Twilight in the Circus
In my rush to finish up penning my thoughts of the USGP, I then decided to wait
and see how the rest of the motorsport world viewed the race at Indianapolis. I
collected the various magazines, read most of the online viewpoints that were free
(most subscriptions are a rip-off, plain and simple) and called a few of the press I
knew for the after their fact opinion. Interestingly, no one would go on the record.
Financial reasons you know.
Over the years I have come to the conclusion that the best and the worst
motorsport journalism comes out of the U.K. Most of the coverage I read that
originated from Britain fell in to the latter category. The heavy household names
declared the USGP a huge success, one went as far as to claim that the crowd of
125,000 would be the envy of many of the other circuits that play host to the circus.
A little research in to that claim would lay waste to it and present the economic
story it really tells about the only round of formula one to play in the U.S. In
retrospect, it isn't all that difficult to understand why the Brit rags mostly follow F1.
They have a lot of money and prestige invested in covering the circus. However, the
apparent abandonment of in depth coverage of sportscars, GT and the like for
more pages on what will Villeneuve may or may not do for next season, have badly
compromised most of what they print. In their view all of F1 is newsworthy, in
sportscars, their only interest is Le Mans.
The word around Indianapolis about the USGP was that of few words at all. Two
dynamics were at work for this, one being the whole distant and remote facade,
the unavailability and unapproachable aspect of F1 may play well in Europe and
Japan but in the heartland of the U.S., it doesn't play at all. The other was the
ridiculous debacle of a finish between Schuey and Rubens. I spoke to a great
many of the townsfolk, in the bars, in the cabs, a couple of cops, hotel staff. Those
who had even the slightest knowledge of the race, knew of what happened last
year. The stands at Indy hold 300,000 plus. This year's grand prix drew a just over
a third of that. Those who hail the race as a success forget that this is the United
States Grand Prix and this is a BIG country. A count of those from South America
and Canada would drop the figures of Yankee attendance ever lower. And the
rest? Like me, they flew in from the various stations of the cross.
Won’t get fooled again
When the penalty was given to Montoya for his incident with Rubens (he drives a
Ferrari, remember ? ) effectively ending JPM hopes, the TV remotes could be
heard clicking all over North and South America. An official who has years of F1
experience told me after the race that nothing happens in F1 without a reason. I
suppose that would explain Schuey’s erratic driving in Japan a couple of weeks
later, he deserved a penalty but that was overlooked. But then again, doesn’t he
also drive a Ferrari?
Roll the dice and Skin the cat
The contract rolls on for another year between Tony George and Bernie. FIA vs. the
IRL… dollars vs. Euros… and in 2005 ? F1, not here, F1 gone.
Good seating available
As I took a walk one night, I came across a restaurant that was filled with a non-
race crowd. A local bowling league was having a party. Maybe that's it after all.