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View Full Version : No F1 in the US. Slippery slope of doom?



Ghosty
07-19-2007, 03:16 AM
... this thread is probably only going to interest a couple of people, but I'm giving it a shot anyway...

As some of you may already know, Bernie Ecclestone, supreme emperor for life of formula one (to the dismay of many), and Tony George, owner and dictator of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, could not come to an agreement on having a race at Indy next year.

Short of it is, Bernie doubled his fee from $15 million to $30 million.

Bernie already has exclusive control of all the revenue created by selling the F1 product (i.e., television broadcasts). The only way the track could make a profit is from ticket sales and concessions. Some estimate tickets would run upwards of $400, killing attendance, and causing the track to loose money.

As a result, George declined the offer. There will be no 2008 formula one grand prix at Indy, and it doesn't look like the race series will return to the United States any time soon.

Threads over a lot of message boards are hypothesizing about the details of why the negotiations broke down, why Bernie may not like the track, and what the future of formula one is in the United States. But, I think an even more important discussion lies in the future of the sport itself.

Bernie's latest move shows that he's all about the profit. He's interested in bringing the race to developing countries that will pay ungodly sums to have the "prestige" of hosting an F1 race (Baharain, China, etc), even if the track suffers a financial loss. That's not a surprise. But, it seems to be a very short sighted move.

Something like 8 out of 12 race teams have an interest in reaching U.S. audiences. I'm not sure how that figure came about, but when you consider that Ferrari, Honda, Toyota, Mercedes and BMW want to sell cars to Americans... and that Red Bull wants to sell soft drinks to Americans, you see a huge interest. And then, you look at the sponsors, the ones that pay the real money, the ones that by in large allow the teams to run, and see how they need the American market.

Sponsors won't like that their expensive advertisements aren't reaching Americans. They won't like that their expensive advertisements are running around in the middle of nowhere.

Sponsors will pull. Teams will pull. F1 will crumble.

What do you think?

Futant3
07-19-2007, 05:19 AM
That's really unfortunate. Nascar has clearly shown that there is substantial potential for racing here in the states. Personally I'm not a big fan of Nascar even though I live about 10 minutes away from Texas Motor Speedway. F1, Indy, and GT racing are much better forms of racing and it's too bad that profit seeking by one person could have such an impact on a sport.

I have to agree that this is overall a bad decision for the long term prospects of F1. Of course that being said the group has been successful and running for a long time without much of presence in the U.S. so maybe there is something in the equation we are missing. With 65 different tracks hosting championship races and only 9 of those in the U.S. in the last 57 years maybe we aren't that important??

angryyoungnpoor
07-19-2007, 05:58 AM
I'm always watch these races in pure amazement. It really is sad that these won't be here anymore. I would have loved to see one. I went to the Indy 500 a few years back. That was amazing, but in no way close to the intensity of the grand prix races.

Galcobar
07-19-2007, 07:24 AM
Aye -- Nascar and Indy both strike me as being too artificial to be worth watching. I mean, if it's not necessary to turn the wheel both ways, how is that really driving?

Mr E
07-19-2007, 09:36 AM
Sponsors will pull. Teams will pull. F1 will crumble.

What do you think?

I think F1 has survived and prospered for a very long time with minimal American interest.

The USA has 300 million people. The global population is somewhere around 6 billion. Now, even accepting that the average US citizen has more buying power than the average global citizen, it's still not exactly the end of the world if the USA doesn't have F1.

However, for you race fans in the US, boy does it suck.

Fuelish
07-19-2007, 09:21 PM
Aye -- Nascar and Indy both strike me as being too artificial to be worth watching. I mean, if it's not necessary to turn the wheel both ways, how is that really driving? ^^^^^^ DITTO ^^^^^

Melchior
07-19-2007, 11:58 PM
I've never been an F1 fan; it's just to bloody mathmatical. It's precise to the point of being overly predictable, so i'm happy to see it go because it might mean just some of those race fans might start watching more interesting evens, like Rally.

Luis C
07-20-2007, 02:43 AM
Problem with WRC is that there are up to 20 different drivers each one departing 1:30 min after the other, how do you cover each car?
On the other side there is the fact that a complete WRC race lasts a whole weekend, from Friday morning to Sunday dusk and not just 2 hours like a typical F1 Sunday. Ina WRC event there can be as much as 22 stages and maybe 2 or 3 Super SS.

Do the math... thats why you get a brief (1 hour 30 min) recount of the whole weekend

Ghosty
07-20-2007, 05:18 AM
I think F1 has survived and prospered for a very long time with minimal American interest.

The USA has 300 million people. The global population is somewhere around 6 billion. Now, even accepting that the average US citizen has more buying power than the average global citizen, it's still not exactly the end of the world if the USA doesn't have F1.

However, for you race fans in the US, boy does it suck.

I hope I didn't sound like a pompous American, tooting his horn about how nothing would work without America.

You are correct that F1 can still function without American interest.

But what really makes me wonder is the bigger picture. F1 leaves America. Soon, F1 might leave France. And Canada (rumor, though). And how long has Silverstone been fighting to keep a race? How many other races are endangered?

Then you factor in all the races sprouting, as in China and Baharain.

Maybe I'm speculating too much, but it seems Ecclestone is making some very bad decisions. Short term financial gains that endanger the long-term (where things like preserving race history and North American races count a great deal)

Ghosty
07-20-2007, 05:35 AM
I'm always watch these races in pure amazement. It really is sad that these won't be here anymore. I would have loved to see one. I went to the Indy 500 a few years back. That was amazing, but in no way close to the intensity of the grand prix races.

Trust me, grand prix IS amazing.

The best part is the start of the race, when you're close to the start line.

On their way to the starting spots, they rev the living fuck out of those engines, twist the car around in ways that would make a drifter cry. You smell the gas from miles away.

Always a standing start. The sound of 21 extremely tuned V10s (used to be, at least) all taking off in a single instance... it rumbles the stands, shakes your organs, pounds your senses into submission.

If sex was this good, well, then people would just screw all the live long day.

And they didn't even get to the first turn yet. That's where the real fun begins. Many races are won and lost in that first turn, and most times, not all of the cars make it out of there.

I've been to a total of three USGP races, 2004, 2005, and 2006. So, I did get to hear the V10s, and I cant tell you for a fact, they were more impressive than the V8s. I also suffered the wrath of the infamous 2005 tyre fiasco (which was scary, because we heard reports that the national guard were being called up, and feared a large-scale riot was inevitable).

No, the track wasn't that great. But the cars... oh yes. The cars.

I will miss the USGP. Didn't go to the one this year and I'm kicking myself, because I could have seen Lewis Hamilton snag his second win.

Futant3
07-20-2007, 07:30 AM
Aye -- Nascar and Indy both strike me as being too artificial to be worth watching. I mean, if it's not necessary to turn the wheel both ways, how is that really driving?

Indy does a good amount of road racing but I'm with you on Nascar. Even on the one or two road races Nascar drives like Watkins Glen, they still manage to suck the fun out of it.

By the way I've seen Indy at TMS and 3 wide on that track is still pretty cool.

KoreanJoey
07-20-2007, 09:05 AM
I've never been huge on F1, like it was said, it's too precise, too predictable. I'm more into watching sports cars/ touring cars... ALMS for me 100% and with SCCA closely behind.

Mr E
07-20-2007, 09:06 AM
I hope I didn't sound like a pompous American, tooting his horn about how nothing would work without America.

Not at all, you sounded like a race fan who was justifiably pissed that the very best of single seater racing was leaving.




You are correct that F1 can still function without American interest.

But what really makes me wonder is the bigger picture. F1 leaves America. Soon, F1 might leave France. And Canada (rumor, though). And how long has Silverstone been fighting to keep a race? How many other races are endangered?

Then you factor in all the races sprouting, as in China and Baharain.

Maybe I'm speculating too much, but it seems Ecclestone is making some very bad decisions. Short term financial gains that endanger the long-term (where things like preserving race history and North American races count a great deal)

There's a couple of interesting points here.
1) Bernie is running a business. If that business can make more money by going to emerging markets (China et al), and that's in no small part to the total ban on tobacco advertising in Europe these days, then he's going to go there. As you pointed out, a brand new custom built track is going to be streets ahead of somewhere like Silverstone (which, until very recently was an utter farce when it came to access).

2) Bernie is a million years old. Short term profits probably make a lot of sense to the man.

Yes, the British GP is under threat, but because the facilities are frankly pretty crap by F1 standards. About half the cars are built in the UK however, so I would hope pressure from the inside would keep the race. I may be wrong.

vms4evr
07-21-2007, 01:30 AM
Not at all, you sounded like a race fan who was justifiably pissed that the very best of single seater racing was leaving.

There's a couple of interesting points here.
1) Bernie is running a business. If that business can make more money by going to emerging markets (China et al), and that's in no small part to the total ban on tobacco advertising in Europe these days, then he's going to go there. As you pointed out, a brand new custom built track is going to be streets ahead of somewhere like Silverstone (which, until very recently was an utter farce when it came to access).

2) Bernie is a million years old. Short term profits probably make a lot of sense to the man.

Yes, the British GP is under threat, but because the facilities are frankly pretty crap by F1 standards. About half the cars are built in the UK however, so I would hope pressure from the inside would keep the race. I may be wrong.

Well said. While F1 cars are absolutely amazing in what they do with the technology. They are also the most elitist and arrogant of all racers. They come off as untouchables. Bernie is a dinosaur on his home stretch and he knows it. He also knows he is King Bernie and just loves wielding that sword. He gets an offer from Prince WhatsHisFace of Bahrain. He offers to build the most awesome F1 facility and track. He throws money and trinkets and God only knows what else at King Bernie. So Bernie has a choice. This really impressive new facility or that old brickyard that isn't even an F1 track in the 1st place. It isn't a hard decision. The Japanese shell out tons of money to build a new track. Even though the old one is cool as hell and very technical. So Bernie agrees to keep his show in Japan. Money and power, the racing is secondary. It's a shame.

On the other hand then comes NASCAR. Goes from a Grassroots Redneck Roundy Round deep in the south. Market the hell out of it as a product. Run tracks all over the country. Get the drivers right in front of the fans so they feel like they are part of the game. Make Billions! Still running old technology with nothing really amazing about any of it, except the marketing and concept. So who is really a smarter business man. Bernie or someone like Hendrick...

My friend goes to Indy every year. Now he won't bother. Mention Bernie around him and watch him go off... I like F1 but I'll just watch it on the tube in HD. I'd rather go to LeMans or Speed GT.

ronin
07-21-2007, 03:05 AM
funnily enough, the AUS F1GP is under threat as well. i dont follow it much, but its something to do with the victorian government(the state where he race is held) wants a later start and king burnie is refusing to listen, added with rising costs of running the event and purchasing the right to host it, i doubt the aus F1 will be run at albert park much longer.
not that im going to miss it. been once, that was enough. the race is decided before it begins, and the only thing deciding factor remaining is driver error or mechanical failure. i dont think there was one pass the entire race. if you like close racing, go to laguna seca when the motoGP is over in the states.. now THERE is a bunch of fast sumbitches riding fast machinery, tuned to the shithouse, but at the end of the day, the race is always an unknown, sometimes there is less than a tenth of a second between the first 2 podium finishes.. 2 bikes, 300KPH each riding inches apart.. its fuckin AWESOME to watch.