Op-Ed: What USF1 should have done with its $$

A thought struck me today as I was reading all the talk about the Jersey City GP, especially the rise of the perennial question about where a US GP should be held.

A U.S. Grand Prix should have been USF1’s goal, not building a new F1 team.

Here’s my thinking.

It seems we all agree, more or less, that the cost of a race is about $15 million bucks into Bernie Ecclestone’s pockets. That’s roughly a third of the cost of running a team as USF1 was trying to do.

Yes, of course there are other expenses on top of that, but what if those could have been shared by the “team” USF1 and the eventual host of the race, whether Indianapolis or a city or a different track.

A little sharing of the pain, let’s call it.

Now, I certainly don’t have all the details or know various costs, so I am going to paint here with very broad strokes.

Step 1: Work out the deal/arrangement with a host site to share costs. There might be some tax breaks or other incentives possible from a local government, for instance.

Step 2: Find sponsors for the race and treat them much as team sponsors are treated. Get their logos up everywhere possible, starting on the web but not stopping there. Could we not stomach, for instance, a USGP presented by YouTube? Imagine if the race — and this probably wouldn’t work thanks to FOM — being presented on YouTube, somehow, to make it that much more worth YouTube’s while and to set the stage for the future of F1.

Step 3: Get whatever work done at the location to meet F1 standards. More money, yes, but that should have been figured in early on. (And maybe we’d have the Playstation straightaway?)

Step 4: Aggressively market the race, figuring out how to just break even but set the stage for future success as fans want to come back and other fans want to come for the first time the following year.

Step 5-12: Dinners, parties, trips to upstate New York to play with train sets.

Step 13: Now that there is a renewed, enthused fan base, maybe in 2012, maybe 2013 or even 2014, unveil Team USF1. The fans exist, plus they would have had that much more time to do the car development part correctly. Oh, and a final benefit? There might have been time to develop an American driver.

Crazy? Stupid? Yeah. But any crazier or stupider than what really happened?

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