Long Beach Grand Prix confirms cancellation of its 2020 event

IndyCar Long Beach finale
Brian Cleary/Getty Images
1 Comment

The Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach officially was canceled Wednesday and won’t be rescheduled for the 2020 season.

Race organizers confirmed in a statement that they were unable to move the IndyCar race, which originally was scheduled for April 17-19. The statement also said organizers were focused on holding the race’s 46th edition in 2021.

IndyCar had announced the cancellation of the Long Beach Grand Prix last Friday as part of the reaction to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, but race organizers had held out hope of postponing the event, possibly sandwiching it between IndyCar races at Portland and Laguna Seca in September.

The Long Beach Grand Prix had been held in the spring for 44 consecutive years, starting with Formula One (1976-83), then Champ Car (1984-07) and IndyCar (2008-19).

“Over the past few days, we have actively pursued the possibility of rescheduling the Acura Grand Prix to a later date this year with the City of Long Beach, the Convention Center, the NTT IndyCar Series, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and our other race sanctioning bodies,” Jim Michaelian, president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association, said in a release. “We are very disappointed that we were unable to put something together for all our loyal fans and valued clients, but trying to reassemble all the elements that have made the Long Beach event such a success does not appear feasible for 2020.

“As a result, our attention will now be focused on planning the 46th Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 16-18, 2021.”

The race is offering refunds or credit toward tickets for next year’s race.

The race weekend also featured an IMSA race. In a statement, IMSA confirmed receiving notification from Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach organizers that the race had been canceled.

“IMSA and the event promoter exhausted every option to conduct this race, but many factors made it impossible including our scheduled races in the second half of the year,” the statement read. “We all look forward to returning to the iconic street circuit in April of 2021.  IMSA is continuing to work with partners for possible alternative events to run a full 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.”

Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and Formula One embrace the United States

Verstappen Perez United States
Fatih Aktas/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
0 Comments

Last week, Red Bull Racing revealed its new car, the RB19, and a new relationship with Ford Motor Co. in an event in New York City complete with drivers Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez and team principal Christian Horner.

It’s the first Formula 1 team to launch in the United States for 2023, but even that small move of the needle reflects a major shift in the attitude of both F1’s management and their teams – and the extent to which the American audience has fully embraced the sport.

“It’s something fantastic and unique, for the sport to be able to break it into the U.S,” Perez told NBC Sports. “The market is huge and it’s a huge opportunity for everyone involved, for the drivers, for the team. It’s always a huge market.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Sergio Perez finished fourth in the Unites States Grand Prix, but he was first with the fans.  – Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

In 2023, Formula 1 will race three times in the United States and five times in North America. The Circuit of the Americas will host their 11th consecutive race in October before heading south to Mexico City. Miami returns for a second time in May on a temporary street course around the Hard Rock cafe and the third addition is in downtown Las Vegas in November.

With the Canadian Grand Prix on the schedule for June and the Brazilian Grand Prix in November, American fans are now in the ballpark of Europeans, who have eight events on the continent and one in England.

In 2022, Verstappen won every race in North America. He was kept from sweeping the hemisphere only by George Russell, who won in Brazil. That fact is less remarkable when one considers that Verstappen won 15 times in the season – nearly two-thirds of the races on the schedule.

By the time Formula arrived in Austin, Texas, for Round 20 of 23, Verstappen already had wrapped up his second consecutive championship.

“Sometimes it can be hard to replicate the season, but I think it’s the same as with the car, right? You always try to improve it,” Verstappen told NBC Sports. “And I always look at the little details that even when you have had a good race, you could have done better. And then of course you also learn from the bad races. So we always try to look for these little improvements and general experience you gain year after year.

“You try to do better, but of course it also depends a lot on the package you have.”

Verstappen Perez United States
Max Verstappen United States Grand Prix win was one of 15 for the drivers and 17 for Red Bull.
(Gongora / NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now Verstappen’s thoughts inevitably will turn to establishing a dynasty, and America will again play a pivotal role.

“I just enjoy what I’m doing,” Verstappen said.  “After the years in Formula One, when you have to be on top of your game and you gain a lot on your experience – in that sense nothing really can get to you anymore. Every year you just try to do the best you can. But a lot depends on the material around you. It’s always a bit of a guess. Start the season as fit as you can be and be well prepared. But if you don’t have the car, you’re not going to win the championship.”

Perez added two wins to Red Bull’s total, at Monaco and the Marina Bay Street course. With two of the US 2023 races on street courses, Perez hopes to close the gap on Verstappen and potentially be his chief rival for the championship.

“The strategy is clear; it is to maximize the potential of the car – and we believe we have a good car, but how good?,” Perez said “We don’t know what the competition is doing. We just give our best in building this car and we hope that it’s good enough to get us to win races.

“I think we have to work together as a team. At the same time. We both want to win the championship. It’s just having good compromise. The competition will be really strong out there, so we really need everything we possibly can get from each other.”

Formula One returns to the United States for Round 6 and the Miami Grand Prix on May 7.