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Formula 1 targeting Long Beach return circuit



A sector of the Long Beach street circuit in California.

A sector of the Long Beach street circuit in California.

F1 last competed on the streets of the southern California venue in 1983 following a seven-year run before the fee for the event became too expensive to bear.

Long Beach has since staged CART and, most recently and successfully, IndyCar races, however, the lease for the event is up for renewal from 2015.

Long Beach City Council is scheduled to meet with the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach that currently holds the lease, and who are seeking a five-year extension.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, however, has thrown his hat into the ring with regard to acquiring the lease, confirming his position in a letter written to Mayor Bob Foster late last year.

Part of the letter read: “Formula One is interested in returning to your city, and we will consider the appropriate entity to make such a bid if you decide to permit such a process.”

Long Beach GPA CEO Jim Michaelian sees no reason why the City Council should now switch allegiances due to the “extraordinary relationship” that currently exists between the two parties.

Speaking to the Orange County Register, Michaelian said: “We have met or exceeded all the expectations, and we’ve been classified the number one street race in the United States.

“We bring in 175,000 fans over the weekend, 30-35 million (US) dollars (£18-21m) in economic impact. We do it without any drama and pay all our bills in full.”

It is anticipated F1, however, would triple the economic impact, not including the global television exposure for Long Beach.

But whereas IndyCar charges just over £1million in fees, F1 would likely be somewhere in the region of £15million.

Chris Pook, former Long Beach GPA CEO prior to Michaelian, and who has been charged by Ecclestone with finding a southern California venue, believes the city will get more bang for its buck with F1.

“What these events are all about is how much in added revenue can you bring in,” said Pook.


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