Posted on October 27, 2011
Screen shot 2011-10-22 at 08.45.19

The confirmation on Tuesday of the news that there will be a second F1 race in America from 2013 onwards is positive for the sport. Rather than write about this from a purely F1 insiders perspective, I asked a long time JA on F1 reader and poster, Rudy Pyatt, who lives in the area, to give us a local perspective on the news and I have intercut his thoughts with mine.

Rudy Pyatt writes: There are three key parts of the potential audience. F1 must win them over, or this event will be Phoenix all over again.

The easiest audience to get, of course, is the “Monaco demographic” – attracted by the opportunity to conduct business while impressing clients, or simply to see and be seen by others making the scene. The setting alone should carry that element. Note that there are three yacht basins nearby, at least one of which regularly has maxi yachts (complete with their own helicopters) berthed there. Bernie and the teams will certainly like that!

JA writes: From a business point of view this race is going to be very important, much as Singapore is in Asia. This is a race that CEOs of companies investing in F1 will come to, staying in New York City and entertaining existing and potential clients. F1 works for global companies, allowing the local markets to entertain and for the CEO and board to visit and make connections. Whether it’s banks like UBS and Santander or manufacturers like Mercedes, the high end hospitality suits known as the Paddock Club will be sold out for this event, as they are at Singapore and Abu Dhabi. That is unlikely to change as the years go on. You really have to see that side of F1 in action to appreciate its power as a rallying point for companies. It also opens the door for more American based global companies to come into the sport. Whereas the fans number maybe 100,000 paying $200 each, the Paddock Club is 5,000 people on tickets costing $1500 each. The difference is that the ticket sales go to the promoter, his only way of recouping the costs. The Paddock Club money goes to FOM, who pass on 50% to the teams.

Rudy Pyatt writes: Then there’s the huge gearhead (translation: “petrolhead”) population in New York and New Jersey. One of the most famous drag strips in the world, Englishtown, is in New Jersey. Anyone who has listened to any of Bruce Springsteen’s old records (yes, he is from New Jersey) has heard his tributes to the drag racing car culture in The Garden State. Existing F1 fans coming from Europe and elsewhere aside, the local gearheads will naturally be attracted to this event… Unless F1 simply takes their presence for granted and treats them as unsophisticated yokels who can’t appreciate or understand F1, and who should be impressed JUST because it’s F1. There was way too much of that during the Indianapolis years, and it can’t happen this time. F1 must reach out to this audience. Take an F1 car to Englishtown and lay down some quarter mile times, with the main drivers, not the reserves. And, just like Lewis’ switch with Tony Stewart, put one of the top F1 guys into a Top Fuel or Funny Car, all 6,000 horsepower, 0-300 mph in 4 seconds of it: Have Michael Schumacher trade seats with Tony “The Sarge” Schumacher, multi-time Top Fuel champion and perennial championship contender. Drag racing is probably the most common form of motor racing here, the one that most people actually participate in nationally – and it’s probably the most the fan friendly, for that reason. F1 has to meet or exceed that standard.

JA writes: There are a lot of car enthusiasts up and down the Eastern seaboard of the USA, plus many ethnic groups with F1 sympathies, particularly Italians of course. It’s a bit like Melbourne in that respect. I don’t foresee a problem getting the F1 hardcore to this race, the people who watch the races on SPEED TV in the US. The only issue is, it’s close to Montreal in both distance and scheduling, so which race will suffer from that? Montreal will have to raise its game.


Rudy Pyatt writes: Finally, there are people who are at best curious. But this is the New York area, and there’s lots to get interested about at any time. F1 can’t take it for granted that its international stature will automatically make it THE thing to be curious about, but does need to play on that curiosity. Friends that I spoke to about this event mentioned taking a car, crew and driver (again, the starters, not the bench players) to local elementary schools and talking to students (note: The Liberty Science Center, which holds all manner of educational and kid-friendly programs, is near the area where the race will be); another friend mentioned putting an F1 car on flatbed truck and driving it around Brooklyn, or elsewhere in NYC. I’d add that you might put a car “on the hook,” pulled behind a tow truck, through various neighborhoods. Maybe have F1 racers drive a cab for a few hours. Take pictures of drivers riding on subway trains and use them in ads – something like Vettel riding the A-Train at rush hour with the caption, “He knows he can go faster…” Or, again, same kind of picture of Lewis riding in a cab with the same caption; or Schumi and his MB on the car deck of the Staten Island Ferry. And put those ads on the subways, ferries and other transit ad outlets, like cabs and commuter trains. Drive an F1 car across the Brooklyn Bridge, even.

Memo to Bernie and FOTA: If you use any of these ideas, let ‘em know I sent ya…

JA writes All good ideas, Rudy. I think F1 has to really go to work on this race, putting on a package of engagements at all levels, including driver appearances on the big TV chat shows, car demonstrations in Manhattan, a FOTA Fan Forum to engage with the fans, autograph sessions at Macy’s and then business forums where US companies can come and meet team bosses and existing sponsors to get a feel for what F1 can do for them


Rudy Pyatt writes: Sure these are gimmicks, probably undignified, and ordinarily beneath F1′s image. But you can never, ever, dismiss or underestimate the possibilities for what may sink the hook into someone’s curiosity and snag them into actual interest. You’ve got to show people that you WANT to entertain and amaze them. Bernie, CVC, and FOTA and their sponsors, all of them, must make a sustained effort to draw people in – and starting RIGHT NOW. Not next year, not 2013. The necessary marketing push can’t wait until a couple of months before the race, or even six months before. Right now, F1 needs to start the marketing. I mean newspapers, online publications, radio, TV commercials, billboards, in-person, what have you. To make it here, time starts now for F1, and the clock is ticking.

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F1 against a Manhattan skyline – a local reader’s thoughts
126 Responses

  1.   1. Posted By: F1 Musings
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 10:09 am 

    Well, he’s got a great imagination for marketing ideas. Get the man on board, organisers!

    I get the feeling that this race is more vital than the Austin race in respect of getting the public to the race and to embrace it. The Austin race, on its own purpose-built track, will attract people naturally but if people won’t go to a race where there’s 10m people on the doorstep then F1 will be seen as a continuing failure in the U.S.

    [Reply]

    gonzeche Reply:

    Isn’t it the other way around?!
    I hope I’m wrong, but I can’t imagine that many people in the US (other than the usual suspects i.e. petrolheads) wishinig to attend F1(or even interested in watching at all!) in a purpose-built track nowhere less than in Austin TX…
    But if hell breaks loose on my doorstep, maybe I am moved to have a look through the window!

    Nevertheless, F1 shouldn’t take anything for granted. Myself I would tune in for Jenson and Lewis pairing up as MC & DJ on a street jam somewhere in NYC… Come on, most UK fans on JAonF1 already don’t care anyway, not intending to subscribe Sky for next season (so they say…)

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    F1Fan Reply:

    While I welcome having F1 in NJ, I think like with all the other new venues, it will take time to establish NJ as a successful location. It might seem like a slam dunk, but I don’t think it is. Although the area is sandwiched by a couple of good race tracks (Pocono in Pennsylvania and Lime Rock in Connecticut) the reality is that racing isn’t a major sport in the NYC metro area.

    Perhaps it’s because the region is saturated by other major sports, with 2 major teams in football, baseball, basketball and hockey, but auto racing gets scant coverage in this area. About the only time you see auto racing covered in the sports segment of the news is when there is a wreck in a race, and even then, the sportscaster doesn’t bother to say who the race.

    Indycar tried to make it here at the Meadowlands years ago and ended up pulling out after a few races. Recently NASCAR was trying to build a track in Staten Island and could get support. And let’s not forget that F1 thought there was a deal to race in Jersey City at Liberty State Park and couldn’t get enough support from the locals.

    What the area does have going for it is lots of celebrities and wealthy residents who will want to be seen at F1 in as much as they do at Monaco. But will that be enough to sustain the sport? Since this will be a street circuit, rather than a permanent venue like Austin, it means that the area will be inconvenienced for a few weeks (at least) each year as the track and facilities are laid down. It’s already a very congested area. Will the residents be willing to put up with such inconveniences? Metro NY residents are not exactly known for patience.

    I’ve lived in NYC and NJ for a few decades. I also lived in Austin. I look forward to having F1 in both places. But in as much as Ecclestone craves the Manhattan backdrop, I think it will be his biggest challenge yet.

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  2.   2. Posted By: Michael Cerroti
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 10:21 am 

    Its going to be one of the best races ever.

    [Reply]

    gonzeche Reply:

    You mean the one live on Sky or the deferred edit on BBC?!

    [Reply]

    rad_g Reply:

    live on sky

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  3.   3. Posted By: Justin Lewis
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 10:31 am 

    Can someone find a half decent American driver by 2013? Put him in Massa’s seat at Ferrari and let him go to town building up interest.

    [Reply]

    Douglas Reply:

    There are loads of “half decent” North American drivers – the question is do they want to leave the comfort of home to go live in Europe? It’s a great question – can’t fathom why a continent with a combined population in excess of 330 million doesn’t have one driver in F1.
    But then France doesn’t either…
    Would you settle for a German driver of US lineage?

    [Reply]

    Randy Torres Reply:

    Dude leave Felipe and his seat at Ferrai alone. As far as I can see there are no American drivers at that level, unless of course you slide Danica into a Ferrari to appeal to the drool fools!

    [Reply]


  4.   4. Posted By: Yousuf Mahmood
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 10:35 am 

    As a fellow New Yorker, totally agree with Rudy’s marketing ideas. Let Lewis drive a NYC Yellow cab and make an ad out of it or something, or how about Vettel on the Letterman show? One of the teams must do a F1 demonstration in Manhattan asap

    [Reply]

    Jeff Reply:

    Letterman has been asking MS to come on the show or over a decade…he refuses. Time to try another german perhaps?

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  5.   5. Posted By: Left Philangie
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 10:38 am 

    Americans like their engines big and loud.
    They will get 1 year of that.
    Will they stay and support afterwoods……?

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  6.   6. Posted By: goferet
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 10:39 am 

    Despite all the $$$ advantages of heading to New Jersey, I think it’s immoral for any one country to have two Grand Prix in a year especially so when teams are already crying over a packed calendar.

    If the US really wants to have two races then they should do want Germany does & interchange between two tracks every two years but since we’re are talking about FOM here & the possibility of making more money from two races, we can forget that ever happening.

    Yes Rugdy has put forward some very nice marketing concepts & if it were any other country, they would have worked but lets not forget this is the US we’re dealing with.

    F1 will never catch on in the States for F1 by it’s very nature is anticompetition and real Americans (and not foreigners living in the US) can never stand for any sport where you have the likes of Red Bull way ahead of the competition & the likes of Lotus, Virgin & HRT who are just there to make up the numbers.

    F1 in USA has bad idea written all over it, but hey Bernie doesn’t care for as long as the licence fee is paid, we can even race on the moon

    [Reply]

    gonzeche Reply:

    Well yes, it was for moral considerations that they kept it one Grand Prix per country… Then there is the European GP held in Vatican State…

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    US needs 3 races minimum. Plus Canada!

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    Phil Reply:

    I’m guessing you don’t follow any US sports. Baseball is exactly like that. With no salary cap, Yankees are always a top team.
    To a lesser extent, basketball with soft/hard cap rules. Look at Boston, LA being tops teams always.

    [Reply]

    David Young Reply:

    +1
    certainly in America. In baseball and basketball the teams that spend the most money and dominate (Yankees, Red Sox, Lakers, Magic) are the most popular. Manchester United are probably the most popular football/soccer for Americans. Without wanting to generalize, it seems that Americans love winners.

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    Robert Reply:

    America is home to over 300m and has the largest economy in the world. The country is over 3,000 miles coast-to-coast. The country is large enough to host two GP’s, with the question of the moment being can it provide enough fans for two GP’s.

    [Reply]

    jeff Reply:

    Yes, it’s one country. It’s one bloody big country. There’s about 1750 miles between Austin, TX and the site of the proposed NJ track. Add another 150 miles to that, and you could get from London to Istanbul. How many GPs happen each year within 1750 miles of London?

    Speaking as someone who made the 500+ mile motorcycle ride from NC to the USGP at Indianapolis several times, I believe that America has enough F1 fans to make it work. Many of them are expats like myself, but I also have US colleagues who are fans, so that isn’t the whole story. Don’t forget that the inaugural USGP at Indy drew 250,000 spectators, which I believe is still a record today for an F1 race.

    I think the tyre debacle ruined the Indianapolis race, but I’m still hopeful that F1 can take off in the USA. Whether it can take off in one of the USA’s least attractive states (sorry NJ residents), where a fun game to play at the airport is ‘Spot the member of staff who is actually smiling’ is another story.

    [Reply]

    Randy Torres Reply:

    He goferet I don’t know what planet you’re from but you ain’t American and much less a New Yorker. Have you ever heard of the San Diego Clippers, the Detroit Tigers or lord help us the NY Rangers? How about the Yankees, ever heard of them? F1 can succeed in the US, both in Austin and NYC. Our country is so big, so diverse and frankly so rich that we could easily handle 2 GPs. Austin is not in the same planet as NY. F1 will be a bigger deal there, but F1 in NY will have a bigger impact on the sport. In both cases however, success will only come if the events are promoted and managed in a professional, efficient and way. The job has to be done and it has to be done well, especially in NY, which has so many entertainment options. As far as I’m concerned you’ll see me in NY, Austin and Montreal! One last point, a friendly reminder to Bernie and the lads, New Jersey ain’t NY. There’s a reason why Jersey people come to the City and not vice versa. In my estimation this race has to be in Nueva York bro!

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  7.   7. Posted By: Danny
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 10:42 am 

    Will the race be “sold” as the New York Grand Prix or the New Jersey Grand Prix?

    [Reply]

    Nigel (USA) Reply:

    It’s in New Jersey and not in New York, but the track runs through the towns of “West New York” and “Weehawken” and it looks out towards Manhattan…..so expect it to get the name of the West New York Grand Prix.

    (Sort of like London Heathrow, London Gatwick, London Stansted and London Luton Airports are not in London…)

    [Reply]


  8.   8. Posted By: iceman
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 10:46 am 

    Rudy has some great ideas for promoting the NY/NJ race. I’m wondering, if I were Bernie, which drivers would I put on Letterman to get the viewers interested in F1? Lewis Hamilton is the big celebrity name, but not really the guy who would come across best on a light-hearted talk show.
    Vettel would be my first choice I think, he was great on Top Gear. Webber or Schumacher could be good, but I wouldn’t want to put up two drivers from the same team or country. Maybe Vettel and Button?

    [Reply]

    Mark V Reply:

    Kimi and Kubica. ;)

    [Reply]

    iceman Reply:

    Perfect :D

    [Reply]


  9.   9. Posted By: franed
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 10:49 am 

    Doesn’t Bernie always just leave the track to do the promotion?
    The teams often do this kind of street demo running an F1 car up and down. Here is a chance for FOTA to make an effort and help put some of Rudy’s ideas into practice. But no doubt they will spend tens of thousands on PR consultants instead, who will then come up with the same ideas.

    [Reply]

    Phil Reply:

    I disagree, they’ll spend hunderds of thousands and come up with worse ideas that Rudy!

    [Reply]

    Andrew Carter Reply:

    Normally, but apparently the teams have already been having a very close look at sorting out the promotion in the states for the Austin race, they’ll just ramp that up to include the NJ one as well now.

    [Reply]


  10.   10. Posted By: john g
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 10:51 am 

    sadly, i think F1 will do very little to herald its arrival into the states and NY. Bernie seems to maintain an attitude that F1 is above any other form of motorsport, and cities and fans should be grateful that F1 has graced them with its presence, hence why you should be pleased to pay £300 for a ticket to see cars at a distance, with zero access to the pitlane or drivers at any point. The paddock club will be popular for these races, so Bernie gets his cut, as he will do for the race hosting fee’s. He has shown time and again, it’s not in his interest for fans to be involved.

    We can hope that some of the teams take it upon themselves to do some promotion ahead of the Austin and NY GP’s, as I think they realise that America does not need F1 (the teams are largely unknown, as are the drivers), and they need to make the effort.

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  11.   11. Posted By: wayne
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 10:56 am 

    Montreal might not be the one to suffer with the average fan, as it is a good track. New Jersey needs to combine some of the the glamour of Monaco with the layout of Montreal; let’s face it Monaco’s actual racing is fairly dull no matter how much people wax lyrical about it.

    Were I offered a free trip to any F1 race on the calendar it would not be Dubai or Monaco, it would be to Belgium, Turky, England, Canada, Italy etc.

    Will New Jersey join that list?

    [Reply]


  12.   12. Posted By: Jolyon
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 10:59 am 

    James, d’you think this will have an impact on finally getting a US based team back into F1?

    Are the number of teams locked down now for the foreseeable future?

    Surely the best way to get US fans interested is if there’s actually an America driver in the race are there any rookies on your radar that might have a drive by 2013?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I’d be very surprised if anyone tried that again! Not to say a US company won’t buy an F1 team, as they have with Premier League soccer teams like Liverpool, Man United and Arsenal

    [Reply]

    CanadaGP Reply:

    I don’t think the failure of the USGP F1 team s/d be taken as an indicator since it’s a sample size of one. I do think having a successful US Grand Prix, or two, would need to come first before American companies, investors, and American drivers become more attracted to F1. There was more interest in America in F1 in the 1960s. But then F1 was a niche sport and there seems to be a feeling that today it’s not successful unless it becomes a mega thing. Don’t underestimate the power of Hollywood. If there’s a good movie on F1 that becomes a hit it would make US GP success a lot easier.

    [Reply]


  13.   13. Posted By: Aljo
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 11:07 am 

    F1 has to get this right first time. If it misses the chance, does job half heartedly and alienates its potential customers in the first year the mud will stick, the word will spread and it may never recover.
    Think of Istanbul, a good track in a huge city of 15 million people. Poor planning and promotion and a disappointing experience for the spectators who did turn up in the first year gave it a local reputation that eventually finished it.

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  14.   14. Posted By: F1Fan4Life
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 11:08 am 

    Hi James,

    An F1 track in the States sounds great and all, and two sounds better. That aside, I was wondering if you had any insight on the future F1 Calendars, because it seems to me that every other month there is a new F1 track now; What tracks are going to move aside for the new ones?

    If I remember correctly Bernie said a maximum F1 calendar would be 20 races. So we’ve got India, Russia, Jersey and Austin…being from Singapore, and given that the Singapore GP contract ends next year, is Singapore remotely safe? I’d be devastated if there was no more Spa…

    [Reply]


  15.   15. Posted By: Simon Donald
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 11:10 am 

    Rudy makes some excellent points about how to sell F1 for the NJ race. I have attended the Bahrain grand prix a few times (2004,5,6,7,9,10) and the F1 advertising they put on was everywhere, in the airport, in the malls, on buildings, radio etc and for long periods of time. However there wasn’t the population or commercial reach to make it as big as what this New York race can be, I am very excited by it and hope it does F1 proud.

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  16.   16. Posted By: terryshep
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 11:41 am 

    This will be a great opportunity for international fans to bond with those folks in N.Y. who get together in groups to watch the races. I remember one of them posting on here a few months back and extending an invitation to any visiting racewatchers to come and meet them.

    Let’s not forget it’s about the guy & gal in the street as well as big business. We’re the ones who buy the products and make the whole thing work.

    [Reply]


  17.   17. Posted By: Trent
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 11:56 am 

    The problem, perhaps, is that Bernie only has a relatively small motivation to make the race work.

    It’s much better for him to have countries vying for a position on the calender, stumping up yet greater sums of money for the privilege, rather than have a relatively stable set of races with no one ‘bidding’ for a new slot.

    Obviously, this situation will not last forever if every new GP is a failure – but at the moment it’s Bernie’s market and the incentive to make a race work is small compared to that of enticing new races – and the outcome of that, sadly, is empty grandstands, broke promoters and bitter local communities.

    [Reply]


  18.   18. Posted By: Andy Wallace
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 12:10 pm 

    Top Fuel cars are meant to be nearer 10,000 BHP now, but there are no dynos for them…

    I am sure they require a very special skill set, learned through all the feeder formulas, clearly tricky to drive, sadly I do not think we will see F1 stars in them, even though they really are amazing vehicles.

    Getting some along to do Demo runs would be nice, but no F1 tracks have straights long enough for anything more than a Burnout AFAIK.

    [Reply]


  19.   19. Posted By: young slinger
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 12:12 pm 

    Yet again, a good feature with some common sense for promoting the sport. Pity not much will be done by FOM, just the usual ‘send the B team in to do a few doughnuts to keep the natives happy’ attitude. Well thought out, Rudy.

    [Reply]


  20.   20. Posted By: Lez Martin
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 12:49 pm 

    In my estimation, New York has a great potential for locals, who seem to have a new thirst for F1, after the excitement of the theatrical release of Senna: The Movie, and this may be built on, after a release of the Ron Howard movie, ‘Rush’.
    There will be the hard core, and the curious. Maybe I am wrong, but the people of New York, and surrounding areas, seem to embrace things better, than the rest of the country.
    The other thing to look at is scheduling, as the GP weekend does not want to be going head to head with any other Events, that could detract from potential spectators, that may be lured elsewhere, as may be so for next years GP in Austin, though, as mentioned, Montreal could suffer.
    A large advertising campaign will have to happen, to get people thinking about it, and drum up excitement.
    Hopefully it will take off, the only downside is who, in the rest of the race calender will lose out?

    [Reply]


  21.   21. Posted By: Alonso Fan
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 12:54 pm 

    I totally agree with Rudy on this. It is interesting that what America needs to promote F1, should also be done in the UK and other European countries. As a diehard fan for the last 20 years I often feel taken for granted, the move to Sky, the lack of multimedia options etc etc The powers that be within F1 forget that without us watching no company would pay to fund the “show” that is F1. However I don’t think much of it will ever happen………

    [Reply]


  22.   22. Posted By: Sebee
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 1:03 pm 

    Anyone who has been to a few races, Montreal among them will likely attest that few races can match Montreal for atmosphere and passion. It is by far the most enjoyable race a fan can take in right now.

    Of course I’m not saying that the yet to happen NJ race will be worse. Simply, that I don’t feel Montreal needs to step up it’s game. If anything NJ has a high bar to live up to or pass. The ingredients are certainly there – and the back to back status will make it easy to compare. As a North American fan, I always used to schedule a September vacation when Spa and Monza were on back to back weekends. European fans are about to have the same option here for Montreal and NJ now.

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  23.   23. Posted By: Ben
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 1:08 pm 

    Of course, it wouldn’t do any harm if FOM/F1/FOTA/FIA tried these kinds of promotional activities in other territories!

    In fact, for goodness sake, this is EXACTLY what they SHOULD already be doing. There’s far too much of sitting on the laurels of years past in the upper echelons of the sport!

    [Reply]


  24.   24. Posted By: John Q
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 1:25 pm 

    “The confirmation on Tuesday of the news that there will be a second F1 race in America from 2013 onwards is positive for the sport”

    James, Canada and Brazil are also in America, so I think you mean in the United States of America.

    [Reply]


  25.   25. Posted By: Tony Petrilli
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 1:26 pm 

    Hi James,

    I am a long time F1 fan and regulary attend the Montreal race as I was born and raised there. I was also lucky enough to be able to attend the Fota Fan Forum event in Montreal that you hosted this year.

    I like the suggestions made by both Rudy and yourself, in particular taking a run across the Manhattan bridge and the Schumacher’s swapping rides.

    I don’t consider any of the suggestions to be demeaning at all. This is race and event promotion.

    Fota and FOM must do all it can to appeal to both the hardcore fan and the new potential fan. They must not do as they did in the past and act in an elitist manner. If they do they will be doomed to repeat thier mistakes.

    Cheers
    Tony

    [Reply]


  26.   26. Posted By: Bruce
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 1:32 pm 

    This guy sounds like he knows what he is talking about and he puts forward some good ideas. To me, there’s no doubt that an F1 race in New Jersey New York would be great but as Rudy says, ‘it has got to be advertised properly’ and as soon as possible once it gets the go-ahead from Bernie and the FIA.
    Bring it on and I hope its one of the races the BBC broadcasts it live!

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  27.   27. Posted By: Adriano Bottiani
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 1:33 pm 

    I LOVE the thought of a modern F1 car tearing up the quarter mile at night! The teams are allowed straight line tests by the FIA so why not involve every constructor and turn it in into a competition for fun? Like Rudy says, F1 hasn’t treated US motorsport fans very kindly of late and this is just the sort of thing that could allow many of our US buddies an instant hook into the smell and taste of F1 machinery. Webber might need some coaching though (sorry Mark!).

    [Reply]

    Robert Small Reply:

    Thats a great idea! i would love to see formula 1 cars try other things, see how a f1 car compares to the regular drag cars. would like to see how an f1 car would compare to the indy cars!

    [Reply]

    George Goad Reply:

    And that begs the question: how would Dragsters do on a road course? Not very well, I’d imagine.

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    Sebee Reply:

    Have to keep it pure F1. No drag racing F1 cars for fun. F1 car will look like a tractor compared to NHRA top fuel funny cars. F1 should stick to what it does best.

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    Andrew Carter Reply:

    No, I think seeing the F1 cars doing a quarter mile strip for fun would be great, especially if we can get a few teams to make a friendly competition out of it, but your right that putting them up against a top fuel or funny car would be a terrible idea.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    I hear everyone’s calls for promotion and their ideas but…

    A drag race in F1 cars would have to happen under safe conditions. And why would teams do this with cars meant for racing that weekend? And if not those cars than that means they have to bring more hardware just for this silly show – either cars or engines. And the calls to do it on a bridge in one of the comments here – well, that’s just silly. These are pro pilots, not thirteen year olds on a joy ride in their parents car. No racing body would ever drag race anything except on a bridge – except perhaps for the lawnmower racing association.

    These are all just brain storming ideas, which have not been thought through in many cases. Analyze these ideas and see why it makes no sense in most cases. F1 Grand Prix is the show. If that’s not enough – you missed the point. Turning F1 cars into a gimmick and something they are not is simply misadvertising. Drag race of non F1 cars as support entertainment? Maybe. But let’s not make fools of F1 drivers, teams and technology. And why are you at a F1 GP anyway? To watch drag racing? Go to you local drag strip for $20 – cheaper and you get your target entertainment.

    Let’s also give American F1 fans some credit. Yes, there is a lot of sport entertainment competition in US – and perhaps this saturated market is harder to penetrate. But to belittle the fans and make them think they don’t understand F1 and need to be shown what it is like a 2 year old is silly. Awareness of event is one thing. Dropping an F1 car at a subway station for show so it can get stripped of it’s wheels and left on crates is another.


  28.   28. Posted By: Paul H
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 1:42 pm 

    Great report! One of the best parts of your site is the fan interaction it offers and I really believe the fact you obviously value fan opinion and promote it is why a lot of people visit so regularly. Thank you to Rudy for giving a local perspective of the goals and pitfalls of a new race.

    I think the main thing the race has to do, more than any other race, is not only capture attention but retain it once the initial novelty wears off. Strong marketing is key here and I agree that the teams have to actively promote themselves at every opportunity over the next year and create a build up of atmosphere and expectations. I just really hope that we don’t have a car that is streets ahead of the rest with the result the race is over by the first corner. If this happened I think that the first time viewers would lose interest very quickly.

    Have there been any track layout proposals published yet? I think overtaking areas and good public viewing areas will be vital in capturing the imagination of a nation with so many other forms of far more established entertainment on offer.

    [Reply]


  29.   29. Posted By: JamesF1
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 1:46 pm 

    Nice idea, but I don’t see ANY team letting one of their drivers loose in a drag car.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I went in one with Bruno Senna last year in Abu Dhabi. It was a passenger ride dragster – amazing!

    [Reply]


  30.   30. Posted By: Laura
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 1:48 pm 

    I wouldn’t under-estimate the Brits who’ll cross the pond for this one. And maybe bring a few yank friends along with them. (That’ll be me then:D)

    [Reply]

    Nigel (USA) Reply:

    Note: Fly into Newark, not New York or you’ll end up hours away from the circuit.

    [Reply]


  31.   31. Posted By: Chapor
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 1:55 pm 

    I for one would love to see an F1 car doing a quarter mile drag race… I would love to know what times it could achieve.

    [Reply]

    Douglas Reply:

    Perhaps this could be another competition?

    [Reply]

    tobi-wan Reply:

    Funny you should say that. I used to help with a UK Super Gas crew many years ago. We often debated this.

    Then someone said a modern F1 car (then the 3.0 V10) would run in the 7-8 seconds range. If that’s true then that’s very impressive. Traction off the line would be an issue, but once they hook up they should fly.

    [Reply]


  32.   32. Posted By: CD
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 1:59 pm 

    3 words, Letterman Letterman Letterman.
    An avid motorsport fan and quite often has ‘theme weeks’.
    ie: a couple of years ago U2 spent the whole week promoting an album release.
    I can see David Letterman getting behind a local F1 race bigtime( a different world champ every night).

    [Reply]

    ESLKid75 Reply:

    Jay Leno is also a total car nut. Have drivers on Leno and Letterman in the weeks leading up to the GP would totally work.

    But yes, ultimately the show has to be good, so if the track sucks or if 1 car dominates and there isn’t enough passing, then it will fail.

    On a lighter note, I find it funny that Texas (the reddest of the red states) subsidizes its race, but the New York area (bluest of the blues) doesn’t. Republicans are such hypocrites…

    [Reply]


  33.   33. Posted By: Foz
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 2:00 pm 

    Rudy you are a marketing genius. Why not combine an f1 vs funny car drag race on the Brooklyn bridge!

    I am genuinely excited about this race. I love NYC and to combine that with F1 would be amazing.

    I bet start saving to get there.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    Because F1 doesn’t stand a chance. Do you know that funny cars reach up to 500km/hr in under 5 seconds? F1 100km/hr in 2 seconds. You may as well try your chances against Bolt in 100m.

    It’s a different discipline. You can have a charity event of some sort in gokarts not to offend car sponsors for fun to not bruise egos. But F1 vs Top Fuel is like putting up a concorde against the space shuttle. Pointless in my view.

    [Reply]


  34.   34. Posted By: Quercus
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 2:08 pm 

    I found the course on Google Earth using the artist’s impression shown on the BBC F1 site and the distinctive ferry terminal that juts out into the Hudson River. It’s at Union City on the west bank of the river (assuming, of course, that the artist’s impression is accurate).

    It appears to have quite a few high speed bends and only a couple of the tight bends that make street circuits like Singapore so boring. Seems like it should be quite easy to achieve the sort of atmosphere we see at Monaco — but with overtaking opportunities. The best of both worlds, in fact.

    [Reply]


  35.   35. Posted By: B Martin
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 2:43 pm 

    My office is in Jersey City. I can say for certain if the pit stops are any longer than 3 seconds, the Jersey City PD will be booting the wheel and ticketing the cars.

    [Reply]


  36.   36. Posted By: Michael P
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 3:09 pm 

    I just don’t think F1 will be big in North America with grass roots advertising and 3 races alone. Here is where I think we need change:

    1. CONSISTENT AND IN-DEPTH MEDIA COVERAGE: Even with a packed race in Montreal year in and year out, the coverage of an F1 season is a joke compared to the coverage Europeans get with pre and post shows. We get no coverage on pre season testing, no coverage of Friday practice and no coverage in local newspapers about the teams and what they are doing. We are lucky to get 100 words in the sports page on a Monday after a race without any pictures.

    I have to get my F1 fill from online media sources that are based out of the UK. You will have your die hard fans like myself and maybe you can hook a few people with first time curiosity, but to go head to head with American Football, baseball, basketball is an impossible task. National League Hockey is still struggling in many US markets and that is with continuous coverage on NBC, versus etc and decades and decades of experience. Americans and sports go hand and hand but for a new sport to come in and break up the top three is virtually impossible.

    2. DRIVER REPRESENTATION: We need North American drivers that we can relate too and cheer for. The last Canadian driver was Jacques Villenuve and American Scott Speed never really got a chance. If this sports wants more media coverage in this part of the world then we need a hero we can idolize. Robert Wickens needs to get a race seat in 2012. Does F1 really need 5/6 drivers from Germany?

    [Reply]

    Robert Small Reply:

    on your 2nd point. i agree an american driver would help promote the sport. but f1 drives shouldn’t be rewarded for nationality but for talent!

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    You said it. Free to air F1 for a few seasons would be nice too.

    [Reply]


  37.   37. Posted By: George
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 3:14 pm 

    I am extremely skeptical that this race will be a success.

    First, there is the financial aspect for New Jersey and the West New York. Chris Christie (New Jersey governor) has stated that there will not be any subsidies for the race, and the race promoter said he will reimburse the town for any expenses, but if this is just fudging the numbers, and NJ makes a loss there will be hell to pay. Especially given that Christie has cut so many government programs.

    Second, this race will need a lot of interest from outside the NYC metropolitan area. Most people I know don’t even know what Formula 1 is (and many have not even heard of it). And sure there are some gearheads over in central and south Jersey, but that is certainly not true for NYC. Many people don’t even have cars, and even if they do they do not drive very often. In addition, there is a ton of entertainment competition in NYC. I think the media coverage of the race will be that the race is simply one of a number of other options for people to attend on that weekend.

    Will there be a lot of interest from people outside the area to sustain the race financially? Maybe. Will enough of those people stay in and spend money in New Jersey for the state to continue to support it? That, I think, is the key question.

    [Reply]


  38.   38. Posted By: Jodum5
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 3:19 pm 

    IN the run up to the race in Austin next year AND the race in Jersey, all major F1 teams NEED to do road shows and press junkets in the US. regardless of whether people are fans if an F1 road show came to DC, Chicago, NY (Manhattan or Brooklyn), LA, San Fran, Austin, Dallas, etc. hordes of people will show up. It only needs to be locally (and new media) advertised. That will go a long way in creating an initial impression that could be reinforced through regular press on the sport/drivers/teams/history over the course of a season (not to mention several years).

    F1 needs to get agressive and creative with its marketing in the U.S. We have plenty of other things to hold our attention (baseball in summer; football, hockey, college sports, basketball in the Fall) so simply holding two races in a year isn’t going to cut it.

    Finally, to maximize coverage the sport needs to lobby the local and national media to get races and news mentioned in newspapers and websites. Drivers need to get on late night and daytime talkshows. Eventually, F1 needs a network or ESPN coverage of races (this is say a five year plan).

    [Reply]

    Nika Wattinen Reply:

    F1 does have to do something to spur the media interest in the US. On Tuesday night, I watched the news to see what was going to be reported by the NY networks…

    Sports came on with no mention of the F1 deal, rather they ran a piece on ’25 years ago today the NY Mets won the World Series’, followed by a snippet about a 19 year old kid who did a semi-impressive dunk in a college basketball game…

    F1 rights in the US are owned by Fox Sports, with most races being shown on Speed (not free). So ESPN (part of Disney, with ABC) wouldn’t get rights, nor do they ever mention any F1.

    We get FP2, Quali and the Race, however Fox shows mid-season races (typically Canada and the following 4 GPs) on its national network in the 1pm timeslot (regardless of what time the race actually takes place – you think you had it tough in the UK!). Clearly, they’ll be showing both US races on the network.

    [Reply]


  39.   39. Posted By: Ed
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 3:23 pm 

    James,

    planetf1.com are now reporting that Kimi has signed for Williams at last, any news?

    (fingers crossed)

    [Reply]


  40.   40. Posted By: Roberto
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 3:46 pm 

    Dear James,

    Having lived in the states for a long period of time and attended the race at indianapolis in 2004, i can`t agree more with Mr. Pyatt comments, most american motor racing fans only care for Nascar, Drag racing, among others, specially the first one were “all american” it`s their motto, therefore F1 needs to do a huge work on Marketing and Public Relations to get to this fans and create a big audience for the show. I remember the indianapolis race was broadcasted by FOX instead of Speed without any advertising in the weeks previous to the race with a very bad coverage and not using their own people from speed (Who are very very good at it; specially Steve Matchet), therefor there has to be a lo of investment on advertising, promoting interviews to the drivers and highly recognized people on the talk shows (NBC, CBS, FOX, etc) in order to create a good audience, i remember being in indianapolis and most fans at the track were foreign, not american.

    [Reply]

    David Young Reply:

    America is a large and diverse country. I think you have to be careful not to generalize too much. Oregon is very, very different from Texas. Kansas and California could not be more different. In fact there’s a difference in cultures of Northern and Southern California! New York City is among other things, multi-cultural, cosmopolitan, sophisticated . . . Selling F1 in this area would be very different than trying to sell it in Indianoplis, St. Louis, Kansaa . . . it’s a different audience. And on the subject of how Americans only love NASCAR, does NASCAR even have a race in the New York City area?

    [Reply]

    Roberto Reply:

    The nearest track is Watkins Glenn were F1 had races many years ago. It is certain that NY is multicultural and sophisticated therefor there could be good attention to the race weekend, also there is The Monticello Motor Club which for sure most of it´s high profile members will attend the race. In the year 2000 Eddie Irvine drove a Jaguar in NYC and also made an appearance in the David Letterman show, so with many world champions probably running on 2013 most surely they will do some demonstrations and appearences. For sure i will make arrangements as soon tickets are available

    [Reply]

    Randy Torres Reply:

    +1
    People just don’t get it. NYC (which is day compared to Jersey’s night just to be clear) is unique, its diverse, its a very sophisticated and cosmopolitan town and people here are very jaded: how can you tell a non-New Yorker from a New Yorker? The non-New Yorker is the one staring at a black 7 foot tranny in full gear walking thru Grand Central at rush hour! A real New Yorker would not be impressed and couldn’t be bothered. Bernie et al better make damn sure that F1 isn’t that 7 foot tranny! And for the record to most New Yorkers NASCAR is something they do out there in Deliverance country. Having said that NASCAR has been doing a Times Sq. exhibition for several years and people do take notice of it.

    [Reply]

    Nika Wattinen Reply:

    Totally agree with your comments on FOX’s broadcast of the USGP, especially in using a commentary team that didn’t know what they were talking about.

    I’m a big fan of Steve Matchett too. As a former World Championship winning F1 mechanic, he really brings the technical aspects and behind the scenes teamwork side of the sport alive in a way that you really don’t get in any other F1 broadcast that I’ve seen. And in Will Buxton, they have a young, enthusiastic pit-lane reporter, who I’m sure James knows pretty well.

    [Reply]


  41.   41. Posted By: Obster
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 4:29 pm 

    Yes, I live in the immediate area of the proposed track, too, and have been thinking about what it will be like…in a positive way.

    Hundreds of boats dot the Hudson river every July 4th to watch the Independence Day fireworks over the New York skyline. Should be the same for the race. There are large apartment buildings near the track which will provide great viewing, too.

    No doubt it will be promoted properly-my suggestion has to do with placing “show car” versions of the F1 cars in various public places, like Grand Central Station and the Ferry terminal, where thousands pass by every day. Once they get a look at an F1 car close up, they will surely want to learn more.

    One of us that lives nearby-maybe me-needs to drive the proposed track and take a video-you folks won’t believe the change in elevation from River Road up to Boulevard East-it is mind boggling in a regular automobile car, let
    alone a racing car.
    Bernie has found out what the locals already know…the view from Jersey over to NYC is better than the view from the west side of NYC over to Jersey!

    [Reply]


  42.   42. Posted By: Matthew
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 4:29 pm 

    Rudy – I think your marketing ideas are great and should be rolled out immediately!

    I really hope F1 finally succeeds in the US but there’s another part of me that kind of thinks, ‘well if it doesn’t work this time around then why bother anymore?’

    The US has its own take on sport, that is clear. It appears far more ‘entertainment’ focused from what I can glean from this side of the pond; it seems that fans need to be ‘cuddled’ more to join in and require more than just the activity in front of their noses to stay interested. Is that fair or am I talking twaddle? What is true is that sports that are universally huge around the globe just don’t catch on in the States e.g. football (AKA ‘Soccer’), so things must work differently.

    However, I don’t see why we’re any more worried about the US then we were about Malaysia, or Abu Dhabi, China, or Singapore? These aren’t hotbeds of F1 interest historically. Why should we be SO concerned over the US catching on?

    Perhaps it’s simply due to a basic human issue. The USA is the UK’s closest cousin in language and culture, the people already like motor-racing of all different varieties, why on earth do they not ‘get’ F1? How is this possible? It’s a conundrum that obviously frustrates everyone!

    I do accept that it’s perhaps because the USA has such a rich variety of its own sports already, so F1 should work extra-hard to convert the public but there is a huge part of me that thinks it’s their loss if they’re not into it. The US isn’t busy pushing NASCAR in Europe (as far as I know – if it has then it’s probably not worked out great – Rockingham?), nor Baseball or American Football. I feel no regret that I don’t follow either and I do feel fairly comfortable in the knowledge that F1 is globally (even in the US by those who are involved in motor sport) acknowledged as the pinnacle.

    So, I say do it right this time, understand the buttons we have to push to get through to the fine people of the USA but if it doesn’t work then panic not.

    It’ll be great whilst it lasts, at least, and what a fabulous sight it will be when it happens.

    [Reply]


  43.   43. Posted By: Wornslicks
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 4:30 pm 

    Why is it that Americans always take the rather arrogant view that they’re a special case and the rest of the world has to impress them to get them to take notice?

    The race obviously needs to be promoted well – F1 car on a dragstrip? Great. Appearances on chat shows? Definitely. Car demonstrations and autograph sessions? Of course. FOTA Fan Forum? Absolutely.

    But driving cars around ‘on the hook’ through neighbourhoods, drivers riding the subway and ferries? Nah. Having to “show people that you WANT to entertain and amaze them”? Why?

    There is a need to promote the race properly and let the target audience know what they can expect but having to make a super-special effort because it’s America is just a nonsense.

    The promoters clearly think it’s a good idea and one that local fans will be interested in – unless they’re saying we’ll put on a race but only as an opportunity for F1 to beg the American public to do F1 a massive favour and take an interest in the sport?

    If it’s the latter I’d rather F1 re-instate the San Marino GP at Imola – at least the (sell-out) crowd would be appreciative!

    [Reply]


  44.   44. Posted By: tim
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 5:03 pm 

    James–how would Montreal raise its game? I’m at a loss to know how the event could be more supported at the grassroots. Sure, there are wrinkles around the edges–the facilities, for one, are outdated–but having stood in the rain with the crowd this year despite having a paddock pass, I can tell you the feeling of support is second to none for any racing event I’ve attended. That matters more, I think, than a swank paddock area. I do worry, though, that New Jersey will suckle the Americans who come into Montreal to get a taste of its European flair, which until now has been underlined by the Grand Prix. Thoughts?

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I love Montreal, it’s one of my favourite races. It’s a great track. But my comment followed on from the point about the facilities for sponsors etc. Some US fans will choose one over the other, I imagine, so we will see

    [Reply]

    tim Reply:

    Thanks for reply, James. I do really hope Montreal isn’t less of an incredible success as a result of New Jersey. Crescent St. on race weekend is one of the best places to feel F1 integrating into regular life in North America. Paddock glamour is great, but without the street support, it’s meaningless. All those famous people want a crowd to fawn for them, after all. Can’t really see them doing that in, say, the paddock in Turkey, no matter how nice it is compared to the crumbling but vibrant paddock in Montreal.

    [Reply]


  45.   45. Posted By: Werewolf
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 5:04 pm 

    Two great articles for the price of one! Well written, Rudy, as your contributions always are.

    This is THE big chance for F1 stateside – and it won’t come around again, so unprecedented effort needs to be invested in its success. If the circuit is as good as the skyline, ie not like Dallas or Phoenix, I for one cannot wait.

    And if Austin is as good as the buzz, the USA could soon be boasting two of the best races of the year, with distinct personalities and cultural backdrops. All that’s needed now is a topline American F1 driver (I can sense the Andretti family’s phone bill going skyscraper high as I type!). For the record, the last America hosted two races annually, I really liked Watkins Glen but I thought Long Beach only so-so

    As James implies, all of a sudden Montreal is eminently expendable, which is a shame but I suspect the knives were out anyway.

    [Reply]


  46.   46. Posted By: Garrett Bruce
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 5:08 pm 

    Let’s hope the folks in Texas listen to these suggestions — good advice for everyone, methinks.

    [Reply]


  47.   47. Posted By: Steve Simes
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 5:10 pm 

    Excellent article; Rudy has some valid points especially about the potential snobbery of those involved in F-1. Americans can be very insular and have their own elite of sports so unless F-1 gets down and rubs shoulders with American fans, they will simply turn back to the many established motorsports in the US. It comes down to if F-1 Marketing really wants to make it here; I’m not a NASCAR fan by any means but their marketing is outstanding and has been very sucessful; take note F-1.

    [Reply]


  48.   48. Posted By: Graham Passmore
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 5:52 pm 

    First, my shock upon reading the headline James.”F1 – Against a Manhattan Skyline”. I thought, “What the heck? Why would the F1 teams not be in favour of a GP race with the Manhattan skyline in the background?”
    Reading on, I can concur with Rudy’s observations, particularly with regards to F! promotion.
    As a lead up to our Canadian GP this past June, Shell put Fernado Alonso to work at a filling station in Verdun, a very working class Montreal neighbourhood. No advanced press release. For about 2 hours, that afternoon, local residents who stopped to fill their tanks at the Shell station were treated to Fernando walking out, pumpimg the gas, and cleaning their windscreens. Some probably didn’t even know who he was! I thought this was brilliant promotion on Shell’s part.
    In the same week, Red Bull sent Seb’s RB7 to a local Lexus dealership for a day. This was well advertised. Again, a good promotional idea.

    [Reply]


  49.   49. Posted By: AndyK
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 6:22 pm 

    Hah. I’m glad its going to be Petrolheads turning up.. not Smackheads as was my 1st reaction when i read “gearheads” lol:)

    [Reply]


  50.   50. Posted By: RA109
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 6:31 pm 

    I picture Red Bull taking charge of many of these marketing opportunities, as they have already done in Austin. Didn’t they run a stock car (NASCAR) pitstop right in Times Square? Perfect idea for an F1 car as well.

    I think recently in IndyCar they just drove the cars down Las Vegas Blvd. Things like that are unforgettable when you see them.

    [Reply]


  51.   51. Posted By: Davexxx
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 6:41 pm 

    A copy of this article MUST go to Bernie! This is a GREAT article and has some fantastic ideas. I LOVE the Subway “He knows he can go faster” line! Rudy should be the US Ambassador for F1 in USA with his great marketing ideas!
    (My only concern is the necessity for the top drivers to be there for all the PR – when I admit I sympathize with them for wanting to cut back on that ‘boring’ side of the job!)

    [Reply]

    Robert Small Reply:

    the f1 car on the bakc of a flatbed, that would work wonders in most coutries!

    [Reply]


  52.   52. Posted By: Richardd
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 6:42 pm 

    These ideas sound quite exciting, hope it can be pulled off

    [Reply]


  53.   53. Posted By: Deane
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 6:56 pm 

    Cynic that I am I suspect F1 will do little or none of those things.

    F1 cars may be quick by F1 people are slooooow.

    [Reply]

    Sebee Reply:

    F1 is a luxury product. Meaning you don’t promote it in cheap ways. It should have a feel of exclusivity. Personally I don’t think there will be any issue filling up the place. I do think that once at the track the paying public should get a bit more access and effort should be paid to that crowd. BMW Pit Lane Park type thing, pit stop simulations on fibre glass F1 cars, some fun for kids, etc.

    Basically – do what Montreal has done. Why do you think so many Americans go up each year?

    [Reply]


  54.   54. Posted By: Robert
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 6:58 pm 

    Great read, and great points by both James and Rudy.

    Best point of the article is the need to push marketing now. NASCAR has been on a slide, and IRL has never really grabbed hold of American interests. Because Americans generally love the best of anything, and aspire to achieve or obtain it, they should be drawn into F1. With 2 GP’s in the country, it can make a nice getaway.

    For marketing, you need to target the younger generation and grab their attention. Soccer and the MLS realised this, and they have been able to capitalise well on their approach.

    [Reply]


  55.   55. Posted By: JoeA.
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 6:59 pm 

    I noticed that Leo Hindery was questioning whether the USGP at Austin was going to happen, let alone be sustainable. If I were Mr. Hindery, I’d be more concerned in making sure his event happens than worrying about what’s going on in Texas. The reason I bring it up is because videos have been popping up on YouTube of people driving the track layout. What really stands out is the fact that at the top of the hill, the back stretch as it were, is a residential area. Driver’s left is completely lined with houses! Now, if there’s one thing about Americans is that we ca be the biggest bunch of NIMBY’ers (Not In My Backyard) around. The group behind this had better already gotten sign off and assurances from the affected residents, otherwise, it will end up in court and the race will never happen.

    Kudos to Tavo Hellmund and the rest of the Austin group for taking the high road and offering a hand of friendship and congratulations to New Jersey. They recognized that having two Grands Prix is an acknowledgement of how important the U.S. is to F1. Hindery came off as churlish.

    [Reply]


  56.   56. Posted By: US_Peter
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 6:59 pm 

    The drivers appearing on talk shows sounds like a great idea. In particular, I think the reigning world champion at that time (whomever it may be) should be a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman. Dave is a huge racing fan and has owned teams in Indy racing for years. He would certainly be interested I’m sure. They could even incorporate a quick street demo outside the Ed Sullivan theater on Brodway, maybe running down to Times Square and back.

    [Reply]


  57.   57. Posted By: CTP
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 7:15 pm 

    F1 needs NY much more than NY needs F1.

    [Reply]


  58.   58. Posted By: Nika Wattinen
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 7:18 pm 

    On Tuesday, I was like a kid at Christmas. I’m so excited!

    My only disappointment is that I lived at the entry to turn 17 for three years, and moved a couple of miles down the road last year. To have experienced the sound of a passing F1 car while sitting on the sofa would have been just incredible. Hopefully friends will still live there in June 2013…

    With no travel and accomodation costs, I may stretch to a Paddock Club ticket for this one!

    [Reply]


  59.   59. Posted By: Robert in San Diego
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 7:31 pm 

    I am an Englishman living in the US and I think this is a wonderful idea. I think F1 should take a close look at how US Football is promoted over here with degrees of fan interaction that makes it an event that you just have to watch. I was involved in racing in England back in the Hesketh days and I was involved in more than one of their celebrations (not necessarily for wins, which they had one I think)and they involved everyone around them. They became a compelling team to root for. I think Rudy has it right on when he says that F1 needs to be selling itself today, not next year. People need to want to anticipate the excitement.

    [Reply]


  60.   60. Posted By: Jason C
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 7:44 pm 

    Dunno if I’d let the drivers out on a chat show: sportsmen usually come across as quite dull on those things.

    [Reply]


  61.   61. Posted By: Dave Flora
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 7:48 pm 

    Another USA fan here. Agree with many of Rudy’s comments. NYC area can be fickle about what they do and who they follow. Drawing fans from the entire tri state area (NY/NJ and Pennsylvania) and you can pull in a racing demographic possible to convert. (Truth be told, I am a lifelong IndyCar fan who now watches nearly every F1 event Speed covers, but only watches the Indy 500 and maybe parts of other indy races anymore… I have been converted to F1 and others could be to).
    Certainly the Andretti name is very well known, but his history in F1 much less so by many Americans not of a certain age. If Mario has conflict of interest with his presense in the other series, still educate and market up the historical aspect of his name as a F1 World Champion.
    Having a Nicole and Lewis presense would also bring some good name recognition among the 20 somethings- if they are even still together (My 25 year old says the relationship is over, and that is why Lewis’s head is not screwed on tightly these days!)

    [Reply]


  62.   62. Posted By: Alex Sharifi
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 8:19 pm 

    I would be very surprised if Red Bull have not already started their own brainstorming sessions for promotions and advert. ideas leading up to this race. “Welcome to my world… the world of Red Bull”.

    The biggest opportunity for F1 is it has a big chance of ingratiating itself with the American sports media. The NewYork area is arguably the hub of all the major sports outlets. The major sports writers in this “hub” do not take car racing as seriously as other sports. Their view of race car drivers is that of dare-devils or adrenaline junkies rather than athletes. They have no clue about the fitness required for road racing, much less F1.

    If F1 can bring one of those tandem F1 demonstration cars and spend the day driving around sports columnists, I think that it would go along way in changing misconceptions of auto racing.

    Sports writers out of New York spend more time debating about the Yankees and Redsox than just about anything else. One reason is that because of time zones, any thing happening in the west coast that doesn’t involve the Lakers doesn’t get much attention. Another reason is that the Yankee / Redsox rivalry has high stakes given the amount of money that those two teams spend. If these writers got a whiff of the sums of money spent in F1, they would find the high stakes appealing.

    It’s easy for Mark Webber to go on the Regis & Kelly morning show, or even take one of these chat show hosts around in a tandem F1 car. However, it would also do a world of good for F1 if they can get on ESPN and take some of these sports writers out onto the track.

    Sports are big in the states, and having said that, we consume what the media feeds us. This is an opportunity to get the media to feed us some F1.

    :)

    Just my thoughts.
    PS: It is my hope that Skip Bayless (American sports pundit) is driven around in a tandem race car at speed. :)

    [Reply]


  63.   63. Posted By: Abdoul
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 8:33 pm 

    Let’s not forget North Carolina and NASCAR/IndyCars events. Besides getting an F1 car to run a quarter mile as mentioned to get fans to go ‘whoah’, F1 needs to organize an event to demonstrate what the cars are capable of compared to NASCAR and IndyCars. Not just a seat swap, but actually all three cars on track.. Similar to the demos McLaren has put in the past showing the F1 cars vs DTM, vs normal vehicle. I remember one with Hakkinen, and with Alonso when he joined the team. And this must be done on a NASCAR/IndyCar track. F1 will really need to reach out and educate/wow the fans in order to bring them in.
    Arrange to have a Ferrari F1 car fired up at the Ferrari dealer in Manhattan and have him drive across town (through the Brooklyn bridge and Brooklyn) to the NJ location for a street show and see how much buzz this generates. It’ll be on all local channels, and probably even CNN and the likes. The noise of the car bouncing off the building will be insane as well.
    Get drivers/teams to do promos with Mario Andretti, and other top figures in the various racing figures; get drivers and car on the Jay Leno/David Letterman shows and see if this doesn’t kindle interest.
    Also, we have GP2, and GP2 asia, but F1 needs to establish a GP2 america series to feed american drivers to the main GP2 series and eventually F1. This will almost assure F1 long term in the U.S.
    Basically, instead of leaving promotion only to the race promoters, F1 needs to step up and take the reins if they want this to be successful. I remember when Alonso joined McLaren, McLaren and Santander really used him to do promotional events. In his 1 year with them, I saw more promo stuff from them than during his years with Renault. F1 needs to launch a campaign across the country that will promote F1 and ultimately promote both events. Americans don’t follow something only because it’s popular in the rest of the world, they need to be shown the qualities and be drawn in. But they’re easily drawn if they see quality.

    [Reply]

    Robert Small Reply:

    all 3 cars on one of the indy/nascar track would be great viewing, best way of comparing the series to other series

    [Reply]


  64.   64. Posted By: George Goad
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 8:49 pm 

    Hi James,
    I could not agree more wholeheartedly with Rudy’s observations and suggestions. After seeing F1 do one faceplant after another in the US since 1976, I figured there would be virtually no hope of the sport catching on unless there was a regime change at the very top. Having a seller’s market everywhere else on the planet, Bernie has, over the years, entrenched himself in a ‘Not my job” attitude and left the promoters to fend for themselves as far as hawking their wares. The results have been pathetic.

    In lieu of a u-turn on Bernie’s part (file that under ‘bloody unlkely’) the teams and sponsors must do the job and – to echo Rudy’s idea – they had better get started now. Otherwise the sport flops – AGAIN! Take it from someone who has seen this all before.

    [Reply]


  65.   65. Posted By: Tyler
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 9:12 pm 

    The F1 in New York, what a strange idea when there is also so beautiful circuit for motor sport. Monza example is more suited to the F1 that the city of the United States : http://www.wallpapersf1.com/Monza?wallpaper=273

    [Reply]


  66.   66. Posted By: LAH
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 9:20 pm 

    when motogp announced it’s first visit to indy, i contacted the speedway and was connected directly to the gal who was in charge of marketing the race. she sent me dozens of posters, pamphlets, keychains,etc. which i distributed to all my local (n.w. florida) dealers and performance shops. through this humble campaign, i got 16 people to attend the inaugural race with me. 16′s not many, but if repeated enough times, that’s a ticket count worthy of notice.
    so james, is there anyone involved with the promotion of the jersey race that i could contact with a similar proposition?

    [Reply]

    LAH Reply:

    p.s. had a blast. hurricane and all…

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    No idea, but if you find out let me know

    [Reply]


  67.   67. Posted By: noahracer
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 9:51 pm 

    “Montreal will have to raise its game.”

    Ha haaaaa haha. To compete with Newark? HA!

    [Reply]


  68.   68. Posted By: dramaqueen
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 10:21 pm 

    Tom Cruise recently drove an F1 car.
    Maybe he could be the “ham in the sandwich” between the US and F1.

    [Reply]


  69.   69. Posted By: Doug
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 11:17 pm 

    Two words – Public Transportation. Have you ever tried to get to the Nurburgring from Frankfurt? Three trains and a cab ride. Most people in NY don’t even own a car. This is going to be the most accessible race ever!

    [Reply]


  70.   70. Posted By: bones
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 11:24 pm 

    I live in NYC too,and I think is going to be sold out BUT I doubt,no matter how much advertising you do,that non F1 fans from the area will attend the GP,ppl here do not care about car racing,just go over the local papers and look at the sports section to realize how much ink it gets:ALMOST NONE!
    On top of that tickets will be expensive,and no New Yorkers will pay that money to go see a car racing that is also not american.
    There is a good american F1 fan crowd here,plus a huge amount of foreigners living in the city that follow F1 and there will be visitors coming here having another excuse to visit this amazing city.
    These are the only 3 segments that the organizers has to care about.

    [Reply]


  71.   71. Posted By: Chicago Dave
        Date: October 27th, 2011 @ 11:35 pm 

    One of the marketing gaps here in the US is the auto dealership network. I have recently been in 2 Mercedes and 2 Infiniti dealerships.
    Only one of the four (Infiniti) had any promotional material tying their brands into F1, their cars or their drivers! No Nico or MSM cut outs in 2 different Mercedes dealerships??? The United States has a strong “Car Show” industry with major conventions in Detroit, NY, Chicago etc. True they are dominated by the US brands, but I think a couple hundred thousand “automobile enthusists” walking past a Mercedes booth which included last years F1 car or Infiniti showing a little Red Bull leg would not be a bad place to position upcoming races in Austin and NYC.

    [Reply]


  72.   72. Posted By: Rudy Pyatt
        Date: October 28th, 2011 @ 1:53 am 

    Thanks all, and thanks James for giving me the opportunity to vent!

    Here’s hoping that the F1 establishment puts on the full court press (basketball reference, leading to a random thought: Is football – soccer – less popular here than basketball is in the UK? Discuss. Extra credit if you can name more than three NBA or Premiership teams, or three players other than Wayne Rooney and LeBron James) and markets this thing the way it needs to be. It would an irony of epic proportions if Madison Avenue, New York, the traditional epicenter of advertising – rather like Wall Street and The City, in London, are for finance – goes untapped for this purpose.

    I agree that of all the teams, Red Bull, which sponsored an air race (!) over the Hudson River within the past year, is most likely to take some chances on marketing. Given that the New York Red Bulls soccer team (current team of Thierry Henry) and the Red Bull stadium aren’t far from the race site, they’ve got a built-in lead on the other teams in that respect.

    I can see something like a photo of Vettel and Henry standing either side of an RB7 on the middle of that field, with the caption, “Champions All…” Of course, Ferrari might as easily photo an F150 Italia (in profile) in center field at Yankee Stadium (near Monument Park, which commemorates various New York Yankees greats), over the caption, “Legends All…”

    I mentioned the NBA, and there’s another possible cross-marketing opportunity. Blake Griffin, of the LA Clippers, won the slam dunk contest at the NBA All-Star game last season by leaping over a Kia sedan (and his team mate, Baron Davis, who passed the ball to him by leaning through the sunroof) en route to the rim. You can see it on YouTube, including the ad that Kia made using it:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B98WC1FWe4k

    A McLaren sits MUCH lower. Park one on the hardwood at Madison Square Garden – with Lewis, sans helmet, sitting at the wheel and looking toward the rim – and let New York Knicks stars Carmello Anthony or Ama’re Stodamire fly: “A Giant Leap For Racing Fans” would make a nice caption. Derivative? Yes, maybe (probably) too much so, but hey, you never know. And isn’t Lewis friends with a few NBA guys?

    Regardless, I think that FOM/FOTA/CVC etc. need to keep the lyrics of the Moody Blues’ first big hit in mind if they want things to go well:

    “If you’re gonna go, you better go now.”

    [Reply]


  73.   73. Posted By: devilsadvocate
        Date: October 28th, 2011 @ 5:16 am 

    James, Im an Austinite and I 100% agree with the opinion that they should take an F1 car to a drag strip and let the bravest of the brave of the locals square off against it, just to show us how fast they really are. The numbers are staggering on paper but there will always be some local who believes he can beat any comers with his old trans am, it would win F1 some huge cred over here if they would put on a show like that. You could at least guarranty that everyone in the stadium that day would buy a ticket.

    Austin being a boom city, I also agree that F1 in Texas will have plenty of monaco types coming in.

    Outside of gear heads and corporate hotshots I think the 3rd group in Austin will be much harder to win over as they are probably more the type who would rather seethe race fail just to say “I told you so” as opposed to hoping for success now that the project is beyond a point of no return in terms of progress and investment.

    [Reply]


  74.   74. Posted By: George Goad
        Date: October 28th, 2011 @ 7:30 am 

    Pardon me for re-posting here, but after reading the comments, I have to establish a certain amount of credentials to back up my original comments on this thread (now way at the bottom of the thread) First, I spent nearly 20 years as an F1 journalist, and second, I was an American trying to re-introduce F1 into the nation after several flops. I agreed that Rudy’s take on the situation was correct, and secondly, I have personally spoken with/ argued with Bernie about this subject over the years, starting in 1983 – he won’t budge.

    To him -and those of you that think the U.S. is just another race, like Abu Babi – think again, the U.S. is a GIANT market which F1 has UTTERLY failed to penetrate, and allowed NASCAR to dominate. This is down to a rather dumb arrogance on the part of F1′s leadership and NOT on any American deficiency to grasp F1′s attractions. F1 has simply failed to do a decent job of promoting itself and the blame lies on them, not us.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    I’ll certainly back that up – George is a legend, the F1 paddock isn’t the same without him and his photographer partner Pam.

    [Reply]


  75.   75. Posted By: Carlo_Carrera
        Date: October 28th, 2011 @ 9:50 pm 

    I don’t understand how anyone can say the NYC metro area isn’t into racing. The largest regions of the Porsche, BMW, Audi and Ferrari clubs are all in the Metro NYC area. And all those clubs do track days at the nearby road circuits of Monticello, Pocono Raceway, NJ Motorsports Park, Lime Rock and Watkins Glen.

    Metro NYC residents are into cars and motorsports.

    [Reply]


  76.   76. Posted By: R Stuart
        Date: October 29th, 2011 @ 2:37 pm 

    I am not sure how this will go. The F1 event in Austin will have the advantage of being a very big event for the city and the region. It will get plenty of media attention and could become, if it is stage well, the “thing to do”. In New York, it is very hard to get the attention of that City, because so many things compete for attention there. New York won’t stop for an F1 race; the question is whether it will even notice. For visitors, it is also an unusually difficult area in which to get around. Visitors will find the logistics of lodging, parking, etc not very user friendly. Anyone who has been to Montreal and just jumped on the subway to get to the track appreciates the terrific advantage of that kind of convenience.

    [Reply]


  77.   77. Posted By: Adrian Newey Jnr
        Date: October 30th, 2011 @ 4:48 am 

    Its great that NJ is getting a race. However, whilst all of Rudy’s ideas are good, I don’t see them happening. Why would Bernie consider this race any different to the others? Do you see anything like those ideas being used at other races? Its the job of the promoter. Unfortunately with countries/cities throwing themselves at F1, there is no need for Bernie et al to bother. They’ll just collect the rent for a few years then move on.

    [Reply]


  78.   78. Posted By: Mrs. Steve A. Baker
        Date: June 1st, 2012 @ 8:58 pm 

    Very excited to get a race here in NJ! Passed by a few months ago, and it appeared as if the pits were being constructed. Mr. Allen, if while in NY, you would like a place to relax (and catch up with an old LMH friend), you are always welcome.

    [Reply]

    James Allen Reply:

    As in the bass player Steve Baker?

    [Reply]

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