Well, its finally official. The IZOD IndyCar Series will in fact open the 2010 season in Brazil, but not in Rio as many originally thought, but in São Paulo. Here’s what Terry Angstadt had to say in an article posted at IndyCar.com:
“While our primary focus continues to be building the IZOD IndyCar Series domestically, the race in Brazil affords us a unique opportunity to visit a country that has a huge passion for open-wheel racing. With strong support from our major partner Apex-Brasil, a significant television package from TV Bandeirantes, a large number of drivers from the country and the opportunity for a unique course, it makes sense from both a business and competition standpoint,” said Terry Angstadt, president of the commercial division for the sanctioning Indy Racing League.
So we’re going to race on a street circuit in the city that’s right next to the greatest race course in South America, Interlagos? It makes one wonder what they’re thinking. Is this a logistics thing? A marketing thing? Both? The article has it that Tony Cotman is down in Brazil helping to design the circuit, so even though its a street circuit, it should be a decent course. Perhaps racing on the streets of São Paulo rather than Interlagos is a good thing. It will help differentiate the IndyCar series from F1. Yes, yes, I know. How can you NOT tell the two series apart? Seriously, though, having the Dallara on the same circuit as the F1 cars so that direct comparisons could be done would probably not be the best way to market the series.
Quite honestly, I still can’t bring myself to believe that this is a 100% sure thing yet. Admittedly, the Rio “announcement” was a leak of a contingency article that someone found by clever URL manipulation, and this announcement appears to be the real deal appearing on the IndyCar.com main page, but with such little time to organize and publicize I’m still skeptical. Now the big question is are the rumors of the F1/Bernie-esque sanctioning fees really true? Numbers in the order of $20M+ have been tossed around in the Internet Rumor Mill (aka Twitter and TrackForum), but there’s been no official confirmation of it yet. Let’s hope this turns out as advertised and does make money for both the league and the teams. I’d hate to see another Surfer’s Paradise episode.