Saturday, 22 October 2011

Should a country be allowed two Grands Prix?

Spain is already the home of both the Spanish Grand Prix near Barcelona and the European Grand Prix in Valencia. Before that it was Germany that held two Grands Prix a year, at Hockenheim and the Nurburgring, but they now alternate between one another year on year. However, rumours emerged this morning that Bernie Ecclestone is set to announce a race in New Jersey from 2013. With the new American Grand Prix at Austin starting a ten year contract next season. But should a country have two races? Or should they let other countries hold a race?

Valencia holds a second race in Spain each year, dubbed the 'European Grand Prix'

First we have to examine why a country would want to hold more than one race. In the case of Spain and Germany before it, Ecclestone and FOM decided to make a quick buck from the popularity of a driver in the form of Fernando Alonso and Michael Schumacher respectively. However, in the case of this second US race, it's not as clear cut - the race in Austin might struggle to fill all of its grandstands straight away, so why would America need two races? For one, America is one of the biggest markets in the world, which Formula One teams and their sponsors want to tap into. Austin is on the far-Western side of America, whilst the New Jersey race will be on completely the opposite side of the country, on the Eastern seaboard. Bernie Ecclestone himself has always wanted to hold a race in or around New York, and if this rumoured deal comes to fruition then his dream will have been realised. However, if a country must hold two races, is it financially viable to have one specially built for the purpose and the other to be a temporary facility? I'm not so sure - Formula One can't return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but what would have been so wrong with using Daytona? This would have to be the Road Course, naturally, but this wouldn't have been a bad option. Formula One could have also tried its hand at an oval circuit, but this will be set back for many years to come after the untimely and tragic death of Dan Wheldon in Las Vegas 5 days ago.

So should countries be allowed to hold two Grands Prix? The answer is yes, but only in certain circumstances, if it is a big market like America. And races should never, ever alternate between two countries like France and Belgium are planning to do. But what do you think? Leave your thoughts in the comments.


  1. Jonny, you may want to check you geography a little. Texas is pretty much dead in the center of America, on the southern side. There is the east coast (where NY is) and the west coast (where Los Angeles is) and then there's Texas. Yes, we're big.

    I'm 25 miuntes from the front gate at the Circuit of The Americas track and we're really looking forward to F1's retrun to America AND having it in our backyard.

    Did you know that America is the only country to host three GPs?

  2. Should countries have more than 1 GP, yes why not. All will depend on whether the public in tht country will support the sport and secondly whether there are sufficient facilities to accomodate the fans who will attend the race.

    However over the last 20 years or more Formula One has entered more continents and market places which many in the sport have been desperate to reach.

    Now F1 have about 20 races to a few years ago when Europe were content with about 16. Now we are talking about the possibility of going even further and having 24 races.

    For me, if I could afford to attend more races and they remained closer to where I live then great but I am a fan and have been for over 40 years.

    I just wander if F1 and BE are biting off more than they can chew. Only time will tell but I think we will see more races cancelled over the next few years through costs, wars, discontentment and even may be the break up of the EU.

    Only time will tell. TonyJaveaF1