TWO new U.S. circuits?

From the Vanderbilt Cup to the next Grand Prix, the cars, drives, teams and politics.

TWO new U.S. circuits?

Postby meteorite » Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:43 pm

It's not that there haven't been Formula One races in the United States, from Watkins Glen to Long Beach, CA to Detroit to Indianapolis, among others. But they have all lasted a couple of years and then faded away. The basic reason is that people won't go to them, at least not enough to support them in the style to which Bernie E. wants to become accustomed.

His biggest ambition, it's said, is to put Formula One in the view of the biggest media centre in the world, New York City. But there isn't a suitable place on Manhattan Island, and if one wants to lay out a passable road course it would have to be far into the outer reaches where it gives New Yorkers nosebleeds to go. So now he's making noises about racing in New Jersey, and seems to have some local enthusiasm and co-operation. The NIMBY crowd, nay-sayers and dissidents are also already warming up, so American politics being as they are, it's a far from sure thing.

And then of course there's the race course being built in Austin, Texas, that also has been allocated a provisional Grand Prix date and even has construction work under way. Still, there have been reports in Autoweek that have suggested all is not pacific on that front either.

But here is the official story to date - subject to major revisions as reality sets in:

WEEHAWKEN, N.J. --(AP) An official with direct knowledge of the plan says Formula One is coming to New Jersey in June 2013 with a race on the Hudson River shoreline just minutes from New York City.

The person says the Grand Prix event will take place in Weehawken and West New York, with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity Monday because the race has yet to be announced. A press conference is scheduled in Weehawken on Tuesday, and will likely be attended by New Jersey governor Chris Christie.

The U.S. hasn't hosted a Formula One race since 2007 in Indianapolis, an event won by Lewis Hamilton.

A race is scheduled for Austin, Texas, in 2012.

The race could mean a big boost to the economy in North Jersey, which typically benefits from national and international events at the Meadowlands Sports Complex, where the NFL's New York Giants and Jets play. But although the Super Bowl is coming to MetLife Stadium there in 2014, the complex has sagged a bit economically with the loss of the NHL's New Jersey Devils and NBA's New Jersey Nets to the nearby Prudential Center in Newark.

The tentative name for the race is the Formula 1 Grand Prix of America.

The area is not foreign to motorsports, though it has been awhile. The Meadowlands Grand Prix was a CART IndyCar race held in East Rutherford from 1984-1991. It was the first major race in the New York City metropolitan area since 1937, and the course twisted and turned around the original Giants Stadium.

The Formula One race would likely stroll through River Road, which runs alongside the Hudson River, allowing for clear views of the New York City skyline. It would also offer fans and tourists easy accessibility to New York City lodging, restaurants and nightlife, though they could also easily stay in Hudson County, as well.
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Re: TWO new U.S. circuits?

Postby meteorite » Wed Nov 16, 2011 9:04 pm

Well, they talk big in Texas.

But, according to Autoweek, construction on the Circuit of the Americas at Austin has been "suspended", the Comptroller of the State of Texas has pointed out that promised assistive event funding is not guaranteed and expires Saturday, and Bernie Ecclestone has let on that his special introductory price is valid only if the race runs on its 2012 calendar date.

The whole story - or at least as much as it is prudent to print - is in the online version of Autoweek and can be found at: http://www.autoweek.com/article/2011111 ... dailydrive. The writer appears to be close to at least one of the principals involved and have clear sympathies, but given that warring lawyers are concerned is very prudent about what he is willing to say in print.

But basically it appears that some of the principals want something others are not willing to yield and the deal is in the process of falling apart if it has not done so already.

Meanwhile (we're guessing) Bernie is off on an exploratory trip to New Jersey, to enquire about the chances of advancing their 2013 date...
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Re: TWO new U.S. circuits?

Postby meteorite » Wed Dec 07, 2011 6:38 pm

We now have two new press releases, one from the official Formula 1 website, and the other for the Ciruit of the Americas. Both speak for themselves.

From Formula One:

All systems go for Austin 2012 07 Dec 2011

The Formula 1 United States Grand Prix’s place on the 2012 calendar was confirmed by the FIA on Wednesday after organisers revealed they have reached agreement with Formula One Management over the new race in Austin, Texas.

“We want to thank the fans who supported us, the local officials and businesses who have encouraged us, the State of Texas, Circuit of The Americas staff and Bernie (Ecclestone) himself,” said Red McCombs, chairman of McCombs Enterprises and founding partner of Circuit of The Americas.

Confirmation of Circuit of The Americas’ 10-year race contract means engineering and construction teams will now resume work on the track to ensure completion for its 2012 debut, scheduled on the FIA calendar for November 18.

Circuit of The Americas will be the first purpose-built Formula One Grand Prix facility in the United States designed for any and all classes of racing. The master plan features a variety of permanent structures designed for business, education, entertainment and race use.

Its signature element will be a 5.5-kilometre (3.4-mile) circuit. Other support buildings will include a medical facility, 14 executive meeting suites, a conference centre and a banquet hall, as well as an expansive outdoor live music space. Future proposed amenities include a driving/riding experience, a motorsports driving club, kart track, grand plaza event centre and tower, and a trackside recreational vehicle park.

Circuit of the America's press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 7, 2011


Formula 1™ and Circuit of The Americas™ Ready to
Roll
10-Year Race Contract Brings F1™ Back to the U.S. in 2012; Construction to Resume
Immediately

AUSTIN, Texas – December 7, 2011 – Circuit of The Americas announced today they have reached
an agreement with Formula One Management that ensures the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix
remains on the FIA Formula 1 World Championship race calendar.

Red McCombs, chairman of McCombs Enterprises and founding partner of Circuit of The
Americas stated, “Mr. Ecclestone received his check today. We want to thank the fans supporting us,
the local officials and businesses that have encouraged us, the State of Texas, Circuit of The
Americas’ staff and Bernie himself. I want to thank and commend Bobby Epstein for getting us
across the finish line. Bobby’s perseverance and leadership kept the project on track despite unfair
and unfounded criticism.”

“Our investors have believed all along that this project has tremendous benefit for our region, and
provides a strong economic engine for the future,” stated Epstein, founding partner of Circuit of
The Americas. “We remain committed to reaching our goal of being valuable community partners
as we establish a platform for sports and entertainment. We’re glad that Tavo’s vision of bringing
F1 to the people of Texas will become a reality.”

Engineering and construction teams working on the track will resume immediately, ensuring
completion for the 2012 race date.

“We have a substantial number of fans who have expressed interest in buying tickets and hospitality,
so today is a win for all of them as much as it is for Circuit of The Americas,” said Steve Sexton,
president of Circuit of The Americas. “We encourage everyone to visit our website and register for
information. Registered fans will receive the first communication regarding ticket sales plans. In a
matter of weeks we will have more exciting news as we unveil our full calendar of world class
events.”

Fans interested in receiving information about tickets for next year’s Formula 1 United States Grand
Prix can register their contact information at www.CircuitofTheAmericas.com. Ticket sales
information will be communicated to those registered prior to general public notification.

About Circuit of The Americas

Circuit of The Americas will be a world-class destination for performance, education and business.
It will be the first purpose-built Formula 1 Grand Prix facility in the United States designed for any
and all classes of racing, from motor power to human power.

The master plan for Circuit of The Americas features a variety of permanent structures designed
for business, education, entertainment and race use. Its signature element will be a 3.4-mile (5.5-km)
circuit track. Other support buildings will include a medical facility, 14 executive meeting suites, a
conference center, and a banquet hall, as well as an expansive outdoor live music space. Future
proposed amenities include a driving/riding experience, a motorsports driving club, kart track, grand
plaza event center and tower, and a trackside recreational vehicle park.

For more information and downloadable video, audio and photos, visit:
www.CircuitofTheAmericas.com

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>.

So the F1 Association has made a very straightforward statement, and everything is settled and all's right with the world. The financiers behind Circuit of the Americas are also very positive and simply dripping confidence,

Well, Bernie has his cheque, and is willing to say how happy he is for the moment. But the track still has to be finished, to F1 standards, for a race to be run less than twelve months from now. And there is the mysterious case of the excluded partner, alleged to hold the rights for the races slated to be run at the venue, and dark mutterings of legal complications.

The PR flacks would have us believe that the operation is out of the woods and into the sunlit uplands, with all systems go. For the moment, we'll believe it when we see it.

But there is now a Mexican promoter who has suddenly appeared talking plans to revive the Mexican Grand Prix, last held in 1992, and bubbling about the promotional synergies and potential expansion of media coverage if there were races in Canada, New Jersey, Texas, Mexico and Brazil. Well, if Bahrain (currently on the calendar) gets, uh, deferred, and Turkey and India, and maybe even China and Korea, find F1 is a luxury they can no longer afford, perhaps there might be some weekends come open. But will the same hard times that produce these pinches still provide enough well-off spectators to watch them? Or networks able and willing to pay for the broadcast rights?

I don't think I'd be planning to book any flights quite yet.
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Re: TWO new U.S. circuits?

Postby meteorite » Tue Jan 17, 2012 7:53 pm

BERNIE'S BETTING ON PORT IMPERIAL

Er, ah. Port Imperial? New Jersey? Manhattan backdrop? uh, where did that come from?

Well, actually, back when I was a kid, it was the Pennsylvania Railroad yard serving New York. The whole west side of Manhattan island was lined with New York Central tracks, and the Hudson Tubes bringing commuters into Pennsylvania Station had to go under them. So the western, or New Jersey, side of the Hudson was a mass of rail yards, where freight cars destined into New York had to be assembled and loaded onto barges that would transport them across the river to landing points around the city. And all the Pennsylvania Railroad commuter trains coming up the Jersey coast and from the interior, and the Central Rail Road of New Jersey, which ran up that side of the Hudson valley, terminated there. Also feeding the Hudson Rubes complex was the network of bus lines to the nearer towns - the grey Public Service buses with the red triangle insignia, the scarlet-trimmed Hill Bus Lines, and the brown Garden State Lines coaches, among others. Some could come in over the George Washington bridge, but that debouched them well north of the terminal at 168th street, still a long subway ride to downtown. The Holland and Lincoln tunnels were limited in the commercial traffic they could carry.

But that was before the War. After 1945 times changed. Freight movement began its inexorable move to trucks. Aircraft became a factor - shipping of course always was. The new Interstate highway system spun its web fanning out from the city, and the new bridge was built at Tappan Zee. New Jersey built the Garden State Parkway, then the New Jersey Turnpike. The Pennsylvania and New York Central railroads merged, and finally went bankrupt. A new bus terminal was opened in New York, in midtown convenient to the Lincoln Tunnel, and a huge complex of road links spread traffic out their ends to all of New Jersey and beyond. The old Penn Central freight yards were bought up by a trucking magnate.

The lands were redeveloped. A new ferry service was based there - NY Waterways, the outfit that saved the passengers from the Hudson after an American Airlines jet swallowed too many geese for breakfast, choked, and had to ditch in the river. It became a transfer point for the new Hudson-Bergen catenary light rial line. It remained a point where the south-western NJ commuters switched from their buses to the Tubes.

And oh yes, it developed quite an elaborate system of internal roadways - enough that Bernie and his buddies saw the potential for a 3.2 mile Formula One road circuit, with the skyline of Manhattan Island as a backdrop. And surely the most elaborate public transit accessibility in the world. (Even better than Monaco? I'd guess likely yes, and by quite a bit).

So there it stands - the public bodies are on side, experienced management is being installed, and it would appear that the money is in place- though from what source Bernie isn't saying. But if you know a neat little hotel up in Bergen County close on to the light rail line, you might want to make some quiet inquiries about room availability on a certain weekend in 2014.
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