Grand Prix Of Long Beach Inks Extension With IndyCar, But F1's Return Still Possible
The contract for the Verizon IndyCar Series Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach "will be extended" through '18, but the city "will open up bidding for the event in a move that could bring Formula One back to Southern California," according to Karen Robes Meeks of the Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM. The extension "will have to be confirmed" in a city council open session. LBGP President & CEO Jim Michaelian said he was told that would happen "within a few weeks." He added, "This is precisely what we wanted." Long Beach's current contract with the Grand Prix Association expires June 30, 2015. Chris Pook, who "helped found the Long Beach Grand Prix in 1975, has been hired" by F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone to "bring back the series that ran in Long Beach" from '76-'83. Ecclestone has said that he "intends to bid on the contract if the process is open." Pook said, "I'm not knocking the IndyCar race, but Formula One will bring the economic value the city enjoys" (Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM, 4/3).