Manhattan Grand Prix

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
To get F1 back into the USA Bernie Ecclestone has been in discussions with the authorities in New York to inflict another street race on us, this time around the streets on Manhattan.




Ecclestone has confirmed he was still working on a scheme to restore the United States Grand Prix to the schedule, two years after the last race at Indianapolis Speedway.

"We are getting there," he said, admitting his preferred option remains a street race in Manhattan.

BBC Sport understands Ecclestone has already had one short, abortive talk with the New York authorities about the prospect of a race through the streets of the city.
I can't express how underwhelmed I am about this idea, especially when you have an historical F1 circuit like Watkins Glen not so far away. What is Bernie's obsession with street races? The night race at Singapore is an interesting gimmick, but a gimmick none the less. The "race" around the docks in Valencia is awful and if anyone were to sit down today and think of where to hold an F1 race who in their right mind would suggest Monaco?

It would be great for the sport to have a race back in the US as this would then be a true "World Championship". But surely if the ambition is to generate interest in the sport with an American audience F1 cars have to be shown doing what they do best, racing on a proper racing circuit.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
The problem with a Manhatten GP is the American road system. It's absolutely superb for finding your way around but it leads to very boring motor racing circuits.

Remember this one?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:phoen ... ,_1990.svg

According to Wiki, just 18000 people attended the final US GP at Phoenix in 1991.

I think Bernie's obsetion with street circuits are that they are more marketable than tracks. It's nothing to do with racing and everything to do with image.

Besides this proposal he has also pushed for a Moscow GP, a London GP and a Paris GP. To Bernie a track is a track and unless you know the sport well the average casual viewer can't identify with any given circuit. I supose Bernie figures that city street circuits would attract more investment.

If you take a look at the location of some of the F1 circuits they would appear to be miles from anywhere. Silverstone for example is the middle of the countryside.

It's not a reason to host a GP however, because it should be about racing but that's not Bernies game is it.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
I'd agree with c_a_t's comments.

Bernie thinks of the $ every time.
Having races in major cities increases advertising revenue and has the potential for more fans as it's not in the middle of nowhere and they don't have to travel, which subsequently means he can charge more for the races.

I also agree with FB.
Enough with the street circuits already!
 
Sounds a nice idea but can anyone really see the mayor of New York closing down half the streets of Manhattan for 4 days and carry out upto 6 weeks of road works before the race to install curbs and grandstands. For s street circuit to work, it is kinda going to need to be in the middle of the city near to the park but that is where it is most busy. The money they would make back from hosting the race would be dwarfed by the money they would lose from closing down time square etc while annoying the notoriously angry New Yorkers, the number of people who complain about the marathon is huge so god knows what the reaction to the race would be.

Nice headline grabbing idea, never gonna happen.

If they were gonna go with a street race in the US, wouldn't somewhere like Miami be a better bet anyway.
 

bogaTYR

Points Scorer
despite all the obvious issues, i think this actually makes sense.

if circuits like spa are having issues attracting visitors, then street races in big city do attract people. remember these city races in moscow and rotterdam. massive massive crowd pullers. its an all day event with all kinds of races and other events and then an F1 exhibition as highlight. moscow alone drew 200 000 visitors on one single day, rotterdam draws many more. in comparison, spa, the jewel in the crown, drew 50 000 visitors on F1 day. and there is tradition built, the event in rotterdam is 5 years old now.

its like a day out for the whole family. not interested in the cars? go and shop or eat. convenient, easy access by car and public transport and great facilities all around. what more do you want while visiting an F1 race?

maybe some cities are less attractive as an F1 track but the idea itself makes lots of sense.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
bogaTYR said:
but the idea itself makes lots of sense.
Unless of course you're more interested in racing than shopping.

The proof is there for all to see - street circuits do not make for good races.
 

bogaTYR

Points Scorer
bro

of course a state of the art circuit has its advantages, but having the facilities of a city around makes sense. i agree some cities are better then others but the concept, the idea makes sense.
 

GeoffP

Thank you and good night
Contributor
Mind you, last time I went to Manhattan I would have said that F1 cars would need monster truck tyres to cope with the rubbish roads - maybe it's an evolution of the sport
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
bogaTYR said:
the concept, the idea makes sense.
I agree, the concept makes sense in some respects but if and only if the circuit is able to produce exciting racing.
Otherwise what's the point?
They might as well just declare the results based on qualifying.

Given the choice between travelling 5 hours to the middle of nowhere to watch some racing or walking to the center of London to watch a procession, I know which one I'd choose every time.
 

bogaTYR

Points Scorer
frog-n-flymo said:
Mind you, last time I went to Manhattan I would have said that F1 cars would need monster truck tyres to cope with the rubbish roads - maybe it's an evolution of the sport
i been to Moscow many a times, there are roads there i dont even want to walk on. but still they drove F1 cars down them. cobblestones... the lot. plus to close roads there is impossible. if its blocked the russians just drive somewhere else. i had to dive into bushes many times cos a car went racing past a traffic jam and did so by using the pedestrian area. nothing will stop a russian driver :)
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
bogaTYR said:
i been to Moscow many a times, there are roads there i dont even want to walk on. but still they drove F1 cars down them. cobblestones... the lot.
That was just a demonstration though.
It would be impossible to hold a race on a cobbled surface.

One of the big problems with street circuits in the middle of cities is the roads need to be smooth but grippy and wide enough.
Cobbled surfaces would be out, as would any road with islands or other furniture in the middle.
Even tram lines would cause a problem.

I know, how about twice around the M25? ;)
 

RickD

Pole Sitter
I think racing on cobbles would make for some hilarious action.. ;)

Twice around the M25 sounds like fun, but the drivers would need to ensure they had the correct change for the tolls..
 

bogaTYR

Points Scorer
Brogan said:
One of the big problems with street circuits in the middle of cities is the roads need to be smooth but grippy and wide enough.
Cobbled surfaces would be out, as would any road with islands or other furniture in the middle.
Even tram lines would cause a problem.
moscow got all of that, massive streets and all that separates the two driving directions is a white line. and even that is missing lots of times.

but for the spectators it does not make much difference if its a demonstration or a real race. they stand on their spot and see the cars go past. maybe for the tv spectators its more boring, but then, a street circuit offers special tricks. as you describe.

but then dow e want spectacle or racing?

choices...
 

Muddytalker

Points Scorer
A few thoughts, just thrown out there...

Why does it have to be grippy? You go as fast as the conditions dictate, if you keep spinning, take your foot of the loud pedal (see also: Piquet, Nelson Junior).

"concept makes sense in some respects but if and only if the circuit is able to produce exciting racing." Because custom-made circuits have been that much better? Lest we forget, some of the greatest tracks came from public roads.

Boga has a point in the 'shopping' aspect. I've taken Mrs Muddy and Muddy jnr to several race meets, got sunstroke at Donington, soaked through at Brands, (I even survived the first Brum Superprix) and whilst I love all racing, there is a certain degree of other people within my party being there for 'the main event'; meanwhile watching Clios buzz around for 20 minutes doesn't do much for them. I can understand that, I love the sport, and they are there to share it with me.

But, if you can say to your better half - "Let's go to this GP, it could be fun, and if it gets too dull for you, or if you don't want to actually see the race, then you can spend the day out doing whatever you want, so we're both happy", than it's got to be a good thing no?

If there is to be a USA GP, it has to be based on set criteria
a) Does the area (public) want the race?
b) Is the track suitable for GP racing?
c) Is the track conducive to the essence of car racing?

If those three conditions are met, then you can look at alternative leisure pursuits nearby, but they can't be discounted totally.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
If there is an agreement to have a maximum number of street races per season I'd be happy because I would rather F1 ran a race anywhere other than Valencia.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
When I said grippy I meant that there needs to be some grip unlike say cobblestones which would be impossible to drive on for numerous reasons.

I take your points Muddy and I can see how the extra-curricular activities would appeal to those who aren't really interested in the racing.
To them I say go off and do your shopping and leave the race watching to the rest of us ;)

If any new street circuit ends up with races as boring as Valencia (0 overtakes this year) or Monaco (4 overtakes this year) though then it defeats the purpose.
As FB said in his opening post, there is no way Monaco would get on the calendar as a new circuit now.

How about San Francisco? At least it's got some elevation changes :D

 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
I hope my original posting isn't seen as a rant against street circuits wherever they are. Long Beach for one always produced a good race and Detriot worked quite well. Phoenix had it's moments, remember Senna versus Alesi in 1990?

My main problem with Manhattan is that it appears to more about the location than the racing, similarly London, Paris, Rome, Moscow etc, etc. Spa was once a street circuit, as was (is?) Le Mans. Don't the Japanese have a fun fair or theme parks at Suzuka and Fuji and I think there is the same at Le Mans as well? If the need is for additional entertainment then the race organisers need to up their game and make it into a family day. One problem there, at £120 a ticket a family day out is pretty expensive.
 
If you want to further kill F1 in the US then hold a Manhattan GP, whats more important is a quality race not a procession through the streets of NY. Many Americans argument against F1 is the lack of close racing/passing that we are used to in our prominent forms of racing.

While my personal preference is for Watkins Glen it is approximately 4.5 hours from NYC and 2 hours from Rochester. The town itself isn't quite big enough for the amount of people as far as hotel rooms and restaurants etc. The closest big city is Rochester but they have no problem running NASCAR, Indy, and Grand Am cars there. The listed number of seats is only 41,000.

Another possibility to run a real road course in the east is Mid-Ohio which can take 65,000 and is only an hour or so from Columbus OH. But still that is a bit small considering they got 200k+ at Indy. The crowd at Mid-Ohio is a very passionate racing crowd something that I would doubt you would see in Manhattan.

You could fit 100k+ at Laguna Seca as well but I don't think a western GP would work well for time differential. I would think Sebring may be a little to rough of a track, There is also Road Atlanta and Road America but they really don't have the facilities either.

This is the biggest problem with the USGP, there is no great location. Either you get really far away from bad racing at Indy and Daytona with a big crowd or you have to attempt to deal with a small crowd which with the ridiculous fees makes it tough to brake even.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
Well said and a useful insight into some of the US circuits, thanks.
I never realised Watkins Glen was that far away from NYC.

I don't think the time differential with regards to Laguna Seca would be too much of a problem.
After all we already have races with 10 hour time zone differences and the MotoGP fans seem to manage when they race there.

I'd love to see a race at Laguna Seca but is the circuit suitable for F1 cars?
I can see some potential problems at the corkscrew due to the gradient, etc.

Although having said that, Ricardo Zonta makes it look easy in a Toyota.


The other issue is it is only 3.6km so is fairly short and only a few hundred metres longer than Monaco.
 
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