Speaking out once again on the glaring lack of any North American races on the F1 calendar in the 2009 season and for the foreseeable future, Bernie Ecclestone claims there’s no one but the teams to blame. Apparently, their cardinal sin was wanting too much money to race anywhere on the North American continent.
If we’re considering the doomed US race at Indianapolis, that justification seems fair. While F1 does have a stronger fanbase in the US than many people would like to admit, the return of F1 to the US still failed to attract the record numbers of fans to Indy that Bernie and others had hoped for.
But to say that about Canada? When the 2007 Canadian GP boasted record-breaking attendance numbers? Where F1 has held a race since its inception as a sport? Where the name of the track is the freaking Circuit du Gilles Villeneuve. That alone should speak to its historic importance?
I want to see the math on that one. I’m fairly certain I’m not alone. Sure it’s expensive for F1 teams to cart all their equipment to Canada to hold a proper race, but it’s expensive for them to cart all their equipment to Australia, Malaysia, Japan, and Bahrain, too. Maybe the Canadian dollar isn’t terribly strong against Euros and Pounds Sterling—but is the Australian dollar any better? Or the Malaysian ringgit?
I don’t know the proper answers to any of these questions, and I’m in no way pretending to be an expert. But the fact Bernie keeps bringing this up and offering up increasingly lame excuses about why there’s no longer a race in North America really does make me increasingly curious.
As for the US, I attended the first GP held at Indy when F1 returned to the US. The facilities for anyone other than the press were a joke, and I think anyone with even a passing interest in F1 and knowledge of any of the other tracks can admit that Indy is a rather boring track for F1-style racing. Laguna Seca would be ideal, or Watkins Glen. The proposed Las Vegas street circuit of a few years back wouldn’t be bad, either. But again, at least I can sort of understand taking it away from the US.
Canada, though? That’s a stab right in the heart of the sport, Bernie, and you know it. Maybe deep down in your heart of hearts, you feel guilty, and that’s why you keep bringing it up.