10 venues where F1 has raced the US GP
F1 has struggled to find a permanent home in the United States for the longest time. While the country has been a big contributor to the motorsports community for over half a century now, F1 never truly tapped with the American audience in the past. Back then, to push the sport forward in the country, it was hosted at several venues across the US, an idea that never truly worked.
The sport's ties with the US, however, have changed drastically over the past few years. The acclaimed Netflix series Drive to Survive has especially served as an icebreaker, catapulting the sport to limitless popularity. Finally, F1 has connected to an amazed American audience, who wants to know everything about motorsports. Consequently, there will be three Grands Prix scheduled to take place in the US from 2023 onwards.
The Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, has led the charge so far in recent years in ensuring the American crowd experiences F1. While the Miami GP has already made its debut this year, Las Vegas will mark its return by acting as the penultimate race for 2023.
Austin, however, is not the only track where the US GP has taken place. Over the years, since the foundation of F1, several other tracks have also taken over the responsibility of hosting the US GP. While some of them are still very active in other motorsports events, Formula 1 cars have not raced there in years.
Many, however, believe that just like Las Vegas' return, one of the others might make a return too in the coming years. So, let's take a look at 10 locations where F1 has raced the US GP:
#1 COTA is an important destination for F1
COTA, or the Circuit of The Americas, has proven to be the most stable base for F1 to race in the US. After the controversial failure of the 2005 US GP that caused great embarrassment, the sport was not due to stay long in the country. Consequently, after 2007 saw the last US GP, no race took place in the 'Land of The Free' for the next five years.
The then-Formula 1 president Bernie Ecclestone only brought back the GP in 2012 but at the newly-built Austin track. Based around the beautiful city of Austin, the venue proved to be a lucky charm for single-seater racing. The 56-lapper is 5.513 km long (3.43 miles) and resembles Silverstone through its many turns and corners.
Racing is highly appreciated on this well-built track where overtaking is comparatively easier. Thankfully, as the number of spectators continues to increase over the years, this circuit will stay on the calendar till at least 2026.
#2 The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a historical venue for motorsports
IMS, or Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is one of the oldest and most famous race tracks in the world. The 4.194 km long (2.6 miles) circuit is widely known for its clockwise running oval, making it one of a kind. In fact, a win on this track is considered racing venerate.
The Indianapolis 500 was a part of the world championship from 1950 to 1960. Due to its lack of popularity amongst the drivers, it was removed later on. The track only made a comeback in 2000 then and continued its troubled run till 2007. While the circuit is highly appreciated where many good races have occurred, the 2005 controversy took it off the calendar.
A tire safety concern (cars with Michelin tires) arose as many cars crashed during practice and qualifying. Despite a meeting between the organizers and the team leads, no conclusion was reached. Consequently, Michelin could not guarantee driver safety and seven teams withdrew from the race. Only six cars started the race, making it a major controversy in the F1 world.
#3 Watkins Glen hosted the most US GPs
Watkins Glen, a circuit close to New York, was once a permanent home to F1. After the organizers failed countless times to try and make the US audience like Formula 1, they found their solution in the Glen. It was on the calendar from 1961 to 1980 and hosted 20 Grands Prix.
This circuit was once a highly valued track that saw many memorable moments in the sport's history. The venue hosted the likes of Jackie Stewart and Jim Clark, saw some great battles, and even acted as a championship decider in 1974 and 1975.
What started out as a decent track, however, slowly lost its value over the years. The lack of security, misbehaving fans, poor facilities, and a bumpy surface cost the venue its place on the calendar.
#4 Long Beach hosted a very well-liked US GP
Long Beach is one of the most popular destinations to have hosted the US GP from 1976 to 1983. It made the sport a big hit with Californians specifically.
It ran under the name 'United States Grand Prix West' to complement the season-concluder Watkins Glen (East). The track expands to about 269.21 km (167.28 miles) and consists of 85 laps even for the current IndyCar calendar.
Despite its proximity to Hollywood glitz, likeability, and good weather, the GP said goodbye to F1 too soon. Race organizers, however, found IndyCar to be a much cheaper and more logical investment for a beachside track.
#5 The Detroit Grand Prix salvaged the city's image
The Detroit GP also hosted one of the F1 races in America. It was inaugurated in 1982 and was the third American race on the calendar alongside Long Beach and Las Vegas.
The organizers wanted the race to simply present the city of Detroit from a newly rejuvenated perspective. By 1988, their goals were achieved and the need for an F1 race in the city was over.
The 4 km (2.5 miles) long street track with 22 turns, however, was never a big hit with the F1 community. Drivers criticized the dry, humid, and appalling conditions during the race. The circuit was also not very appealing and even broke up during the 1988 race under intense heat and humidity.
#6 Phoenix city brought back the US GP
Post Detroit, Dallas, and Las Vegas's short-term dalliance with F1, the sport needed to find another location. As Phoenix was selected to boost its appeal as a tourist destination, the term 'United States Grand Prix' made a comeback for the first time since 1980.
The track was once again unpopular with the drivers, and the view from the grandstands was not great either. The 3.8 km long (2.36 miles) circuit was made up of 2nd gear, 90-degree corners, and provided no driving excitement.
After hosting the race from 1989 to 1991, Bernie Ecclestone was left unhappy with the Grand Prix setup. The race was canceled for 1992, with no real explanation ever given.
#7 Caesars Palace Grand Prix was the most popular GP in America
Held in the parking lot of the famous Caesars Palace hotel in Las Vegas, this GP is possibly the most well-known American race from the past. Joining the schedule to replace the Watkins Glen event, the track hosted an F1 race for two years – 1981 and 1982.
The event was a big failure overall, with the hotel incurring a loss from the race. The flat, repetitive, and parking lot-bound track was also a major disappointment for the drivers. Ridiculed as one of the worst tracks in F1 history, the GP could not live up to the standards that Long Beach had set.
The races were held in scorching heat, with two world champions crowned consecutively at the location in both years. Las Vegas, however, did not make a return post-1982 before only being renewed on the calendar for the 2023 season.
#8 The Dallas Grand Prix provided an iconic moment
The Dallas Grand Prix held only one F1 race in 1984. The temporary street circuit was 3.9 km long (2.42 miles) and consisted of 68 laps. The design was again a disappointment with appalling track conditions.
The temperature reached 100°F (37.8°C) during the qualifying and race, where the tarmac crumbled and the track became undrivable. Emergency repairs were carried on until 30 minutes before the race started, but the pathway still deteriorated later on.
Nigel Mansell famously pushed his car over the line in this race, collapsing from heat and exhaustion just before reaching the finish line. Due to obvious driver safety and track concerns, the GP was dropped later on.
#9 The Sebring International Raceway also hosted one race
Sebring hosted the US GP in 1959 as the final round of the season. The 8.66 km long (5.38 miles) track was famed for its high-speed layout, hosting several races before the F1 one. Russian-born Alec Ulmann staged its first Formula 1 race where the renowned Bruce McLaren won his first-ever GP.
While the GP was a success with a climactic ending, the race's isolated location did not help. It was not a success for the hosts, however, where two American drivers had to pay out of their pockets to save face for their country.
#10 Riverside also hosted an F1 race
Alec Ulmann tried to revive F1 in the country again by hosting the Grand Prix in 1960, this time on the opposite coast (of Sebring). Riverside was about 5.271 km long (3.28 miles) and focused on the curvy nature of the gulley, which led the track uphill (it was on hilly terrain).
Stirling Moss won its first and only edition. The GP, however, was not a success for the financers just like the Sebring race with only 20,000 people showing up. This time, Ulmann paid out of his pocket for the appearance fees and the winner's prize. With Watkins Glen found to be the next destination, Riverside never hosted the sport again.
So, these were the 10 destinations that have hosted the US GP. While some of them were bigger and more successful, most did not last for too long. Much, however, is expected of the US GP in the coming years.