Going Back to America

A few hours ago, news crept out that a deal had been signed to take the Formula 1 World Championship back to America from 2012 onwards, with a possible ten year run depending on options been taken up. The venue for the race is set to be in Austin, Texas – some 190 miles south of the steeply banked oval where the IndyCar series and NASCAR compete.

In terms of high priced entertainment, Grand Prix racing has struggled somewhat in America and the arranged finish by the Ferrari’s of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello in 2002 along with the infamous tyre debacle in 2005 (both at Indianapolis Motor Speedway) did much seriously damage the reputation of Formula 1 in the United States – for a while, the damage was considered quite irreparable.Initial reports reveal that rather take on a street race, the event is scheduled to take place on a new purpose build facility as the sport aims to avoid the pitfalls of early 1980’s American Grand Prix, whereby a race anywhere regardless of the location was deemed good enough to fill the void left by Watkins Glen. In fact, when the sport parted ways with the famed road course, street racing became something of a fashion as Grand Prix at the likes of Las Vegas, Dallas, Detroit and Phoenix.

Over time, lack of interest and poorly prepared events only served to continuously lower expectations and at the 1991 event in Phoenix, a mere 18,000 people were in attendance, such was the indifference generated – this in spite of race containing such charismatic individuals such as Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell and Nelson Piquet.
Whether Formula 1 can make a success of this remains to be seen, but as of now Austin appears to be the best possible solution for the sport in light of the only other potential options being a race around the city confines of New York. With no deal on the horizon to go back to Indianapolis, Austin is it.

2 thoughts on “Going Back to America

  1. I’ll be honest, I’m still a little sceptical about this. I guess a purpose built facility might be cool, but it could just be a Herman Tilke Parade track, too. Austin is a strange place to build a trac. At least it’s not a street course again.

    1. To be honest, I will reserve judgement until I see something from the designers – might as well go into this with an open mind…

Leave a Reply