Teams urged to act to get US GP back
|By Jonathan Noble and Dieter Rencken||Thursday, March 12th 2009, 11:04 GMT|
Formula 1 teams must take the initiative and become key players in promoting a race in North America if the sport is to return there in the near future, claims McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.
The demise of the Canadian Grand Prix this year means that 2009 marks the first time in world championship history that there will be no F1 race in North America.
With the continent so important for all of F1's manufacturers and sponsors, however, teams are keen to ensure that the sport does get back there as soon as possible.
And Whitmarsh believes that rather than teams relying on commercial chief Bernie Ecclestone to sort out a deal, he thinks they should take it upon themselves to help find a solution.
"There's a clear view among FOTA (Formula One Teams' Association) members in the discussions, that we need a Grand Prix in America and we've got to work on how to achieve that," Whitmarsh told autosport.com.
"The view within FOTA is that we've got to look more strategically to how we develop the calendar. We've concentrated on making sure we have a viable sport, making sure we control costs and improving the show, and there are a range of issues we have got to turn our minds to.
"The calendar for this year was fixed by the time we (FOTA) got going, but we want to look at where are our major investors and America is a massive challenge.
"We can't turn our back on it, but maybe we have to have a completely different approach.
"We have got to have a new approach. Rather than who's going to give us the most money to rock up and race, it is to go there strategically, perhaps with FOTA offering to support the race, participate, send our drivers on a promotional tour one year before, six months before, to appear on shows and make investment.
"Rather than leave it in the hands of a promoter, how do we develop the interest? How do we develop the excitement and take up of F1 in North America? Be it Ferrari, be it Daimler, or be it BMW. You look at all of the principle investors in F1; the vast majority of them would consider the US to be a significant market."
Interest in F1 in the United States has increased in the past few months following an announcement that a new American team is looking to join the grid in 2010.