Officials at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are saying their facility — site of this weekend’s Indy 500 — is the best location for a USGP, arguing that Austin, Texas isn’t exactly known as a motorsports metropolis.
They’re right about that, at least for now.
Here’s the news via Reuters:
Texas state capital Austin will host Formula One when it returns to the United States in 2012 but Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) still believes it is the “right place” for the motorsport series.
Formula One commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone announced on Tuesday that a 10-year deal had been agreed to host races in Austin, the 15th largest city in the United States.
While the decision to bring the sport back to the United States came as no surprise to Indy car teams, officials and fans as they descended on the famed Brickyard for Sunday’s 94th Indy 500, the choice of Austin did raise more than a few eyebrows.
“We’re proud that we had among the largest crowds in Formula One then and now,” said IMS spokesman Fred Nation.
“Certainly Indianapolis is the right place for Formula One in the United Sates and if and when they express an interest here again, which could happen, we’re ready to talk if we can find a business arrangement that makes sense for both parties.
“That has been difficult in the past.”
The United States last hosted a Formula One race at Indianapolis in 2007, a grand prix won by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.
Since that deal ended, Ecclestone had been seeking an alternative venue with teams, car manufacturers and sponsors all keen to return to the United States.
“It’s not a surprise that Formula One is returning to the United States because Mr. Ecclestone made it clear because of the interest teams sponsors and manufacturers to be back in the world’s largest market,” said Nation.
“That Formula One expressed any interest Austin was a surprise. It was a surprise to us. Austin is not particularly known as an auto racing market.”
We’ve been arguing plenty here about the pluses and minuses of Austin and most of these discussions return in some form or another to the IMS. I’m not even sure it’s worth asking the question again about whether F1 should be coming to the U.S.’s biggest motorsports palace.
Perhaps, instead, we should be asking: Why are Indy officials saying this? What do they hope to gain? Could they really want to play host again to the USGP?