For­mula 1 poised for Californian come­back

F1 Racing - - INSIDER -

With two West Coast venues vy­ing for an F1 cal­en­dar slot, the sport could go from one US GP to three in a mat­ter of years

Long Beach, which cur­rently hosts an IndyCar GP, has re­newed its con­tract with the US se­ries un­til 2018, but has opened up a ten­der process for the next pro­moter of the event. This gives F1 an­other op­por­tu­nity to re­turn to the venue it ef­fec­tively launched al­most 40 years ago. But a re­turn is by no means cer­tain, as an­other city in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia wait­ing in the wings.

Chris Pook, who has been leading the charge in the US on be­half of Bernie Ec­cle­stone, said: “We asked Long Beach to go out to ten­der. The City Coun­cil wanted to do that but IndyCar wanted a ten-year re­newal. The coun­cil said, ‘This is a se­ri­ous de­ci­sion, we want to do the right thing, but do it slowly. We’ll ex­tend your con­tract for three years and we will go out for pro­posal.’”

The ten­der process will in­volve anal­y­sis of the mer­its of F1 and IndyCar to the city. Pook is condent F1 would win that bat­tle but ad­mits Long Beach might not win the war against its mys­tery ri­val. “Mr Ec­cle­stone knows where it is and most team own­ers know where it is,” said Pook. “We will ex­am­ine that, and if we come to an agree­ment – and there is a good prob­a­bil­ity we will be­cause this par­tic­u­lar com­mu­nity is very ex­cited about it and un­der­stands the value of what it brings – then we will do a deal.”

Sources have spec­u­lated that the ri­val venue is the Del Mar Fair­grounds near San Diego, which hosted an IMSA race be­tween 1987 and 1992.

The key to any de­ci­sion by the City Coun­cil will be nan­cial. F1’s fee is signicantly higher than the $2mil­lion charged by IndyCar. Pook told F1 Rac­ing: “People have said it would cost $100 mil­lion. It’s not even close to that.” He added “The net tax gain for Austin in 2013 was $4.9mil­lion, and the net gain for Texas was $17.2mil­lion. F1 pro­vides new money.”

It opens up the pos­si­bil­ity of three races in the US within ve years. Pook is also a con­sul­tant to the New Jersey GP due to make a de­but in 2015.

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