Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A1GP Adding Canada & Patrick Carpentier as new 2009 Finale!?, Gil De Ferran Returning to IndyCar? & VS. IndyCar Lovefest Begins!

First, I wanted to quickly elaborate on yesterday's mention of the VERSUS additional promotion for the IndyCar Series. Last night was (the beginning of?) an IndyCar love fest as far as on-screen graphics go. Every single time coverage (of NHL and the WEC re-broadcast) came back from a commercial the embedded Vs. logo became a colored animated logo with an Indy car racing across the screen and then text: "IndyCar Series starts April 5th on Vs."

In addition to that was an animated box randomly within the coverage to promote 3 upcoming live events for Vs. 1 was PBR, 1 was WEC and the 3rd was IndyCar complete with title-text "IndyCar Series - Grand Prix of St. Petersburg - April 5th on Vs." I think in about 4-5 hours of NHL and WEC-replay I must have seen upwards of 25 IndyCar animations/plugs. Congratulation IndyCar Series; you have truly found a broadcasting partner!

Out of a few news sources in Canada, we are learning that it looks like A1GP is taking the chance to snag up the open slot at Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve when Formula 1 vacated it. The shocking thing about the story is that A1GP is trying to get this done for the current season on June 7th 2009; as in the current season that currently has 2 races remaining.

The good news for Canadian fans is that from the reports it sounds like A1GP will be making sure Team Canada has an entry for the race and will likely have Patrick Carpentier in the car. Team Canada hasn't competed in A1GP this season, but competed in all the previous seasons; so it will be great to see their return.

While I think it is a great move for A1GP to be adding a circuit (hopefully for their future as well) I believe adding a new finale in June is a bad idea. #1 There are only 3 months until that date, #2 June 7th is well into the Formula 1, IndyCar, NASCAR, GP2, LMS, ALMS, everything else seasons that A1GP should not be competing with. Obviously summer is the only time they can realistically go to Canada, but I think this is a desperate move since losing Indonesia and Mexico City both to incompetence on their own and track promoter's parts.

A1GP's schedule started in September/October and will now end in June, meaning the season now spans 10 months, but with only 8 events! That's roughly 1 event every 40 days, not good I say, no one will truly get involved as a follower to a series that spread out, not to mention the drivers themselves will become even more disinclined to participate full time.

The brilliance of competition by nationality is to keep it away from the participants day-jobs, like the Olympics in hockey and World Baseball Classic are doing. A1GP can never truly be the World Cup of Motorsport if it continues to try and having races during the major Series' seasons, not to mention having races on the same days as those series. What A1GP needs to do is get a race back in the U.S. in California or Florida, back in Mexico City at Autodromo Rodriguez and get to Brazil, back to New Zealand, all places that can have races during the winter. 8 races in 10 months is not something, I believe, even the most hardcore racing enthusiast will swallow.

All that aside I believe this part of the report strikes me the most as interesting:

"Unlike the Canadian Grand Prix in F1, which was organized by Normand Legault with the three levels of government, the A1 Grand Prix series will be the promoter of the race in Montreal."

Lastly we've all heard the rumors, over a few years now, that Gil De Ferran was always eying a return to IndyCar but we now get some actual word from Gil himself confirming his interest.

"I would certainly like to grow the team and given my, to say the least, emotional ties with IndyCar racing, I would love to run an IndyCar at some point in the future."

Of course no date/timetable or anything solid is done or mentioned, but its great to hear that Gil wants to return; and I don't know a person out there that wouldn't welcome a new team and surely the return of the 2003 Indianapolis 500 winner.

1 comment:

Pat W said...

A1GP needs to visit Montreal, and Montreal needs a big international-class open wheel event. If it's not F1 and it's not IRL then it has to be A1 - but for them, this June is a stupid stupid idea.

Make it 2010.

(Good to hear Versus are pushing IRL so hard)