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Bernie's pearl of wisdom to the local media whilst he was here in Indianapolis?
"We arrived here and all the banners say Indy 500"
What does he think Indy stands for? Indypendent? The people of Indiana (not just Indianapolis) are intensely proud of their motor sports heritage.
Here's a demonstration of the difference between IRL/NASCAR and F1:
- IRL and NASCAR both have "fan days" where fans can visit the pits, line up to have 30 seconds with their favourite driver, etc.
- F1 you're lucky if you can even recognise your favourite driver on the Jumbotron screen!
- IRL and NASCAR make their drivers available to the media for interviews, press conferences, etc.
- F1 drivers are like ghosts you see them for a fleeting moment and then they're gone!
As an expatriate Brit and former avid F1 fan, I am so disappointed at Bernie's "money grubbing" tactics, together with the constant siding of the FIA with whatever is needed to keep Ferrari as one of the top teams.
I side with Tony George and his belief that all types of motorsport should be available at a reasonable cost to ALL fans, young and old, rich or poor, and THAT is why both NASCAR and IRL have such a large following in the USA (plus the fact that you actually see passing rather than a procession around the track).
In my humble opinion, F1 will never have a following in the USA until the F1 management make the sport more accessible to the masses. If this means (shock horror) that they make less money for a couple of years, then surely it would be worth it to expand the fan base of the sport?
Again with the Bernie bashing. There are plenty to blame for the lack of support of the USGP, and it should begin with Tony George.
Remember it was he who singlehandedly ruined the true Indy car racing (CART) in the US. He wanted to cheapen the sport by having everyone drive the same car and only drive ovals. How boring is that.
A true F1 fan knows that hundreds of millions (dollars, pounds, or euros) go into the developement and running of a F1 team and these funds need to be recouped. Either by ticket prices, host fees or whatever, you can't blame Bernie for looking out for the future of F1.
Sooner or later, someone is going to feel that F1 is too expensive a sport to support. I have never been a fan of the USGP being in Indianapolis, it reminded me of a road course put into a mega-stadium. A true circuit would be a permanent road course where it would have an exclusive status and not have to share billing with other events that would overshadow the immensity of F1.
This is the only stop in the States, and of two in North America. Don't you think that this hallowed event deserves more respect than it has received?