JULY 12, 2007

Goodbye Indianapolis

The United States Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will not be on the 2008 Formula 1 schedule. After recent meetings, Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George and Formula One Management Ltd. CEO Bernie Ecclestone mutually agreed to not schedule a race at Indianapolis in 2008.

"After several discussions, Bernie Ecclestone and I were unable to agree how to keep Formula 1 in Indianapolis for the near term," George said. "However, we have agreed to leave the door open for a potential future date. It has been a pleasure having the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis, and I hope that as we approach our Centennial Era at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, an opportunity might present itself that would allow its return."

The problem is one of sanctioning fee which are too high for George to afford and Ecclestone appears to think that F1 does not need to be in America, at least not unless the venue is the right one. Formula 1 has traipsed from city to city since the early 1980s and has never managed to settle. This is mainly because the fees being asked are too high in comparison to other sports and the cities involved can get big events at a fraction the cost of F1. Corporate America was not keen on Indianapolis and hopes that there will be a more glitzy venue in the future but it is hard to see where that is going to be. The West Coast has some potential but the time zones are disastrous for F1's major markets, unless the races are held in the morning. The East Coast has some potential but at the moment no venue has emerged. Over the years there have been many attempts to site a Grand Prix on the East Coast but projects in New York, Atlantic City and at Brandy Station in Virginia have all flopped.

There is talk of an event in Las Vegas but no real evidence that there is any significant interest there.