Zak Brown: Formula One at Long Beach Isn’t Happening

McLaren CEO Zak Brown has spoken out on the talk of a F1 return to Long Beach, saying that the chances of the series in the Bay Area are slim.

Just like any sport, Formula One is subject to the rumour mill that its passionate fans can perpetuate – for better or worse. This year marks a particularly interesting opportunity for armchair commentators to exercise their nimble fingers across many forms of social media – as it marks the first year that the sport will be undergoing large changes to keep it fresh and exciting.

Riccardo Patrese - Arrows - US Grand Prix 1982

One of the biggest shakeups that F1 can do to make things a bit more interesting is to switch around circuits on the calendar. Some fans have fixated on this topic and vehemently believe that the Grand Prix at Long Beach, California is set to make a comeback.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to the case – for multiple reasons. McLaren CEO Zak Brown has weighed in on the prospects of the F1 returning to Long beach:

“The Grand Prix of Long Beach is obviously a fantastic event and has a wonderful 43-year history, initially with Formula 1 but most recently with IndyCar. It’s a great venue for IndyCar.

But the economics that Formula 1 requires would need heavy subsidy from government, and from what I understand, I don’t believe Long Beach is prepared to pay that type of rights fee.

The other very significant part is that to host an F1 race, the track would need to be FIA Grade 1, and that would need a longer track with much more run-off and a substantial pit complex.

Well, the track is up against the harbor so you’re not really dealing with an environment that is easy to modify! Plus, the entire circuit resides within the jurisdiction of the California Coastal Commission so any circuit improvements such as the necessary pit/garage complex would be subject to their review and approval.” – Zak Brown

Rene Arnoux of France drives the #16 Equipe Renault Elf Renault RE30B Renault V6 turbo inside the #27 Scuderia Ferrari 126C2 Ferrari V6 of Gilles Villeneuve as they round the Queen's Hairpin at the start of the United States Grand Prix West on 4th April 1982 on the streets of Long Beach, California, United States. (Photo by Rainer W. Schlegelmilch/Getty Images)
Rene Arnoux of France drives the #16 Equipe Renault Elf Renault RE30B Renault V6 turbo inside the #27 Scuderia Ferrari 126C2 Ferrari V6 of Gilles Villeneuve as they round the Queen’s Hairpin at the start of the United States Grand Prix West on 4th April 1982 on the streets of Long Beach, California, United States. (Photo by Rainer W. Schlegelmilch/Getty Images)

The shape of the pits at Long Beach would be the biggest concern to the F1 circus and would be difficult to amend. While the chances of Formula One returning to Long Beach in the near future are quite slim, the possibility isn’t completely off the table. Sure, it’ll take a lot of work to get it there, but if F1 can prove to investors that it is a sport making way for… maybe we’ll get to see some top-tier driving alongside the bay area once again.

Start the discussion

to comment