Pook looking to steal Long Beach from IndyCar UPDATE #2
If Bernie Ecclestone wants Formula One back on Long Beach’s street circuit as has been rumored, the organizer of what is now an IndyCar race there said the event’s business model would have to change to accommodate.
|To bring F1 back to Long Beach would be difficult. You cannot build enough grandstands to sell all the tickets needed to pay the huge F1 tab. |
“To run a Formula One event is an extremely expensive proposition … in terms of the infrastructure and the cost of purchasing the show,” said Jim Michaelian, the president and general manager of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. “To even consider it would entail a whole new financial structure, and quite frankly we are succeeding here in our efforts to stage a first-class IndyCar event.
“Our owners are happy with the progress we’re making (with IndyCar) and that’s where our focus is on now.”
Long Beach’s early years were with F-1, with races from 1976 through 1983. The event has been CART, Champ Car or IndyCar since.
IndyCar has a contract with the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach through the 2013 race. Michaelian said the event has a contract with the city through 2015.
Michaelian said he would begin negotiations with IndyCar as soon as Jeff Belskus, who became CEO last month after Randy Bernard left, was ready to do so.
“Quite frankly, we’re interested, as many others are, in some of the new initiatives that will be forthcoming from Jeff and the folks at IndyCar,” Michaelian said. “I’ve had the chance to speak to Jeff and have some conversations with him, make some suggestions with regard to some of the things we’ll be able to help define the program moving into next year.” Indy Star08/17/12 In the new Motor Sport Magazine out yesterday, Zak Brown suggests that the US could use three F1 races, including Long Beach. If F1 wants the LBGP, Zak knows the owner and can make arrangements the article stated. The owners are Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe. If Bernie Ecclestone is willing to bring F1 and pay them to race at Long Beach on Saturday as a support race to IndyCar, then there's a chance it will happen....or if the Hulman George family decided to pull the plug on IndyCar, which we do not see happening. Bernie had said he did not want more than one F1 race in a country. The USA will have two starting next year. So if you really think it will get a third, we have a bridge we can sell you.
06/08/12 Chris Pook, the one-time promoter of the Long beach Grand Prix, was in the paddock in Montreal on Friday. Pook, who now lives in Palm Springs, where he has been working on trying to put together an IndyCar street race, is rumored to be working on a plan to get Formula 1 back to Long Beach in 2015. The Long Beach Grand Prix was an F1 race from 1976 to 1983 but since then the event has been for IndyCars of one form or another. The current contract between the City and the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach runs out in 2015 and the City might be convinced to change its strategy as the spectator numbers these days are not what they used to be.
While Long Beach is difficult for F1 in terms of live broadcasting, it would be a useful addition to the World Championship if there is a solid Audience in the Americas, something which could happen if the projects in Austin, New Jersey, Mexico City and Argentina go ahead as planned. That would enable a TV package to be put together which might make sense for a network.
There have been rumors of a third Grand Prix in the United States for several weeks, but little evidence beyond tittle-tattle. Joe Saward
[Editor's Note: Won't happen as Long Beach cannot afford Bernie's fees, and the USA does not and will not get three GPs. We are not holding our breath on this one unless IndyCar implodes.]