Wednesday, November 19, 2003

GP Saved

I've been quiet lately on the F1 front, but this news is just too good. After much back room wheeling and dealing, the Canadian GP has apparently been saved and will be back on the calendar next season. This is great news, and not just because it happens to be the closest GP to Pittsburgh, and the one where we can get free babysitting!

As a result of these factors, Montreal is the only GP I have attended live. It is astonishingly easy to do this. The race itself is on an island in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, and the only access for ordinary punters is via subway. This, combined with the massive downtown party all GP weekend, means that it is very feasible to just get a hotel room in the city and enjoy yourself.

One interesting thing to watch, however, will be the effect that scheduling will have on the North American races. Traditionally the Canadian GP has been in June and the USGP (in Indianapolis) at the end of September. Next season, however, the two races will be one week apart, both in June. Given the cost of tickets -- several hundred dollars for a full weekend -- it seems that the two races may end up cannibalizing each other's spectator base. While the Canadian GP has regularly filled its stands, the USGP often seems to have empty seats. If I were Tony George, I'd be a little bothered by this turnaround in the schedule, and what it will mean for my revenue.