FIA president, Jean Todt, says that F1 returning to Indianapolis would be very good for the sport because it “has all the ingredients”.
Todt, who is in Indianapolis to attend tomorrow’s 104th running of the Indy 500, spent the morning at IMS and in the company of Roger Penske, who bought the hallowed facility, along with the IndyCar Series, last November.
The IMS road course hosted Formula 1’s U.S. Grand Prix from 2000 through ’07, before the event went on hiatus. When F1 returned to America, in 2012, it raced at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, TX where it has remained ever since.
However, the U.S. GP, along with the other North and South American F1 races, have fallen victim this year to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Asked by Motorsport.com if a potential return to Indianapolis is something the FIA would support, Todt replied: “Well you know the responsibility of the calendar is with the commercial rights holder, but clearly Indianapolis has all the ingredients of a Formula 1 venue, all the facilities.
“Roger Penske and his group have taken the lead, and I was very impressed with what I saw this morning. All the improvements have been done in a very short time; Roger has already achieved quite a lot with facilities that were already very impressive.
“Indianapolis is a kind of Silicon Valley of motor racing in the U.S. so of course if the Formula 1 commission proposed to have a race at Indianapolis it would be very good for Formula 1.”
Asked if he and Penske had discussed the new rules package for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and WEC, in light of growing speculation that Team Penske will run ‘works’ LMDh Prototypes at Le Mans in 2022/23, Todt responded: “It’s not something we directly discussed but clearly the agreement that was done by ACO with IMSA – it’s very good to have decided this agreement.
“Hopefully it will generate more interest from teams which could then decide to compete in the highest category of the new regulations. I feel it would be great. Specifically about Roger Penske, he has delivered some amazing achievements in motor racing, and to have his input in endurance racing [in Europe] would be absolutely sensational. But I hope that some more U.S. teams will join WEC in the future.”
On a more general note, regarding motorsport’s restart during the fallout from the pandemic, Todt stated: “I think it’s remarkable and commendable to see all the efforts that have been done in different championships – in Formula 1, in Formula E, in endurance, in IndyCar and all motorsport categories – to make motor racing alive again at this time.
“The easy solution would be to wait until life is back to normal, but we don’t know when it will be. So it’s essential to restart and I commend all the work that has been done, including of course at Indianapolis.”