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GP of Long Beach may be opened to bid, could set up F1 return

Mar 1, 2014, 7:41 PM EDT

IndyCar Long Beach Auto Racing AP

The Long Beach (Calif.) City Council may open the contract for the most prestigious street race in North America up for bidding, which may possibly open the door for Formula One to take the Grand Prix back.

F1 ran through the streets of Long Beach from 1976-1983 before the race’s founder, Chris Pook, opted to go with the less expensive CART in 1984.

It’s been an American open-wheel racing event ever since, with the IndyCar Series taking it over in 2009 following the previous year’s reunification of the sport.

But according to the Long Beach Gazette, the City Council will meet on Tuesday to decide upon opening the contract for bidding.

The contract is currently in possession of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, led by president/CEO Jim Michaelian and owned by IndyCar team co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven and former CART stalwart Gerry Forsythe.

Last spring, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone had been rumored to be considering taking the series back to Southern California. The current contract between INDYCAR and the GPALB runs through 2015.

Per the Gazette, Tuesday’s agenda says the City Council meeting is “in regards to price and terms of the lease to use Shoreline Drive and surrounding streets and property.”

The Gazette also adds that the negotiated parties listed on the agenda are the City of Long Beach, the GPALB, and the FIA Formula One World Championship.

This year’s running of the Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 13th will mark the 40th anniversary of the race. It will also open NBCSN’s IndyCar coverage for the 2014 season.

  1. testover6370 - Mar 1, 2014 at 7:55 PM

    I can’t imagine how Long Beach would afford a Formula 1 sanctioning fee plus all do the required improvements. Even if they did, within a few years some prince from some developing country would make a huge bid and Long Beach local government would lose interest and the race would be gone.

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