Circuit of the Americas first lap ceremony. Photo via COTA.Enlarge Photo
Bernie Ecclestone has had a love - hate relationship with U.S. Formula One fans in recent years. After the collapse of the United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2007, Bernie
declared something along the lines of “Formula One doesn't need the United States.”
Despite this, the resumption of the United States Grand Prix will take place this weekend in Austin, Texas. Ecclestone has been pushing for a Grand Prix race in the shadow of New York City for some time, and though the Grand Prix of America in Weehawken, New Jersey, is off the table for 2013
, it’s still a go for the following year.
quotes Ecclestone as saying, “It's a World Championship, so you need the U.S.. America is about as big as Europe. So we should have the same number of races.”
By that logic, the U.S. should get seven Grand Prix races, since that’s the number run in Europe. We doubt that will happen any time soon, since there isn’t that much room in the current F1 schedule for growth, and to be honest, F1 is lacking in popularity on U.S. soil.
Could that change with the scheduled races in Texas and New Jersey? Many hope the answer is yes, including Mercedes-Benz motorsport head Norbert Haug, who’s quick to point out that the U.S. is the brand’s largest automotive market.
McLaren’s Martin Whitmarsh agrees, and sees the renewed United States Grand Prix as a chance for the sport to establish itself on U.S. soil.
While seven races here may be stretching things a bit, we can certainly see opportunities for three or four. A New York race is a given, and we already know that races in Austin
are planned for future years. That leaves a West Coast race (in Los Angeles or San Francisco) as the next likely candidate.
We suppose there’s a chance that F1 could return to the Brickyard, too, since that was left open following the 2007 race. All it takes is bodies in the stands, and venues willing to step up an pay Bernie’s price of admission.