Friday, June 19, 2009

F1 Please Come Back to the USA....

Those of you who know me personally, know that I'm an avid (& sometimes Rabid) fan of Formula One auto racing. To me it's the cream of the crop, tippy-top, be-all-end-all when it comes to auto racing. These cars are amazing; they're high tech, can reach speeds of 250+mph, and they race on the best road/street courses in the world. For me a close runner up is the Indy Cars (& the now defunct CART), but only when they're making right turns as well as left. For me, it's the truest proof of how good a driver is. Driving in circles it boring, but I do watch the Indy 500 & a NASCAR race from time-to-time (when I'm bored).

Throughout the modern era of Formula One (starting in 1950), there have been US races on the ciruit. The Indy 500 was an F1 points race for years; they've also raced at Phoenix & Watkins Glenn. The latest incarnation of F1 in the US was back at Indy. However, in about the only good idea Tony George ever had (imho), they designed an F1 section within the infield of the track. Then they used the famous turn 1 & straight-away with the infield to complete the course. As an extra change, they ran in the opposite direction; turn 1 became F1's last turn on the track. It was great to watch them there, but for me it was a bit too sterile. Don't get me wrong, I loved it but wished for a better test for my favorite drivers.

The now defunct CART circuit used to race on some great tracks around the US. They did race some ovals (big & small), but they also raced a number of street & permanent road courses. To me there are three of these courses that would make a great F1 race in the US. Here are my top 5 track choices for the US Grand Prix....
#5 - Road Atlanta (Atlanta, GA): To the best of my knowledge there's never been an Indy or F1 type of race there (unless there was a Skip Barber Series there). I've watched several sports car races there via TV, and the course is really good. It has the elevation changes & good turns that would be a good test of skill. However, I think this track would take way too much renovation in order to be safe enough for an F1 race. Another potential strike against might be when the race is scheduled. If a Grand Prix were scheduled in Atlanta in August, it would be as bad (if not worse) than the heat & humidity of the Malaysia race.
#4 - Watkins Glen (Watkins Glen, NY): Hey, it's an awesome track, it was on the F1 calendar before & it's currently on the NASCAR calendar. With some renovation, I think it could be made F1 ready without too much cost. Another point in this track's favor is that it's fairly close to Canada, so this race could be billed as the North American Grand Prix, thus killing two birds with one stone.
#3 - Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (Lexington, OH): This is a really nice track. To me, it's very similar to Watkins Glen so it could offer the same caliber of racing. However, like Atlanta, I'm afraid that it would be too expensive to get it F1 ready. It also has the heat/humidity factor depending on when it's scheduled.
#2 - Portland International Raceway (Portland, OR): This is one of my favorite CART tracks. The CART races here were always exciting & interesting. It has the elevation changes & different turn types that would be a great test for the F1 drivers. Plus, the climate is way more moderate than most others. The potential downside is that the Pacific-Northwest is prone to a lot of rain. But then again, some of the best F1 races are in the rain so that could be a plus.
#1 - Road America (Elkhart Lake, WI): For me, this is THE BEST permanent road course in the United States. Some of my favorite CART races have been held here, and I've seen some of the best passes & maneouvers on this course. To me it wouldn't take much to get this course F1 ready, and it's also close to Canada & could take care of both races.

Well, that's my opinion about the situation. Maybe I'm totally wrong & none of these track would work. But from what I've seen in racing in recent years, I think they would all give us some great races.... :)

1 comment:

kashgar216 said...

I think we need to bring F1 to Vegas and run a race in the Caesar's Palace parking lot, again!