The Long Beach City Council has delayed its consideration of a bid from Bernie Ecclestone’s Delta Topco group to replace its IndyCar race with F1 when its current contract expires at the end of 2015. However, Chris Pook – the founder of the Long Beach race who was instrumental in replacing F1 with Indy cars back in 1984 but is now helping Ecclestone’s efforts to return – told the Orange County Register he remains hopeful the proposal will be given a fair hearing by the city.
“We just want the opportunity to state our case, to be considered,” said Pook (LEFT), who sold his interest in the Long Beach race in 2002. “We just want them to take a look at what we bring to the table. That’s all we’re asking.”
Pook told the Register the required upgrades to the circuit to meet F1 standards would cost $9.2 million, which would be paid by the promoter. Among the planned enhancements would be construction of a two-story building to house F1 operations along Shoreline Drive, which would also be made available to the city for use in other civic events like the Long Beach Marathon.
“People have been saying it would cost $100 million. That number has just stuck in people’s minds. It’s not even close to that,” claimed Pook, who said the example of the USGP at Circuit of The Americas demonstrates the value of an F1 race for a local community, despite the costs involved.
“The net tax gain for Austin in 2013 was $4.9 million, and the net gain for Texas was $17.2 million,” he said. “The value of F1 is that it provides new money. F1 racing draws a worldwide audience. You would be tapping into new consumers.”
The city council is expected to vote within the next month on whether to formally request a proposal to consider the F1 bid.