No F1 in Long Beach, Indycar sign extension to 2019

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If you were hoping that Formula 1 would return to Long Beach next year, those plan have been squashed as the Long Beach City Council has just extended its deal with Indycar through 2018.

That doesn’t mean that F1 is out of the running, however, as the Press-Telegram’s Eric Bradley and Karen Robes Meeks point out:

“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.”

So the city is free to explore other options centered round the 2019 season and this could be an opening for F1. As the article points out, Chris Pook had been working with Formula 1 to try and get the race back on the calendar and this would have represented the second race in the US for the series. Pook, a founder of the Long Beach Grand Prix back in the 70’s said:

“I’m not knocking the IndyCar race, but Formula One will bring the economic value the city enjoys,”

The extension apparently gives Indycar some time to think about what they will do beyond 2018 but with last week’s season opener drawing an overnight ratings of .6, it has some serious thinking to do regarding all their races and the health of the series as a whole. It was hoped that the return of Juan Pablo Montoya would help viewer ratings but perhaps they’ll need to find something more as losing Long Beach would really sting.

As for F1, it could slot nicely back in at Long Beach and should New Jersey ever gets its act together, there could be three races in the US. So…did someone mention a Mexican Grand Prix then?

Hat tip to Dave Doolittle of the Statesman for the link.

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