little self-promotion would go a long way…


Posted by John B on 06/05/2013

I don't know though, I remember not even 24 hours after the first announcement of the US Grand Prix in Texas a few years ago, the media started running stories along the lines of "Who's paying for this? We know nothing. It's still unlikely to ever happen..." etc etc. If they're in trouble, fair enough. But being negative doesn't help anyone.

Posted by Andre Thomas on 04/05/2013

If Bernie is interested in having a race on the west coast, instead of going for the long beach race why not just stage one at Sonoma? I mean the circuit is already perfect and should be up to F1/FIA standards.

Posted by Nanbawan on 03/05/2013

Personally I'd prefer a race in Mexico and one in Argentina is possible in addition to the existing US, Canadian and Brazilian GP to have a well round season of the Americas.

That said Long Beach does indeed appear to be a good opportunity to have a street GP in a F1 friendlier place in the US. For some reasons, I think Miami would be a nice place to have a street GP with plenty of international crowd. My 2 eurocents.

Posted by Viraj Ambetkar on 03/05/2013

It will be interesting how all this pans out since Bernie has done a lot of posturing over the NJ race for the past few years. But I sincerely think that there is no place for 3 US races on the F1 calendar. True, the US may be geographically bigger than Europe, but so too are Australia and Canada. There is just not enough interest in the US to account for 3 races. Europe gives incredible diversity, flavor, and historical relevance to F1 races and, dare I say, F1 must include more European races.

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Kate Walker is the editor of GP Week magazine and a freelance contributor to ESPN. A member of the F1 travelling circus since 2010, her unique approach to Formula One coverage has been described as 'a collection of culinary reviews and food pictures from exotic locales that just happen to be playing host to a grand prix'. Kate Walker