Pook states his case for F1's return to Long Beach

Sunday 23rd March 2014, 11:22 by TF1T Staff 

The founder of the Long Beach Grand Prix, Chris Pook, is working with Bernie Ecclestone and Delta Topco - F1's parent company - to bring the series back to the streets of the Californian city.

Pook has put a case together which he hopes the Long Beach city council will review, if they decide not to renew IndyCar's contract after 2015. The council are due to vote on the matter next month.

"We just want the opportunity to state our case, to be considered," Pook said. "We just want them to take a look at what we bring to the table. That's all we're asking."

The circuit would require substantial upgrades as well as lengthening to meet F1's minimum lap distance of 2.254 miles. Pook dismissed the idea of it costing hundreds of millions.

"People have been saying it would cost $100 million and that number has just stuck in people’s minds. It's not even close to that."

In fact, he says a figure of just under $10m would be sufficient and it would be covered by the promoter, not the city. Nor will the city have to pay the hosting fee.

In addition, a two-storey building would be constructed along Shoreline Drive to house the team garages. The facility would be donated to the city to use as it wishes outside of the race weekend.

Pook took the race in Austin as an example of what the direct financial gains would be for Long Beach.

"The net tax gain for Austin in 2013 was $4.9 million, and the net gain for Texas was $17.2 million.

"The value of F1 is that it provides new money. F1 racing draws a worldwide audience. You would be tapping into new consumers," he added.

F1 aims to have three races in the United States by 2016 - the current race in Austin and one on the east and west coasts.

"The parent company knows that America is the largest automotive market in the world and they want to expand here," explained Pook. "Long Beach was a big part of F1 then and they want to be back here."

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