- US Grand Prix
McLaren relishing return to USA
McLaren is relishing the prospect of Formula One returning to the USA and has encouraged the sport to work hard to make the opportunity work.
On Tuesday it was revealed that a ten-year deal had been struck to hold the US Grand Prix on a purpose-built track in Austin from 2012 onwards. Since the contract to hold the race at Indianapolis expired in 2007, the teams have been keen to return to the USA as it is one of the world's biggest car markets. McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale believes the new deal will be very positive for F1.
"I saw the headline and, while I'm not aware of details, most of us in F1 would relish the opportunity to go back to America," he told the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Phone-In. "It's a really important place for us to be. Our market and our sponsors all want to operate there and Formula One has to do something about the package and they way in which we present it to make it acceptable to one of the world's largest markets. But without any expert knowledge on it - I'm not going to bluff my way through - I'd say it's fantastic news if it turns out to be true and we can make it happen."
He added that F1 has to carefully consider how to approach the Austin race in order to gain interest and support from the US and its fans.
"There are smarter men than I trying to work out how it'll work in America," he said. "I think we should ask the Americans, we should look at what the TV networks want, we should look at the way in which sport is consumed in America as a family and say 'Do we have an offering that is going to work over a weekend when the American culture provides for family life and sport in a slightly different way?' I think we may have to look at the whole formula for working in America to serve that market. But again, I am no expert in that. There is a FOTA commercial committee as well as CVC and FOM who I'm sure want the same thing and are looking at how to make that happen. If we are going to back to the States then that is a breakthrough and we should make a really good attempt at doing it well."