Don’t buy your tickets for Jersey City yet, F1 fans

One thing shines through most brightly in the report about plans for a Formula 1 race in New Jersey in 2012.

It isn’t the location, in Liberty State Park. It isn’t the idea of it perhaps being a night race. It isn’t how neatly it meets Bernie Ecclestone’s idea of having New York City as a nifty backdrop for television coverage.

No. As reported today in the Jersey Journal (and Grace’s take is here), what comes through most loudly is the amount of opposition that already exists to this idea.

Letters already are being written. Even the mayor of Jersey City says, “However, this may not be something that is in the best interest of Jersey City or Liberty State Park.”

Somewhat buried in the Jersey Journal story is the implication that other cities also are trying to get Bernie’s attention. Maybe one of them will have a more united front.

But the Liberty State Park idea, at this point, sounds like it is stalling on the grid.

Here are a few of the details of the plan, via the Journal:

Destination Jersey City, an entity funded by the city’s Economic Development Corporation, has reached out to Formula One, the racing conglomerate, in an effort to land a Grand Prix race in the state park in 2012 and continue for at least five years.

The promotional materials even include a proposed design for a 3.6-mile racetrack that traverses the 600-land-acres at the state park.

“With the incredible backdrop of the New York City skyline, selecting Jersey City for the 2012 Grand Prix Auto Race Circuit will not only boost ticket sales as the Grand Prix returns to the United States, but will provide striking television footage,” one line in the come-on reads.

I base that on my having covered dozens, if not more, similar types of economic development proposals, at city and county (and state, and even federal) levels similar to what is coming out of Jersey City.

In this case, the opposition seems already prepared for a fight, and that is not a good sign for anyone supporting this idea.

Of course, I’m also making a broad pronouncement, based on one story. I do want to withhold judgment, but I can’t help seeing that the opposition appears to have an infrastructure in place. And there could be some give-and-take still to come.

But if there are other venues that won’t involve a pitched battle, my money goes on their being more likely to get the race.

That is, if Formula 1 even comes back to the United States.

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