The arrival to power of Liberty Media in Formula 1 this winter shot the rumors for several months about the possibility of a second career in the united States to seek to increase the popularity of the category in a market that, until now, inhospitable. A number of proposed circuits, permanent or urban, have rung with greater or lesser force, but a group of businessmen were the first to raise it formally, by proposing that the prestigious street circuit of Long Beach, seat of the Grand Prize in the West of the united States between 1976 and 1983, and the Grand Prix of Long Beach IndyCar since 1984, returned to host the Formula 1.
Such a proposal had been considered by the city Council of Long Beach, commissioned in April a feasibility study to decide whether a Formula 1 Grand Prix was what was best for the city, but, after that such a study would be favorable to continue with the IndyCar on the findings published last July 25, the city Council has decided to follow this recommendation by unanimous approval.
The proposal of Formula 1, dating back already to 2013, when the city renewed the contract of the IndyCar race for three years, and was driven by the World Automobile Championship of California, a group led by Chris Pook, the promoter of the test from its beginnings to the fall of the Champ Car in 2008. In a column in the Press-Telegram, Pook argued that the Grand Prix has suffered a significant decline in the last 12 years in attendance, hearings, economic impact and benefits for the hospitality industry of the area, and that hosting the Formula 1 would imply an increase of status without incurring an increase in costs.
however, the findings of the study have settled office the options of a return of the Great Circus to the coasts, which are home to the Queen Mary. Without going more far, the committee in charge of the decision has been recommended to reach a renewal agreement with IndyCar for five years for the period 2019-2023. The study not only assessed the positive experience of the current promoters, the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach (GPALB), if not which questioned the benefits and costs that the Formula 1 would bring to the city. In addition, it has been taken into account that a race could not be organised “until 2020”, and that the necessary modifications to obtain the Degree 1 of the FIA, that they would need a period of approval of two years, could affect “the long-term development of the area”.
After the news, the president of the GPALB, Jim Michaelian said in a statement that are “happy with the decision,”, ensuring that the IndyCar series will continue to be the cornerstone of the Grand Prize, and thanked the “meticulousness with which have evaluated the various options that were sent”. With it, Long Beach will continue to hold its position as the most prestigious of the IndyCar outside of the 500 miles of Indianapolis and is added to the list of potential candidates american to the Formula 1 that have not come to fruition.
In an interview in Motorsport.com the past month of April, the head of McLaren Zak Brown had already anticipated the low viability of the project of Pook: “The economy that the Formula 1 accurate would require a large government subsidy, and I do not think that Long Beach is ready to pay such fees (…) The track is in front of the port, so that we do not speak of an environment easy to modify. It would take tens, tens and tens of millions of dollars. With these combined costs, there is no model in which investors can earn a return (…). Is incompatible, and suggest that this is not the case is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole”.