Formula 1

Why city officials say F1 Chicago race is unlikely

Officials have indicated the Formula One racing franchise had been in early talks with the city of Chicago for a potential street race

NBC Universal, Inc.

Formula 1 filed trademark applications for "Grand Prix of Chicago" and similar names on Jan. 19, according to U.S. patent and trademark office records.

While this could mean the franchise is considering a Chicago track, city officials told the Sun-Times that a race downtown is unlikely and indicated that initial talks between F1 and the city have already been held.

"I'm told that F1 typically requires a 10-year minimum deal," Brian Hopkins, alderman for the second ward, said. And that appears to be non-negotiable. The conversation [with the city] did not get much past that."

The city currently has a three-year deal with NASCAR for downtown street races, and Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) said he doesn't think Chicago could handle F1 in addition to that contract.

"It would have to be one or the other," Reilly said.

Hopkins agreed that building out the track would be harder than it seems.

"What we did with NASCAR, welding manhole covers and smoothing over potholes and calling it a track — that doesn't work with F1," Hopkins said. "More complicated, thus higher price tag."

F1 has increased its presence in the United States in recent years, introducing the Miami Grand Prix in 2022 and the Las Vegas Grand Prix the following year to build off success of the Netflix docuseries, "Drive to Survive."

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