Fri, Sep 23, 2005 - Page 23 News List

Formula One set to return to Indianapolis next year


Formula One will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway next year despite the fiasco surrounding June's boycotted race, but the event's long-term future is uncertain.

Speedway officials announced on Wednesday it will host the US Grand Prix for a seventh consecutive year on July 2 next year.

The race was in jeopardy because only six drivers competed in the June 19 race after seven teams boycotted the event because of safety concerns over their tires.

The contract between F1 and the speedway ends after 2006.

"We'll continue to discuss the future of F1. It's something I want to continue. But I have to focus on the short-term, and that's on an event that's months away," speedway president Joie Chitwood said.

He said despite the uncertainty over the race following the boycott, the speedway never stopped working to prepare for the event, for which IMS spent millions of dollars building a road course through the infield of its 4km oval.

The scheduling of the US GP on July 2 would have it running the same day as the Indy Racing League's event in Kansas City. The IRL and the speedway, both headed by Tony George, have avoided scheduling races on the same weekends since Formula One's 2000 arrival in Indianapolis.

Chitwood said he believed the US GP would be well received on its July date. He said the later date will cut into the track's preparation time for NASCAR's Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in August, but that he anticipated no problems.

He said he could not guarantee a problem-free F1 race next year, but expects those involved to be extra careful.

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