With Formula 1 looking to expand in the United States, the conditions are ripe for a deal to be struck between Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the sport’s owners headed by new CEO Stefano Domenicali.
F1’s first foray to IMS started well, but in 2007 no agreement could be reached between the American venue and Bernie Ecclestone’s financial demands at the time. Throw into that the six-car race fiasco in 2005 which ended up being the final nail in that project.
Nevertheless, when The Captain purchased the place a couple of years ago he targeted “events that matter” for IMS, and said at the time: “Can we run a 24-hour race here? Can we run a Formula 1 race here? What are the things we can do? This is a great asset.
“We want to have a big sportscar race here. We want to host an F1 race, and you need to make sure we qualify and have all the assets,” Penske added.
Domenicali and F1 are ready to oblige according to a report in Autoweek: “America is a work in progress. I really hope that we can give you a straight answer very, very soon. But, no question, that is a focus. The objective will be to increase to two American races. That is really the target.”
Among those considered to join Circuit of the Americas on the Grand Prix calendar are the problem-plagued Miami street race and a Las Vegas project.
Domenicali continued: “I cannot say today whether Vegas is better or worse, to be honest. We are working very hard on that. Indianapolis is in the equation. That is why it is good we have a lot of elements.
“But it would be wrong and premature to say anything because, otherwise, we create expectation that we don’t want to create. What I can say is that the focus is definitely there.
“The big thing we need to change in the U.S. is to feed info every day—more at all levels—with the involvement of the drivers, the teams and the organizers. This is something that we want to do very strongly this year,” explained the F1 chief.
To which IMS responded through the IndyStar: “There continues to be mutual interest in an F1 race at IMS. We’re open to further dialogue, and time will tell if there’s an opportunity that works for everyone.”
When he toured the venue last year as Penske’s guest, FIA President Jean Todt was thoroughly impressed with the new ownership and said as much.
“The Indy facility is absolutely outstanding,” Todt told he told IndyCarLatinos.com. “I was saying earlier to Roger that Le Mans is a small city, living for the 24 Hours. It’s the same for Indy, it’s known all around the world for the city and top race, the Indy 500.
“In my capacity as president of the FIA, I was quite keen to come and give the mark of respect for all they are doing in this unprecedented time. To see all the world Roger Penske has taken over, a lot has been invested to make the circuit one of the best racing facilities around the world,” added Todt.