The Formula 1 rumour mill was in full flight over the last 12 hours with reports emerging from the United States that New Jersey is set to be announced as host of a second US Grand Prix from 2013 onwards.
The circuit would include the backdrop of Manhattan, which has long been Bernie Ecclestone’s dream. Formula 1 has failed to gain a foothold in America but to have a race hosted in “the city that never sleeps” would surely provide tremendous publicity for the world championship.
The track would be between the town lands of Weehawken and West New York winding though Memorial Park and Old Glory Park along the Hudson river.
While this announcement, expected as early as Tuesday, is far from confirmation that the race will take place but it shows that there is a desire to have two races in America. With the new circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas having just been added to the calendar for next year it is clear that a concerted effort has been made to increase awareness of the sport in what is one of the few remaining markets that Formula 1 needs to pursue to be considered a truly global series.
While no other country currently hosts two Grand Prix it is very likely that there would be no opposition from teams to racing in both Austin and New Jersey due to the potential for new sponsorship coming from the US.
This would not be the first time that the US hosted two Grand Prix in the same year. Throughout the seventies there was two races with numerous circuits playing host to the East and West US Grand Prix.
It is highly likely that New Jersey would slot into the middle of the calendar, twinned with Canada, due to the fact that Austin in June would be dangerously hot during the traditional June date for Montreal. This would recreate the North America double header that was favoured when Indianapolis was the host venue of the US Grand Prix.
But looking forward it is likely that there will be more announcements in the coming months in relation to new events in the Americas. With Dorna having confirmed Argentina as a new MotoGP round from 2013 it is likely that Buenos Aires would look to rejoin Formula 1. The Argentine capital last played host to F1 in 1998 when Mika Hakkinen was victorious for McLaren.
With Mexico also having also been mooted as a potential returnee to the calendar, due in no small part to having Sergio Perez on the grid, it is clear that we could easily have six races in the US time zone within a few years making Formula 1 a much more attractive TV package; surely the primary target of Ecclestone.
Gaining a foothold in the US has always been the Holy Grail of Formula 1 but it has been clear that the sport needed to do more than just having a race on the calendar was not enough. A more concerted effort is needed and bringing more races to a suitable time for US viewers might well be enough to finally make Formula 1 a mainstream sport in one of the world’s largest markets.
With teams still struggling to find new sponsorship opportunities it is clear that making the sport attractive in the US would provide tremendous commercial opportunities for the Formula 1 community should the New Jersey race go ahead.