The last few years we’ve seen some rumors start circulating around the racing world about a possible Formula One return to Long Beach. From 1976-1983, the Grand Prix of Long Beach was run with F1 cars. But, since 1984, it’s been IndyCar teams racing on the scenic 1.968-mile southern California street circuit.
Now, two weeks after the 43rd annual event in which James Hinchcliffe went to victory lane at Long Beach on April 9, the Long Beach Gazette is reporting the city has hired a consulting firm to study and ultimately decide whether they should bring back F1 or keep IndyCar.
The report states that Long Beach signed a contract for $150k with KPMG Corporate Finance, LLC to do the work on this.
The reason this is even coming up again, is Liberty Media has recently purchased F1. They’d like to get another race in the United States. Being in Los Angeles would be huge for them. But, it would obviously come at a huge expense to the city.
New garages, adding more track to the layout (F1 has a minimum requirement for a track distance and Long Beach is currently short of that) and street upgrades would all be necessary. With the luxury that F1 would want, we’re talking millions upon millions. With that cost adds more money to tax payers and higher ticket prices.
Would that equate to success for the race?
Reports were that were over 180,000 spectators at this year’s race weekend and city promoters were very happy with the crowd and how it appeared on TV.
The ultimate million dollar question would be would that 180,000 bench mark go up or down with F1? Plus, would the profit be the same, more, or less?
That’s for the consultant firm to decide.
IndyCar’s deal with Long Beach runs through 2018, so they’d like to either sign an extension with IndyCar or sign with F1 for 2019. All I know is the Verizon IndyCar Series loves coming to Long Beach and sees this event right up there in prestige with the Indianapolis 500.
The drivers all rave annually about going to Long Beach. If the series loses this date, it wouldn’t be good for them.