The Monticello Motor Club circuit
The Monticello Motor Club, situated at the foot of the Catskill Mountains, is making an offer to host the United States Grand Prix from 2012 onwards. They are believed to be indiscussions with Bernie Ecclestone already about the offer.
The President of the Monticello Motor Club, Ari Strauss, has written a letter to all members, as it is a private club at the moment, regarding this issue:
A few months ago, [MMC chairman] Bill McMichael and I met with
Bernie Ecclestone, President/CEO of Formula One Management (FOM),
and discussed the terms for an exclusive 10-year United States
Grand Prix to be hosted at MMC.
Shortly thereafter, Hermann Tilke, the chief engineer and circuit
designer for F1, spent time at MMC and confirmed that our track
and surrounding properties, with some expansion and minor track
modifications, is an excellent location for a Grand Prix.
Since receiving a letter of understanding from FOM confirming their
hope to bring the U.S. Grand Prix to Monticello, Bill and I have
continued to secure the backing and support of local, state, and
federal politicians and organizations.
If F1 comes to Monticello, our intent is to preserve MMC as, first
and foremost, a private country club. Obviously, demand will
accelerate as well as the initiation fee for new members.
There has already been an offer to host the US Grand Prix, at Jersey State Park. However, this plan was massively flawed, and received no support from locals, groups or the Jersey mayor. While this offer would be better, there are still large problems.
First of all, Monticello Motor Club is a private club. Not just for driving there, but to spectate as well. The last line that I quoted read: “If F1 comes to Monticello, our intent is to preserve MMC as, first and foremost, a private country club. Obviously, demand will accelerate as well as the initiation fee for new members.” This line implies that people will have to become a member (massive subscription I suppose?) to buy tickets, which would be an absolute disaster for F1.
Secondly, the track doesn’t look like it is up to F1 standards. It was designed by Brian Redman, a former F1 driver. While it is 6.59km long, and seems very good for sports cars, it doesn’t appear to be up to F1 standards. Herman Tilke has reccomended changes to the circuit, but it is unclear what. Have a look at the full lap:
And thirdly, it isn’t the New York Grand Prix that Bernie would want. It is a 75 minute drive from Manhattan, which is nothing like the view that we would have got from the Jersey plan.
Again, it looks like a bad plan. We need a proper circuit, in a proper location, and not a private track like Monticello. I still think we should take a look at Watkins Glen.