Apr.21 (GMM/Inautonews.com) Michael Andretti, a leading motor racing figure in the US, has played down reports F1 could add the iconic Long Beach race to its own annual calendar.
Reports this month said that with Indycar’s contract expiring, Bernie Ecclestone and F1 sponsor agency chief Zak Brown had expressed interest in snapping up the California street race.
More recently a fixture of American open wheel racing, the Long Beach event was actually devised for formula one in the mid seventies, and the race ran until 1983.
Now, Ecclestone, Brown and race founder Chris Pook are reportedly in talks to bring F1 back to Long Beach.
“I’m an advocate of F1 buying the Long Beach GP,” Brown told Motorsport magazine this month, “and I’ve been having those conversations.”
However, Andretti – a former McLaren driver – doubts it will happen.
These days, as well as fielding a prominent Indycar team, Andretti’s company promotes races in Milwaukee, Toronto and Baltimore, and he told the Indianapolis Star there is “no way” formula one is heading to Long Beach.
“Why would they sell it?” he wondered.
“It runs along every year, making enough money. They have things in place; it works. I don’t think it’s a headache for them at all.”
Andretti also doubts F1 has the appetite to spend the money necessary to bring the street circuit up to the sport’s higher standards.
“They’d have to spend $100 million to bring it up to where F1 would want it,” he insisted. “No one would do that.”