So as we have recently learned, there is a 90% likelihood the IZOD IndyCar Series will be racing in China during the 2012 season. The upcoming race at Motegi will be the final time the IZOD IndyCar Series will visit Japan for some time. While I will be the first to admit, Twin Ring Motegi was not a very good oval track layout—Japan is a fan base who deserve more respect.
From the early days of the “IRL” to today, Japanese makes have supplied engines for teams in the IZOD IndyCar Series. From Infiniti the luxury brand of Nissan, to Toyota Racing Development’s (TRD) dominance of three seasons, to Honda being the exclusive powerplant supplier through this season. Even before the 1997 season, Japanese makers have been supplying engines for teams in other forms of open wheel racing for decades.
The Chinese on the other hand, have supplied very little other than some assorted cheaply made items over the years. The Communist government of China, is new to making automobiles. One of the biggest brands currently in China happens to be the GM owned Buick. Somewhat ironic considering how un-popular GM brands have been with American consumers of recent.
I honestly feel like the series is making a MASSIVE MISTAKE, should they race in China and not Japan. Japan has a loyal and dedicated fan base already. While China has more people, the nation has many problems for hosting an American based series. For starters, the IZOD IndyCar Series most loyal fan base lives in Indiana. How many residents of Indiana since 1995 have lost their jobs—their companies closed the plant, and moved to China? Is this what you want to reward? A nation that has worked tirelessly to economically crush industrialized democracies in North America and Europe?
Much of the World’s current economic problems can easily be connected to Chinese currency manipulation. (Currency manipulation explained here) Is this the behavior we should reward? One that has destroyed the life of hard working American fans–who now can no longer afford to support the series due to tougher times?
Just a decade ago China held members of the United States Military captive, with a tense effort by the U.S. State Department to gain their release from China. (CNN April 4, 2001) All of this was quickly forgotten by most Americans following September 11th a few months later. I did not forget this!
Also could a stop for the IZOD IndyCar Series in Communist China, be like a band or artist playing in South Africa during the later years of apartheid? During the 1980’s the UN had a “Cultural boycott of South Africa” for their horrific human rights record. Would INDYCAR be in more hot water racing in China? At least during the South African boycott artists who did play in South Africa, could make anti-apartheid statements during their shows. Do you think the Chinese government—noted for their extreme censorship—would dare permit many “American” references from being used?
The words “liberty”, “democracy” and “freedom” are all words that can get you in hot water there. Heck, Americans got in trouble for trying to take pics in Tiananmen Square with the U.S. flag during the Olympics. What are the chances sponsors like the U.S. National Guard will be allowed on the livery of their entry in China? Or what if a team has a name with the word ”Liberty” would they be banned? Will Robin Miller end up a prisoner for daring to speak the truth?
Sure F1 sees no problems visiting these kind of places, but they have a leader who partakes in NAZI themed bondage—that should say all you need to know about their stance.
Japan has plenty of good road courses in the nation that would result in amazing crowds (who would have more money to spend than the Chinese), and put on great competitive races. I just think it is disrespectful of Japanese and American fans to have China as the series stop in Asia. Sure the few owners might make a great deal of cash on this, but how will this help ratings in North America?
So I personally hope China does not happen, it is better that way.
One country that may end up with a race in 2013 is Mexico. (Thanks @Indy44 for the link). Sure Mexico is not a perfect nation by any means either. However, they have a more important role with trade between the U.S. and Canada. Mexico has produced competitors for INDYCAR over the years. It has an established fan base, and it is not going to be a 2AM green flag like China would be.
Honestly, if the IZOD IndyCar Series wants more foreign events—Latin America, and Canada, not China should be the focus. The series will never be a globe trotter, there already is an open wheel series for that. Not that I would object to a race in Japan, or one in Europe. (Streets of Ireland would be an awesome event, but that is for another time). The series bread and butter lies in North & South America as well as Japan. Mexico makes great sense, China—makes none!