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3-year extension proposed for IndyCar at Long Beach, with possible F1 return afterwards

Apr 3, 2014, 12:09 AM EDT

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach - Day 3 Getty Images

The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is set to remain part of the Verizon IndyCar Series calendar for a little while longer – but Formula One may now have a way to eventually return there.

The Long Beach (Calif.) City Council has proposed a three-year extension with the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach that will see the IndyCars race there through the 2018 season, per the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

However, the Press-Telegram also reports that the city will indeed open the event up for bidding, meaning that F1 could come back to the Beach after racing there from 1976 to 1983.

The proposed extension still needs to be confirmed in open session; the city’s current contract with the GPALB runs through next summer.

“This is precisely what we wanted,” GPALB president/CEO Jim Michaelian said to the Press-Telegram. “They have every right to explore other options, but by the same token we have the certainty of conducting the event through 2018. That’s important because we have lots of sponsorship agreements.”

Chris Pook, who has been the point man in F1’s attempt to return to the venerable street circuit, was also happy about the decision.

“I’m not knocking the IndyCar race, but Formula One will bring the economic value the city enjoys,” he said.

Pook recently estimated that upgrades to bring the Long Beach circuit to F1 standards would cost a little more than $9 million, and has maintained the stance that staging an F1 race would not be as costly as some may expect.

He re-iterated that belief to the Press-Telegram, saying: “We wouldn’t be talking about this if it wasn’t financially successful.”

This year’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach opens up NBCSN’s 2014 IndyCar coverage on Sunday, April 13 at 4 p.m. ET. A full TV schedule can be found here.

  1. testover6370 - Apr 3, 2014 at 12:25 AM

    Good, so now there will at least continue to be a hugely successful Indycar race in place while Bernie uses this as a tool to shake others down for more money, and more time for him to officially declare it a lost cause due to “breach of contract” and move on to Uzbekistan.

  2. manik56 - Apr 3, 2014 at 12:27 AM

    Chris Pook apparently thinks he owns an NFL team. Long Beach will rue the day they bring F1 back. The only one who makes money is Bernie.

    • indycarseries500 - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      As far as ones actually involved with the race, the hotels and local businesses do pretty well during an F1 weekend.

      • testover6370 - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:00 PM

        Until the higher taxes kick in to pay for the tens of millions of dollars of costs incurred.

  3. markdartj - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:08 AM

    Bernie will be gone in three years. I think this was a factor in extending IndyCar for three more years. That way, they don’t have to deal with him.

    • crunge4461 - Apr 3, 2014 at 8:22 PM

      This is one thing I do not understand. Why will it matter when Bernie is gone? Are you suggesting that Bernie will go and suddenly the cost to hold an event will be slashed? I highly doubt that, the reason that F1 costs so much is because it is a business and one that knows that there are countries in the world that will pay millions to subsidize an event in order to attract tourism and so on. When Bernie goes nothing will change in terms of cost, the only way that cost will go down is if F1 is less popular and places like Abu Dhabi or Russia refuse to pay 20-30million for a race, but as long as governments are willing to shell out 20-30million for a race nothing will change, the series organizers will follow the money. They are not gonna go to Long Beach for 10million while Sochi pays 20million, I doubt this very highly. Bernie is just the face of this practice, but when he is done it will be business as usual

  4. Matthew - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:28 AM

    Reblogged this on Carolina Mountain Blue.

  5. givemethehighgear - Apr 3, 2014 at 7:06 AM

    F1. Fchrispook. Still bitter over his reign over CART.

  6. testover6370 - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:08 AM

    After three more years of seeing Port Imperial placed in some impossible location on the provisional calendar, like back-to-back-to-back between two other new rounds on opposite sides of the globe, then dropped from the final calendar because payment deadlines were missed, then seeing the costs other hosts are incurring for the infrastructure and fees for their races, how appealing will a bid for an F1 race look? The economic value that F1 provides is very well documented and it always begins with a negative sign.

    And if Verizon comes through with everything promised and Indycar finally gets some momentum, funding, and eyes on screens and butts in seats, then Indycar looks a lot more appealing in the same time frame.

  7. kitnamania13 - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:16 PM

    Maybe Pook can use all the money he stole from CART to fund the track improvements. He was able to make about $100 million vanish in a little over a year.

  8. f1fan1 - Apr 3, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    That sucks, no return to Long Beach until at least 2019 then. Hope they enjoy watching this once prestigious event continue to decline with the IRL. How many more grandstands are they taking out THIS year?

    • crunge4461 - Apr 3, 2014 at 8:15 PM

      Ok, first off it is not the IRL. The IRL does not exist anymore nor does CART or Champcar. It is the IndyCar series. Say what you will but basing off of last season, IndyCar is a way better value for fans, the racing is vastly closer and more exciting, far cheaper an event to attend and to hold, it is much easier to get close to teams and drivers, when I was at Houston last year I met John Andretti, Johnny Rutherford and was practically hanging out with Ryan Hunter-Reay…meanwhile a trip to Austin GP is $100 to park the car (literally). Indy is loyal to the Long Beach venue and F1 is far less so, I think it is by far the best decision for the race to remain with IndyCar. I am very glad to hear this.

      • testover6370 - Apr 3, 2014 at 10:11 PM

        Trying to have reasonable discourse with someone still bitter about something that happened in sports 20 years ago will be exactly as fruitful as you can imagine it will be.

      • f1fan1 - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:02 PM

        You aren’t seriously this ignorant are you? “Indycar” was simply a rebranding of the IRL’s top series in an attempt to distance itself from the stench of that name. However, if you look at any contract or official documentation related to “Indycar”, you’ll see the IRL (Indy Racing League, LLC) name splattered all over it. It is still the legal entity of Indycar. Hell, Roger Penske himself calls it the IRL. The names are interchangeble much the same way NASCAR and the Sprint Cup Series are often used interchangeably.

      • indycarseries500 - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:28 PM

        Not True, NASCAR is the sanctioning body and the Sprint Cup is the series. under that example INDYCAR is the sanctioning body (because thats the name they do business under) and the Verizon IndyCar Series is the series. Those terms are used interchangably, Indy Racing League LLC is the legal name but no one cares you only see it on tax filings and contracts the general public never sees. So what Penske called it the IRL, slip of the tongue no big deal.

        You really should change your name because with a name like f1″fan”1 I’d imagine you’d follow F1 closer than you follow IndyCar and maybe comment on an F1 article or two.

  9. f1fan1 - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:50 PM

    Comments that criticize, ridicule and deride the actions of the clown car series (aka IRL, Indycar) are well earned and deserved. They must hit home pretty close eh?

    • f1fan1 - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:07 PM

      By the way, it’s not just on tax filings and contracts the public never sees. You’ll see the name Indy Racing League LLC on most every piece of official documentation produced by the league. It’s everywhere. I was simply trying to correct the notion that the IRL “does not exist” anymore. As much as you’d like it to be the case, they can’t run away from that moniker. It’s a stank they can’t run away from.

      • crunge4461 - Apr 4, 2014 at 2:25 PM

        The point was that the current series involves a new formula and includes teams and owners from the old CART/Champ Car formula. Heck Derek Walker is the competition director, he is CART/Champ Car guy. The IRL was a different formula. I am sorry that this commentary got off on an unproductive foot, but your original comment was extremely negative in terms of IndyCar. Each year I watch every Formula Gp and every IndyCar race, I truly enjoy them both. I prefer IndyCar overall because the Indy 500 is the most intense and epic experience that a race fan can ever witness. However, there are some open wheel fans that deride IndyCar, despite probably never watching a race, and praise their beloved F1. I just get very annoyed by people that seek mono-crop racing in which Nascar and F1 squeeze everything and become the only real choices for fans. For me, I like my IndyCar choice, I like the diversity of the series in terms of teams, drivers, and of course tracks. I get annoyed by those that unnecessarily ridicule it. What is the point of having an F1 or nothing mentality? IndyCar puts on great races, anyone that is watching knows that, I watch all IndyCar and all F1, and I don’t understand why some F1 fans are only that, F1 fans, rather than racing fans.

      • f1fan1 - Apr 4, 2014 at 3:08 PM

        First and foremost, todays iteration of “indycar” is the lineage/descendancy of the original IRL, owned and operated by Hulman Racing, destroyers of the sport. The resulting massive decrease in relevance, popularity and sponsorship $ means that all they can do produce is heavily managed spec, contrived “fauxpetition” with one of the ugliest d@mn race cars ever created.

        I’ll not criticize drivers who have to make a living there, but I will criticize the owners/operators/teams that permit the whole mess to continue rather than fixing the situation properly.

        If you have any awareness of history, and just how awesome the variety of competition once was under CART, you’d know it is not “unnecessary ridicule” that the league receives. The league will never get any large scale “racing fan” support as long as it is owned by the HG family.

  10. crunge4461 - Apr 4, 2014 at 10:17 PM

    F1fan1 I have been watching both F1 and CART/IndyCar since 1979. My historical knowledge of both racing series (over the past 30 years or so) is as good as any. Your condescension deserves no more comment then these two sentences.

  11. irishrugby990 - Apr 5, 2014 at 9:44 PM

    Long Beach is good for IndyCar and IndyCar is good for Long Beach. I fail to see what benefit there would be to Long Beach to spend millions of dollars just for the F1 sanctioning fee and maybe not break even. F1 is on the decline-what with the bogus bonus points, follow-the-leader “racing”, a declining number of engine constructors, and I could go on-and egos get in the way of racing too often. Some drama is good, but I don’t give a hoot about what Lewis Hamilton’s girlfriend is doing. The relationship between Long Beach and American open-wheel racing has endured for 30 years, and has given us some dynamite racing over that span of time. Logic to Long Beach: If it ain’t broke, don’t attempt to fix it!

  12. drylake - Apr 6, 2014 at 10:03 PM

    My bottom line is Texas has the economy to play with the big boys at F1. California and New Jersey are in the tank and will just go down faster if they squander public funds on the F1,money pit.

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