(posted 10-9-08 further reaction on F1 cancelling the Canadian Grand Prix)
Great read. As an American even I am depressed by the thought of Canada losing it's GP. Obviously Bernie has never been one to shed a tear for a lost venue, but with no North American rounds at all there is some major loss of credibility there. As much as I never believed NASCRAP would be able to get a foothold outside the US, this could be Bernie's biggest mistake.
Also, the idea of Pook bringing back the USGP sounds a bit optimistic at best. Either he will get a freebie from Bernie to get it off the ground or there is major corporate support. The only scenario I could see Bernie cutting him any slack would be a street race in Las Vegas which won't happen I would think.
F-1 is racing and Racing is a Business.
With TV ratings in the USA that barely register and sponsors who have no problems bypassing North America it is hard to question Bernie's decision.
If Mercedes Benz, Toyota, Honda and BMW wanted a race in North America there would be one.
Ferrari and Renault could care less. Ferrari already sells every car than can make and Renault doesn't sell here.
Toyota has jumped into NASCAR.
Honda has the IRl and ALMS(with Acura)
BMW is going to ALMS as well.
That leaves M/B and they seem happy without F-1 marketing in the US.
Look at some of the Major Sponsors in F-1.
Vodaphone, Santander, Alice, Petrobras, Mubadala, Kingfisher, Aigo. None major players in North America.
Marlboro can't advertise here. Red bull has NASCAR.
If the Manufacturers and Sponsors wanted a race in North Ameria it would happen.
I've always found the North American GP concept to be fascinating, really...considering what a Eurocentric sport F1 really is. I really do hope that F1 does return to your shores (particularly Montreal which I believe to be steeped in F1's heritage) but, correct me if I'm wrong here, but wasn't the Canadian GP really the only North American F1 race that worked? I think it'll be a long time realistically if F1 ever does come back to the US given the amount of disasters F1 has over there (ostrich races being more popular, tarmac melting etc).
Perhaps it was the constant changing of venues that did it. How many circuits has F1 raced over there? The Glen, Long Beach, Dallas Street, Phoenix Street, Indianapolis, Riverside, Sebring, Detroit and Vegas. That's a lot of different circuits and many of them are highlights of US open wheel racing and tin tops alike. I think the Glen had the best run of them all (20 years) and it was only ground effect that basically stopped them from going there, along with the track's lack of funding etc. But funding isn't everything- FTG paid for the honor of having the USGP held at Indianapolis, probably the best known (internationally, sadly) American circuit there is. Look what happened there.
I don't think there are any easy answers to this. F1's not a loved sport in the US for whatever reason (no decent US drivers or cars, NASCAR etc) so maybe the guys in Paris have finally given up on North America and are now focusing solely on "emerging markets".
I find it really sad.