Nov 7, 2005
Indy Gets F1 on July 4By JR Nerad
The Indianapolis 500 has been a Memorial Day weekend tradition for nearly 100 years. Now the Independence Day weekend at Indianapolis has a chance (okay, a slim chance) to become established as the time for America's Formula One race. This coming year, partially as a sop for the disaster that was the 2005 U.S. Grand Prix, the Formula One schedule-makers have placed the race on July 2 over what many will celebrate as a four-day Fourth of July weekend.
Certainly this year's F1 debacle at Indianapolis had something to do with the scheduling bonanza. As you remember, a protest by the teams using Michelin tires meant the last-second withdrawal of 14 of the field's 20 racecars. The race went on anyway, and F1 and Michelin have been trying to make amends, to little avail, ever since. But an attempt to make nice to the American race fans wasn't the only rationale for the move. As you might guess, self-interest is also a big part of the equation. For those who don't follow what passes for "football" in other parts of the world, the World Cup will be contested in Germany from June 9 to July 9. Because of this the F1 schedule gurus have slated only one Grand Prix race in Europe during the period, the British Grand Prix on June 11. After that there is a two-week lull, and then the Canadian Grand Prix revs up on June 25, followed by the aforementioned U.S. Grand Prix.
While it would be nice to think that a July 4 Grand Prix race could become a staple at the Brickyard, don't count on it. In 2007, sans World Cup, Europe is most likely going to get that prized early-summer date instead of the U.S., which is lightly regarded by F1 management despite the fact that it is still the biggest economy and market in the world.
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