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F1 to Long Beach in 2016 rumors won’t go away

Apr 29, 2013, 11:03 AM EST

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach - Day 2 Getty Images

Despite strenuous denials from Long Beach Grand Prix organizers, rumors the race will become an F1 event from 2016 refuse to die down.

Long Beach Grand Prix CEO Jim Michaelian dismissed the reports which first arose two weeks ago, telling the Long Beach Press Telegram: “This is a story that keeps bouncing around every year or so despite the fact that the race isn’t for sale and there’s been no contact between anyone and Kevin about a sale.”

“Nothing is happening,” he continued. “You can contemplate all kind of scenarios, but nothing is happening. To keep speculating, playing this what-if game, just encourages more rumors that don’t amount to anything.”

Kevin Kalkhoven, who jointly owns the race with Jerry Forsythe, also denied the claims.

But veteran US journalist Gordon Kirby stood by his story in an article for MotorSport today. Kirby claims Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, together with businessman and former racing driver Zak Brown and F1-era Long Beach race promoter Chris Pook, intend to make a bid for the race and bring Formula One back to the track.

All eyes are now on whether the mayor of Long Beach, Bob Foster, heads to the Canadian Grand Prix in June for a rumored meeting with Ecclestone.

Formula One last race at Long Beach in 1983. Since then the race has been held for IndyCars, and former F1 driver Takuma Sato won there last week:

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  1. f1fan1 - Apr 29, 2013 at 11:06 AM

    I’d love to see this happen.

  2. indycarseries500 - Apr 29, 2013 at 11:14 AM

    Someone must really be desperate to lose a lot of money and I hope the city isn’t stupid enough to take on this project. Streets will have to widened, pit complex built, circuit legnthened, repaved and added runoff easily a $150+ millon job. Even then I bet most fans would rather go to Montreal or Austin or Jersey (assuming that ever happens). Not to mention the insane price Forsythe and Kalkhoven would sell it for. I’m betting Forsythe/Kalkhoven will keep it or sell to the France family and it continues as a IndyCar/US Sports Car weekend.

    • essentiallogic - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:32 AM

      Probably more like $40 million for circuit improvements, but yeah, a terrible idea all around. Even with the improvements, the racing will likely be poor in comparison to other street circuits, not to mention the fantastic permanent facility in Austin. And unless Bernie is willing to cut a sweetheart deal (and we all know how rare those are), there is no way Long Beach is going be able to cough up $15-25mm a year with a 6-8% annual escalator without losing the city and the promoters millions upon millions of dollars. This is a terrible idea.

      • essentiallogic - Apr 30, 2013 at 3:35 AM

        It’s also worth noting this is a classic Bernie negotiating tactic. Much like the NFL, he writes the book on playing potential host cities against each other in the hope of triggering a massive overbid and overly generous state financing and/or tax breaks. This could all be smoke and mirrors.

  3. apexassassin - Apr 29, 2013 at 4:21 PM

    Please no. Just no.

    There are soooooo many better places to race in the States!!! Even New Jersey looks terrific compared to Long Beach (circuit comparision and distance from Austin).

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