We first heard rumours of a new Formula One race in Las Vegas around eighteen months ago, although they were little more than plans. It has now been revealed by the Daily Mail that the city has a contract to host the race, despite fears from Bernie Ecclestone that twenty-one races are now the limit.
There was a lot of effort to get Formula One into America. First the race in Austin, while struggling financially following a change in state funding has been largely successful, and then the less successful push at getting New Jersey onto the calendar. Ecclestone put a lot of effort into that project to get it off the ground, but the funding wasn’t there and therefore shelved.
After the contract for the Long Beach Grand Prix return to IndyCar, the favourite to host a second race in America is Las Vegas, on a street track with the back drop of the famous strip. Many believe hosting two or even three races in the States would be good for the sport, and the manufacturers would be happy with that push as well.
The question is space though. Twenty one now looks to be the maximum, maybe twenty two at a push, so you have to say, what gives?
Well, we can already see that. You have to question the traditional heartland of Formula One – Italy, Germany and Belgium. Question marks hang over Monza, and you have to question if it is viable for Imola to host the race long term. The German Grand Prix wasn’t on the calendar last year after the Nurburgring changed hands and Hockenheim wasn’t in a position to take over, in part due to fewer ticket sales the year before.
Formula One is heading into a new direction, anyone who has the money can have a race, you just have to look at Azerbaijan to see this. There will of course be commercial decisions to be made, but if the United States has the money and is willing to invest it in the sport, is this not better than being in the middle of nowhere with little fan interaction?