Thursday, July 12, 2007

Indianapolis Motor Speedway Says Goodbye To F-1

Last month I posted a piece on what could have been the last U.S. Grand Prix to take place at the most famous speedway in the world. Today, it has been announced that it was to be.

From the Indy Star:

A stormy eight-year relationship between Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Formula One ended today with the announcement the international racing series would not return in 2008.

IMS chairman Tony George and F-1 boss Bernie Ecclestone could not reach an agreement on a sanctioning fee to continue the U.S. Grand Prix.

George had set today as a deadline for a new contract.
"Unfortunately, and to my great disppointment, Formula One will not be back next year," George said today at a press conference at IMS.

So, as they often say in these types of situations, "que sera, sera".

Don't get me wrong here. I am disappointed that I will not have the opportunity to meet and speak with Europeans on such a large scale in Indy, all during the course of a summer weekend. There will be no more impromptu conversations with them at a local restaurant or pub, the night before the race. No more gestures of friendship and goodwill be traded either. No more opportunity for Europeans to experience the warmth and hospitality that the people of America do offer, to those that come to visit.

On a larger scale, there will be no more significant boost of the local economy, taking in the vast amounts of stable Euros that are brought with them. It will be a loss, but certainly not a crippling one.

On the other side of the coin, there are many Europeans that live and work in the United States, who will not get to see their favorite drivers, in a sport that they have loved, since they were children. Now, they will be relegated to seeing the F-1 races on Speedvision at 8:30 AM or tape delayed, after the outcome has been well known.

If I might interject one more thought into this, I would say, Mr. Ecclestone has long suffered from a delusional thought process that he is royalty. He also seems to think that he can just make Tony George jump through any kind of hoop possible, bring his traveling circus into town with very little promotion (to speak of), and people will just come running and beat the doors down to get in, all because they are Formula One Racing.

It just doesn't work that way.

So, if it were up to me, I'd say:

My dearest Bernie,

You, sir, are not royalty.

Therefore, please forgive us, if we don't bow or kiss your feet as if you are. Tony George isn't going to, neither are race fans that have had the privilege of watching the Greatest Spectacle in Racing all of their lives. You had a golden opportunity to take America by storm and create one of the most loyal fan bases in the world, and you blew it.

In the 60s, the British Invasion brought a unique style of rock and roll music to this country and won over the hearts of rock fans everywhere, from coast to coast. They did it with charm, wit, and grace. They did interviews, went on Ed Sullivan, and other channels that let the people know they were here. They did not take subsidies from the government, as you have done with your enterprise.

If you were any kind of an intelligent businessman that you claim to be, you'd know this. You'd also know that Americans are not easily won over, but once they are, they are the most loyal fans that you could ever ask for.

So, enjoy those government subsidies you rake in from other nations that bow to your every whim. (Subsidies that ultimately come from the taxes taken from the hard-working people, while racing to small crowds, unlike what you were able to see at the IMS.)

Good riddance, sir.

From a former fan,


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