The Grand Prix in Austin has been well received by the public, and it is an event which the drivers enjoy. There is a lot of promotion to cram in though, with Lewis Hamilton doing the usual rounds and even appearing on the Ellen show, and other teams doing events with sponsors in the local area. It really is a circus.
It leads to the question if Formula One deserves or needs another Grand Prix in the US, and with new American owners that could be more of a reality than you might think. The big stumbling block at the moment is the level of fees imposed on races by FOM, which many have seen as too high, that includes races which have been government backed including Korea and Turkey. That could change under the new ownership, with less reliance on the fees paid by the circuits, which could see an increase in the number of races, given that hosting a race will be more viable.
New York was at the top of the list for Bernie Ecclestone, with the attempt to get a race off the ground a couple of times around Port Imperial, but the funds were just not there. That isnt to say it couldnt happen in the future, the plans are there afterall, and even the pits and paddock complex were built ready, but they are just about to be beaten to the post by Formula E who are having a race around the Brooklyn Port. The sport is heading towards big ticket venues, as seen with Singapore and Abu Dhabi, with New York proving one of the most iconic backdrops possible.
If you are talking about big ticket venues, there isn’t really one in the states bigger than Las Vegas, with plans already in the works to put together a street track in the city. It has the blessing of the hotels, which is likely to close the strip, although it is likely to do good business with a huge number of hotel rooms available. the very nature of such a project is likely to make it difficult though, and the track designers have already found it difficult to come up with a design. The very nature of Las Vegas would be perfect though for the way Formula One is heading, and would make one of those ‘blockbuster’ events the sport is craving.
Long Beach last held a Grand Prix in the 80’s before moving to IndyCar, and would be an interesting addition on the West Coast. Although it wouldn’t be unique to Formula One it is a race track which is tried and tested, although it would need to find a way to build a new pits complex as the one which is used by IndyCar is very rudimentary, along with the tents used in Formula E. It is fair to say that Los Angeles fits the bill of the sport, and could attract a large array of celebrities to endorse the event, who might not want to make the journey to Las Vegas or Austin. That triangle though couldn’t be viable, and an option on each coast would be the most likely solution, and to avoid dilution with the Mexican Grand Prix, which only made its return to the calendar in 2015.
Other contenders could be Detroit, the home of American motoring; Miami or other established circuits such as Road America, Watkins Glen or Laguna Seca.