• US Grand Prix

Long Beach would need $10m upgrade

ESPN Staff
March 23, 2014 « Vettel 'encouraged' by Red Bull progress | Australian GP race chief to retire from post »
In the old days .. Nelson Piquet leads Rene Arnoux in to turn one at the 1980 Long Beach Grand Prix © Getty Images
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As alternative venues for a second US-based grand prix are discussed in the light of New Jersey's apparent failure to make the grade, the old circuit at Long Beach has once more been touted as a possible candidate.

Long Beach hosted seven grands prix between 1976 and 1983 and has since been used to stage IndyCar races. With California a potentially lucrative market, Formula One's money men have been looking at the viability of the circuit.

Last April, Bernie Ecclestone said he had held talks with the organisers about Formula One replacing IndyCar when its agreement to race expires, which is does next year.

Speaking to the Orange County Register, Long Beach Grand Prix founder Chris Pook said it would take almost $10 million to bring the circuit into line with modern F1 requirements. Despite that, he was keen to be given a chance.

"We just want the opportunity to state our case, to be considered," he said. "We just want them to take a look at what we bring to the table. That's all we're asking.

"People have been saying it would cost $100 million. That number has just stuck in people's minds. It's not even close to that. The net tax gain for Austin in 2013 was $4.9 million, and the net gain for Texas was $17.2 million. The value of F1 is that it provides new money. F1 racing draws a worldwide audience. You would be tapping into new consumers."

Although Pook sold his interests in the race in 2002, he is working with Eccelstone and F1's parent company, Delta Topco, to bring a race to Southern California.

"F1 wants to be in Southern California by 2016. I'm conflicted, because I want to see it here. It's where we started and it's a big piece of history."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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