F1 enjoying a comeback in North America

The NJ track, with Manhattan as a backdrop, will be spectacular

The dream of F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone to have an F1 Grand Prix in close proximity to New York City is still being targeted for mid '14, while a newly built circuit near Austin, Texas could secure F1’s long-term future in the U.S. In addition to its increased American presence, Ecclestone has been talking with officials south of the border about restarting the Mexican Grand Prix in '14. And the Canadian GP at Montreal’s Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve is a fixture on the schedule.

So, F1 is gaining traction in North American, but its history in the U.S., which stretches back to 1950, is one of unrequited love. The circuit is hoping that its move to the NYC marketplace — or at least N.Y. adjacent in New Jersey — will finally see that courtship consummated. New Jersey/New York F1 Race Promoter Leo Hindery Jr. told SBD Global, “The U.S. needs a premium Grand Prix. This dream was much more Bernie Ecclestone’s than anybody’s. Bernie has expressed an interest in being in the New York area for a very, very long time, but one of the things we’ve learned in recent years is when you get too near a major metropolitan area the quality of the racing sometimes doesn’t meet the expectation of the teams and the drivers."

Indeed the NJ street circuit has elevation change. The cars will be going up this hill.

A LONG SEARCH: Organizers spent a long time searching for the right place for the race and ultimately settled on the New Jersey location along the Hudson River opposite Midtown Manhattan. Hindery said, "The key criteria for the drivers is can they pass, is there elevation change where the engineers get rewarded, and is it a challenging race, in other words a number of turns. It’s not the straights that are interesting, it’s the turns."

The course chosen for the American Grand Prix delivers, Hindery said. "It’s a road course. It will be used once a year. It is 3.2 miles. It has a tremendous amount of elevation change and 19 turns." Hindery discounted talk that the race would be a threat to Montreal as fans, especially international ones, would have to pick one over the other. Hindery said he and counterpart Canadian Grand Prix President François Dumontier believe overseas fans "will do both." Hindery said, "You could go to Montreal, which is just an amazing, fun, tourist city, but it’s a different city, by a lot, than New York. And then you come down to New York for the following Sunday." Hindery claims he's complied with state requests for clearances and has lined up sponsors, issues that derailed last year's race. More at SportsbusinessDaily.com

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