Disciple of INDYCAR Weblog

July 13, 2010

Early Week Formula 1 and Indy Car Ruminating…and Anticipation

Filed under: The Disciple Blogs — Disciple of INDYCAR @ 11:19 am

While watching another F-1 Grand Prix over the weekend, I reminded myself of the disappointment I feel that F-1 no longer drives fast at the World Capitol of Auto Racing…the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. As a fan, I feel neglected. Having attended all eight held at IMS, I want more. I cannot really imagine the Austin version will ever happen, and if Bernie really wants a New York event it is comforting to know he will not live long enough to wade through the politics, payoffs and potholes to see it happen.

Speaking of Austin, if Bernie complained every year about Indianapolis not being ‘big league’ enough, how in the world is he going to feel about boot clad, sh!t stomping, big belt buckle and cowboy hat wearing Texans in the hill country? I am like many who will believe it when I see it. In the meantime it would be nice if Bernie did the right thing and returned the USGP to its rightful home…a location that drew more fans than about any other venue.

Meanwhile, back in Indiana, the local government promised 33 million tax bucks to keep the Pacers in their new arena for three years. Had I been mayor I may have worked out some sort of arena management financing, but I would have expected the profit. If the Simons want to make money they ought to put a winning team on the floor. During the deep playoff run years they rarely squawked about lack of money. When they have a team filled with unmotivated thugs coached by a serial loser and operated by a guy who was a much better player than manager the kind of trouble they now have is the result.

Up until now IMS has never asked Indianapolis for any tax money. Now that bean counters are in charge it would not be difficult imagining that could change. We hope not. It will be interesting during the upcoming BY400 to see whether the physical plant has deteriorated further since May.

All eyes are on Indy Car tomorrow when new chassis specifications are made public. Hopefully it is an opportunity for multiple chassis/engine combos. New cars alone will not immediately increase popularity, but perhaps it will quiet the howling obsessed for five minutes.



  1. The Simons pushed the Indiana Gov for daylight savings time and got what they wanted. The least they could do is make an effort to keep their team in Indy.

    As far as Bernie goes, he’s a mad man. His comments about Hitler speaks volumes about the F1 leader. To think he’s going to throw a race and have a new facility yet to break ground ready for 2012 in Austin is further evidence he’s a mad man.

    The more Bernie vocalizes his 5 star demands, the more he buries his sport in the USA. He could have a race in 2011 at Indy and have over 100K paying customers. He’ll NEVER get that anywhere else in the USA.

    Comment by M. Miller — July 13, 2010 @ 12:34 pm | Reply

  2. The unmotivated thugs are gone (and making deep runs into the playoffs) the overpaid undertalented choir boys who have taken their place are just waiting for their contracts to expire so they can move on and start their own backgammon league. I sort of blame the League for creating a contractual environment where the only way to rebuild a team is to subject season ticket holders to multiple years of dead contract purgatory before any true rebuilding begins. As for the $33m yeah it’s a lot of money but, if the pacers were gone it is roughly what the city would have to shell out to keep the doors open at conseco anyway for the occasional Lady Gaga concert. I suppose the other alternative would be to let the team leave and then simply tear the building down, but that would still cost ~$20M.

    Comment by jp — July 13, 2010 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

  3. As a transplanted Hoosier now living in Austin, I share both your hope that F1 returns to Indy and your doubt about the Austin race. Austin is a great town, but not sure anyone here has much interest in open-wheel racing at all. No one here had heard of this guy until they day Bernie undercut the developer by announcing the race. the developer has been scrambling to keep up ever since then.

    According to the latest article in the “Austin Chronicle” (available on line) the developer has already bought the property, but that’s about it. And there’s already some “green” folks wondering why Austin should promote fossil fuels. just wait until he goes asking for tax dollars…

    Comment by redd — July 13, 2010 @ 2:04 pm | Reply

  4. Pehaps the F1 race would still be in Indy if it was properly promoted by IMS.

    Perhaps if Bernie had not jacked up the rate to unrealistic levels and had worked with IMS to partner on things like race sponsors the perceived ‘issue’ of promotion would not be considered. As it was it drew more fans than about any other F-1 event. Needless greed killed it.

    Comment by TroyM — July 13, 2010 @ 3:41 pm | Reply

    • perhaps they’d have done better if they actually raced…

      Comment by redd — July 13, 2010 @ 4:50 pm | Reply

  5. Aren’t there ANY other road courses in the U. S., like Watkins Glen, Infineon, Mid-Ohio, or Portland, to name a few, that can host an F1 race? I’m a little mystified as to why they have to build another course at all, especially in Texas, where I think interest would be minimal. Maybe someone else has more insight as to why to we need another course, especially since it apparently will host ONLY F1., at first, anyway. Heck, at least the other courses I’ve named have multiple events, so they at least get their money’s worth.

    Comment by DOUG — July 13, 2010 @ 5:04 pm | Reply

    • I hope that F1 NEVER runs at the tracks you have mentioned. They would get completely ruined and sterilised in order to meet F1’s standards.

      Bernie is in the business of giving Grand Prix to tracks on an impossible timescale from the deal being done to the first race, then when they fail, making many a £$€ off the penalty clauses. he’s already done it with Donington….

      Comment by hates crappies hates gomers — July 14, 2010 @ 11:55 am | Reply

    • The cost to upgrade any of those tracks to FIA race specification would clearly be far less than it would be to build the supposed new Austin track from scratch, but that isn’t the real crux of the problem. The main problem (as Bernie sees it) with those tracks is that they’re in the middle of nowhere, i.e. a long way away from a 5-star hotel where he can park his tiny, pampered… Sorry, got carried away there. Also, no road course in America (Indy possibly excepted) would be able to get within $10 million of the sanctioning fee that Bernie extracts out of wherever F1 does go race, so the theory is that anybody who can come up with the half-billion dollars that it’ll take to build an FIA spec track from scratch, finding an extra $15-20 million for the F1 sanctioning fee is no big deal. I think what he’s done is take his $1 million deposit or whatever he charges somebody to make an announcement like this, and now he probably doesn’t really care if the race happens or not. If it does, great, he gets his other $14 million worth of the sanction fee. If not, well, he got paid $1 million to put out a press release. The US will continue it’s anti-love affair with F1, but I don’t get the impression that he cares one iota about that.

      Comment by The Speedgeek — July 14, 2010 @ 4:02 pm | Reply

  6. Hey Defender I have an invite to the announcement tomorrow I will sell you. Email me

    Thanks for thinking of me….already have one though.

    Comment by mshedden — July 13, 2010 @ 6:30 pm | Reply

  7. Population of Indianapolis under 800,000, the population of Austin TX 1.8 million, do the math.

    Editor’s Note: Math that counts…DMA Market size. Indianapolis is 25 (with a rich history of motor racing). Austin is 48 (with a rich history of steer).

    Comment by Laughing at your expense — July 13, 2010 @ 6:55 pm | Reply

  8. All eyes on IndyCar tomorrow? Looks like NASCAR is out to steal the thunder, announcement of NASCAR transformers in Transformers 3 was made today.

    Comment by M. Miller — July 13, 2010 @ 8:38 pm | Reply

  9. I wondered how long it would take before one of the bootlickers accused someone of ‘stealing’ indycar’s thunder

    Editor’s Note: ‘Bootlickers?’ Classy.

    Comment by TroyM — July 13, 2010 @ 10:20 pm | Reply

  10. Thanks for clearing it up, Speedgeek. What you say is pretty depressing, though–it doesn’t sound like we’ll EVER get a Formula 1 event, at Indianapolis or anywhere else, and Bernie “Eccesstone” (a little liberty with the spelling there)is nothing but a cynic. Maybe we’re better off.

    Comment by DOUG — July 14, 2010 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

  11. Come on, Defender, Bernie tried to race Indy but unfortunately, your town is suitable for American Open Wheel racing, not F1…simply put, there was nothing for us fans to do or see in Indy other than attending the F1 event that I traveled to back in 2002…unless Indy has grown significantly in the last decade, I doubt that Bernie or his band of Eurotrash will find Indy or Austin, for that matter) appealing…if Bernie was serious about bringing F1 back to the States, he would look no further than Vegas where there are ample hotel rooms, good restaurants and attractions to keep the fans entertained when there is no on track action…I too have my suspicions about the Austin track ever happening.

    Editor’s Note: I lived away from Indy for decades and can say that as a now part-year resident if you can’t find something fun to do you are not looking very hard.

    Comment by Neil Rubin — July 14, 2010 @ 6:28 pm | Reply

  12. mate i am pretty shore that le mans or possibly the areas around silverstone (due to nearly all the f1 teams and a buttload of other teams being based in that area) are the world capitals of motorsport (or as u put it autoracing)

    Editor’s Note: True if your orientation leans toward F-1. People who favor NASCAR say it’s Daytona or Charlotte. Without Indianapolis for a century, the sport would probably not have evolved as it has. Visit sometime.

    Comment by nosh pitt — July 15, 2010 @ 1:06 am | Reply

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