Because of the seemingly self-inflicted confusion and chaos that IndyCar has brought on itself, a longtime situation may surface and rear its ugly head. It's been rumored that for some time Formula One, which was once at Long Beach, California, before American open wheel and CART, just might be able to snag the coveted Long Beach Grand Prix from IndyCar.
To be sure, there are contracts in place that don't allow for one series to come in and steal a race, so-to-speak. But with the turmoil and disarray created by Hulman & Company who own IndyCar, all bets are off.
We could argue as to why in the world IndyCar would get rid of their CEO, Randy Bernard, who was turning the organization around but that is for another time - and yes, I know, the IndyCar race teams didn't like Bernard. But back to the point, the fact remains, F1 has been interested in adding American races to the schedule and no race in North America, other than the Indy 500, is bigger and more prestigious than the Long Beach Grand Prix.
Let me be clear, I doubt seriously this supposed change will happen this coming year although the current upheaval has turned the sport upside down and left many wondering what's next. With the future of the IndyCar series now cloudy, F1 would certainly retain the quality of racing at Long Beach and might in fact, add more color and cachet to a race that already is world renown.
As a fan, I would be guessing but likely most of the races on the current IndyCar schedule are now rethinking their futures; but, few if any of the other events have the reputation and prestige that Long Beach owns - so they probably wouldn't be able to woo F1 like the immense California event on the shores of the Pacific Ocean can.
Optimism in IndyCar iffy
Optimism in IndyCar was on the way up but the Hulman George clan has nullified that enthusiasm and the future of IndyCar is now very much up in the air. To be fair, IndyCar says it does have a plan and looks for a better future (source - Fox News). I'm sure we all would agree to that sentiment.
Austin, Texas, is ready to for their debut with F1 in two weeks after a massive project that took two years to build with the Circuit of the Americas. Long Beach doesn't have to do anything other than build some garages and expanded pit row for F1. In other words, it's almost turn-key in comparison to Austin.
As a fan, I'm not close enough to the inner workings of IndyCar to know what the reasoning was for the self-inflicted wound that the series brought upon themselves. As a marketer, I'm amazed at how poorly Hulman & Company have handled this firing of Bernard and the planning behind it or lack thereof.
Regardless, the mess Hulman & Company has produced is disturbing and a group like the Long Beach Grand Prix won't sit idly by and watch the demise of their race because of bad business practices from what seems to be a dysfunctional family.
In the coming year when the dust has settled - and we can only hope that indeed dust settles - the future of races like the Long Beach Grand Prix will become front and center. And F1 will be waiting in the wings if IndyCar doesn't get their act together.
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus for several years has blogged about every type of racing.
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