3-year extension proposed for IndyCar at Long Beach, with possible F1 return afterwards

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The Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach is set to remain part of the Verizon IndyCar Series calendar for a little while longer – but Formula One may now have a way to eventually return there.

The Long Beach (Calif.) City Council has proposed a three-year extension with the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach that will see the IndyCars race there through the 2018 season, per the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

However, the Press-Telegram also reports that the city will indeed open the event up for bidding, meaning that F1 could come back to the Beach after racing there from 1976 to 1983.

The proposed extension still needs to be confirmed in open session; the city’s current contract with the GPALB runs through next summer.

“This is precisely what we wanted,” GPALB president/CEO Jim Michaelian said to the Press-Telegram. “They have every right to explore other options, but by the same token we have the certainty of conducting the event through 2018. That’s important because we have lots of sponsorship agreements.”

Chris Pook, who has been the point man in F1’s attempt to return to the venerable street circuit, was also happy about the decision.

“I’m not knocking the IndyCar race, but Formula One will bring the economic value the city enjoys,” he said.

Pook recently estimated that upgrades to bring the Long Beach circuit to F1 standards would cost a little more than $9 million, and has maintained the stance that staging an F1 race would not be as costly as some may expect.

He re-iterated that belief to the Press-Telegram, saying: “We wouldn’t be talking about this if it wasn’t financially successful.”

This year’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach opens up NBCSN’s 2014 IndyCar coverage on Sunday, April 13 at 4 p.m. ET. A full TV schedule can be found here.