Since the Canadian Grand Prix there has been a flurry of stories regarding the Formula 1 race that F1 Supremo Bernie Ecclestone has been negotiating for quite some time. The so called “Grand Prix of America” would be held in Port Imperial, NJ with the New York City skyline as a backdrop.
Reports flying around out there have conflicting information in them, so I’m here to issue some warnings/tips to those of you trying to figure out how close we are to a second F1 race in the United States.
First off do not believe a story claiming the race is a lock unless it contains direct quotes from Ecclestone and unless those quotes can be verified on the official Formula One website. ESPNF1.com posted a story earlier today, June 12, which stated that Leo Hindery Jr., the promoter of the NJ race, claimed to have secured a “long-term” deal which ensured the running of an F1 race in Jersey beginning in the 2014 season. I’m not suggesting that the information is false, but no news of this rumored contract can be found on Formula 1’s website and no new information has come to light since the initial announcement.
Given that getting a race in or near New York City has been a goal of Bernie’s for decades, it would stand to reason that if a deal were reached you could find more than a few quotes from the race promoter about it. I’m of the opinion, and you should be too, that if it doesn’t come out of Ecclestone’s mouth it might as well be a chat room rumor.
Next there is the issue of people thinking that the New Jersey race would replace one of the current GPs on the schedule. The two races that come up most often are the United States Grand Prix held in Austin, Texas and the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal. Neither of those races is going anywhere, even if a Jersey race is added.
Austin has a real deal with F1 that states it will play host to a Formula 1 Grand Prix for 10 years starting in 2012, when the inaugural race at Circuit of the Americas was held with huge success. The race in Texas has staying power beyond the contract as well.
Austin is a blossoming international city that embraced F1 in its first year and will only grow to love and accept the event more in coming years. I know…I lived there for many years. Then there is the track. COTA is the first ever purpose built Grand Prix facility in the US. It was built with Formula 1 in mind and despite the raw support facilities in year one of the race it is a beautiful circuit that the drivers love. Austin and the US GP have the potential to be as popular a destination and date on the schedule as Montreal.
As for the Canadian GP, it won’t be canned in favor of a race in Jersey either. Montreal is as welcoming of F1 as Monaco and the race is considered a mainstay on the calendar with a rich tradition. Removing it would create uproar amongst the F1 world and only serve to further alienate the US and American F1 fans from the rest of the global Formula 1 community.
Lastly, though a second US race would do wonders for growing the F1 name in America especially if it were near a global hub like New York City, the proposed venue is far from ideal or ready.
Major roads used by thousands of commuters per day would have to be ripped up and repaved to FIA standards. Utilities would have to be moved. Support facilities would need to be put in place. Not to mention that there are hundreds of homes right next to the area that would become the track which are only recently recovering from the impact of Superstorm Sandy. They might not be cool with seeing unholy amounts of cashed poured into a racing facility while their community still stands on shaky legs.
I would love to see this race happen. It would give North American F1 fans, myself included, a third opportunity to see a Formula 1 event on our continent each season. It would also, as I mentioned, help Formula 1 grow in the United States. It would be great for the US and for F1, but it is a long way from being a reality at this point in time.
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