Long Beach votes to stay with IndyCar

After considering a proposal from Chris Pook and Bernie Ecclestone to have Long Beach switch back to hosting an F1 race, AR1 has learned that in a closed session of the Long Beach City Council tonight approval was given to amend the current Grand Prix agreement to provide for a 3-year extension through 2018 for IndyCar. The Grand Prix Association still needs to approve that amendment and then it will go before the City Council in open session for final approval. AR1.com has learned that simultaneous with the granting of the extension that the Council has instructed City management to enter into the RFP (Request for Proposal) process to determine whether to continue with the Grand Prix Association running IndyCars or to switch to F1 after 2018.

We contacted Long Beach IndyCar boss Jim Michaelian for confirmation. He told AR1.com, "We think this is a wise decision by the City Council. It affords the Grand Prix the opportunity to continue to conduct the #1 street race in America while allowing the City to explore another alternative. In the end we are confident that the City will conclude that the partnership it has had with the Grand Prix Association is the most beneficial from every perspective and we will continue to conduct the event in Long Beach for many more years to come."

"This is precisely what we wanted," said Michaelian, who said both sides agreed to the terms in principal. "They have every right to explore other options, but by the same token we have the certainty of conducting the event through 2018. That’s important because we have lots of sponsorship agreements."

Long Beach’s current contract with the Grand Prix Association expires June 30, 2015.

Deputy City Manager Tom Modica would not confirm or deny any extension or bidding process but said the council provided a direction Tuesday night.

"We will have an item for public review when negotiations are complete," Modica said.

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