Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It’s official: Formula 1 will have a second United States Grand Prix in 2013 in New Jersey…say what, where, why?

Last Tuesday’s news press conference in New Jersey where Formula 1 officials and the Governor of New Jersey announced that they will be playing host to a second F1 United States Grand Prix race in 2013 that includes a 10-year agreement caught me off guard and also left me with several questions.

Let me example, every since several years ago when Formula 1 and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway parted ways after the tire gate and some disappointing attendance numbers. I have been waiting and hoping that Formula 1, one day would finally realize that the United States is a big market and they should be in it and return to the states.

Well that hope came true when on May 25, 2010, Formula 1 officials and a promoter announced that F1 would be returning to the U.S. in 2012 in Austin Texas and that a purpose built racetrack that is called “Circuit of The Americas” would be constructed between then and what will be the inaugural date of November 18, 2012 of the USGP.

That announcement was huge and I can’t wait until the end of 2012 to see the USGP play out live on television, hopefully live on SPEED.

However when last Tuesday’s announcement was made, that left me not only scratching my head, but asking a few questions like:

1. Can the United States really support two United States Grand Prix’s?

2. Why put a second USGP on a temporary street course in New Jersey?

Well, I sure hope that the private funding can support both of these races, but only at the end of 2014 will we know if two grand prix’s can really be supported in terms of getting fans to come out or not. Well at least one is in Texas, while the other is in the northeast just below New York City.

But I don’t understand why Formula 1 (F1) officials choose New Jersey for the location of the second USGP and having it on a temporary street course when there are a lot of worthy road courses throughout the United States including the famous Watkins Glen in upstate New York.

 Yes, I said temporary street circuit. According to a SPEEDtv.com article, the 3.2 Mile street circuit in New Jersey will run along the Hudson river through the towns of Weehawken and West New York and then climb uphill before looping back around in front of the ferry terminal. The temp circuit will also feature one hairpin turn, speeds of up to 200 miles per hour and several other 90-degree turns.

The new street circuit with the New York City (Manhattan) skyline in the distance (backdrop) sort of reminds me of the Monaco Grand Prix (Monte Carlo) which is one the same type course along the water front, I wonder if that includes F1 fans will also see not much of passing and more single file.

I guess I could see having New York City, the big Apple right across the bridge could be a good thing, but even with that, I just don’t see this one working out too well and considering the promoters for these two events are already taking pop shots at each other, I have to wonder how long before the United States is back down to one USGP. ..

However, I am a fair person and as such I guess that also be fair and give the New Jersey one a chance and see how a second USGP will fair in this great country, the United States of America.

But what are everyone else’s thoughts? I will be interested in seeing how fans react to the news on forums and social media. But again, it does leave me scratching my head and asking why…