On Friday evening in the US news began to emerge that there could be a second US Grand Prix from 2013 onwards, with suggestions that a street circuit in New Jersey would be announced as an F1 venue on Tuesday.
According to Autoweek, the circuit is believed to have the Manhattan skyline as a back drop and the concept has been developed over several years by Leo Hindery Jr, who is married to the daughter of legendary US motorsports promoter Humpy Wheeler.
There are suggestions that the race would be paired in June with Montreal, which is a short distance to the north, across the Canadian border. Austin has moved to the end of the season to be paired with Brazil.
There is precedent for two races in the USA; in the mid 1980s there was a US Grand Prix East in Detroit and a US Grand Prix West in Dallas, with Montreal also part of a June/July triple header in 1984.
There is also a lot of effort going into a Mexico GP, with a delegation from Cancun lobbying Bernie Ecclestone with support from Carlos Slim Jr, the telecoms giant who has an involvement with Sauber team and a seat on the FIA World Motor Sports Council.
There was a Mexican GP from 1963 to 1970 and the event was revived from 1986 to 1992. Tavo Hellmund, who set up the race in Austin, Texas and used to work for Bernie Ecclestone’s Brabham F1 team in the 1980s is spearheading the expansion of the sport on the other side of the Atlantic. Sauber’s Mexican driver Sergio Perez looks like he has a strong future in the sport, if not perhaps world champion potential.
In terms of calendar congestion, clearly the future is uncertain on Bahrain, with many F1 insiders feeling that next April’s race is not likely to go ahead, while there were strong suggestions that the Korean GP might not last very long. But there is also a new race due to come onstream in Russia, so there is pressure on existing events, which is as it should be from Ecclestone’s point of view, when promoting a market for race hosting rights.
* The news was confirmed on Tuesday, New Jersey governor Chris Christie saying, “I’m pleased that New Jersey will play host to Formula 1 beginning 2013, bringing one of the world’s most popular and exciting sports right to our backyard,”
“I can assure Formula 1 that this is one of the wisest decisions you have ever made, to come and hold this event in New Jersey”.