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GP Week : Issue 123
FOTA chairman Martin Whitmarsh has reiterated the need for Formula One to host two Grands Prix in the United States of America every year, with the sport set to return to the country only next year for the first time since 2007. Whitmarsh says that hosting a single race in the US is not enough given the size of the market, and is championing hosting a race each on the east and west coasts. Speaking at the recent FOTA Fans’ Forum at McLaren’s headquarters in Woking, Whitmarsh said that the sport had to embrace America this time around, having failed to make an impact on the country on previous visits. “ We’re going to the USA, but we’ve really got to go to the USA this time. That’s to say going there, having a race going home isn’t good enough,” he began. “ That’s what we’ve done in the States before and it didn’t work. We’re not really in America. America doesn’t need us, but we need to conquer it. “Maybe we need to have two races a year and a proper marketing programme. We’ve got to create the interest.” The United States Grand Prix was last run at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway between 2000 and 2007, but the race’s return to the calendar was only confirmed last year with a surprise announcement of a Grand Prix in Austin, Texas. The race is preliminary scheduled for June 17th. Whitmarsh said conquering F1 in America was a five-year challenge, with the US GP due to be hosted at Austin for at least ten years. “F1 hasn’t had to sell itself in the past; the fans have come to us. But there’s lots of competition in the entertainment business,” he continued. “ We have to conquer America – that’s a five-year programme. We’ve got to be on the east coast and the west coast. “It’s a big enough market and an important enough market to have two races and we should be over there. I have nothing against Texas and I hope it’s a very successful race, but the natural hinterland for us is the east coast and the west coast. “Long Beach and around New York: those are the places where we’re going to create interest in F1.” PIRELLI has decided to stick to its original allocation of the soft and hard compound tyres for the forthcoming British Grand Prix at Silverstone, having examined the possibility of bringing the medium tyre in place of the soft. The medium tyre was raced for the first time in Valencia a week ago, after which Pirelli decided against bringing it to Britain because of the threat of cooler weather. Pirelli also confirmed the tyre compound allocations for the following two Grands Prix, in Germany and Hungary. The German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring will be run on the medium and soft compounds, while the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest will feature the soft and super soft tyres. Pirelli’s motorsport director Paul Hembery explained that the decision to bring the soft and hard to Silverstone was because of the tough nature of the track on tyres and the possibility of a wide range in temperatures. “Silverstone is one of the hard circuits of the season. It’s a very fast circuit, a very aggressive surface and it has an unknown factor because some of the surface has been changed due to the building work,” said Hembery. “It’s also, being England, very variable in terms of weather. This week they were having 30°C, today it’s down to about 15°C. Again from a tyre maker’s point of view, making a compound work in that wide variety of conditions is a big challenge, hence the reason we’ve felt that also offering the soft compound will allow us to operate well in cooler conditions.” Pirelli confirms soft and hard for Silverstone Whitmarsh calls for two US GPs Allocations also announced for Germany and Hungary Sport must work hard to break America he says 12