The term "grand prix" gets thrown around a lot. It typically applies to Formula One, but Indy uses it too (as does MotoGP and Formula Three). The difference (in nomenclature, anyway) is typically that while an F1 grand prix uses the host country's name, an Indy street race uses the specific location's name. Take Long Beach, for example.

The celebrated street race in Southern California has been a staple of the American racing calendar since 1975, when it started out with the bonkers Formula 5000 series. The following year it switched to F1, under whose auspices it ran as the United States Grand Prix West for eight seasons before switching to CART and then to the IndyCar Series of which it is still part today, known since 1986 as the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

There was talk recently of the race switching back to F1 – joining the United States Grand Prix in Austin, TX, and the still-up-in-the-air Grand Prix of America proposed for New Jersey on an expanded F1 calendar – but those prospects have now been dismissed. At least, that is, for now.

In a recent meeting, the Long Beach City Council unanimously voted to extend the contract with the IndyCar Series for a further four years, guaranteeing that methanol will be the fuel of choice for racing around the venerable street circuit at least until 2018. After that, however, all bets are off. According to ESPN, the council has instructed city management to solicit proposals for switching the race to another series after 2018.

That could mean staying with Indy, switching back to F1 or even going with another series entirely. The nascent Formula E championship, for example, is set to race on the streets of Los Angeles next year, but there's no telling how much popularity it could gather in the following years before Long Beach needs to make the call.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      TrippulG3
      • 7 Months Ago
      I'd love to see F1 come to Long Beach, if for no other reason than it'd only be about a half-hour drive for me to go watch it. Would be interesting to see if they keep the configuration of the current IndyCar circuit, or if they went back to the original F1 layout (cutting out the section with the fountain, and having the northern straight be on Ocean instead of Seaside). Part of me feels like it's too small of a course to properly host a modern F1 race, though. In the current configuration, the IndyCars are lapping it in around 1m09s or so. Quickest lap times on the F1 calendar are in Monaco, at around 1m14s, and I think it's generally agreed that anything much quicker than that is undesireable...you have an unscheduled pitstop, and you're pretty much guaranteed to go a lap down, there's constant traffic everywhere on the course, etc. Will be interesting to see how this plays out.
      Echelon Bob
      • 7 Months Ago
      Why not both?
      carguy1701
      • 7 Months Ago
      I'll believe it when I see it. I don't think F1 has any interest in SoCal and you can bet the ecotards would protest an F1 race held in Cali.
        TrippulG3
        • 7 Months Ago
        @carguy1701
        I doubt there'd be any protests to be honest. In the current 2014 formula, the cars are covering the same race distance in only about 1 or 2% longer of a period of time, all while using a third less fuel compared to a year ago. That's a serious jump in efficiency, and as the season progresses, I have no doubt that we'll see race times get closer or maybe even surpass last year's. If the FIA was smart, they'd be trumpeting info like that from the rooftops to promote the sport, but apparently they've got more important things to do.
        bchreng
        • 7 Months Ago
        @carguy1701
        Not really. Smaller, more efficient, turbo-charged engines mated to a KERS hybrid system would please the "ecotards" here.
        Rotation
        • 7 Months Ago
        @carguy1701
        It's hilarious to see the anti-California people show their ignorance. They are far worse than any Californian by now in their level of groupthink. Long Beach is in SoCal. Even NorCal isn't all full of greenies, and SoCal is no more tree-hugging than Texas.
      EZen
      • 7 Months Ago
      Thank God! Long Beach is a horrible track and in no way suitable for an F1 car.
      dadslife83
      • 7 Months Ago
      The fine print on this article is... Toyota is moving to Texas and we are losing our sponsor. I don't want the city to lose money on the venture but it has become a signature racing event in America/California. Why change? Here's a novel idea, pay IndyCar with the F1 scale.
      RGT881
      • 7 Months Ago
      Given that F1 is a really unfunny joke with new regulations and the astronomical fees it charges to race venue hosts, yes why would anyone one with reason pursue FIA attention. They are lower politicians, every last one of them.
      Rotation
      • 7 Months Ago
      IndyCar has used ethanol for almost 10 years now. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IndyCar_Series#Ethanol