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2 Lewis Hamilton 120
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4 Daniel Ricciardo 84
5 Kimi Raikkonen 68
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20 Sergey Sirotkin 0

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2 Ferrari 189
3 Red Bull Renault 134
4 Renault 56
5 Mclaren Renault 40
6 Force India Mercedes 28
7 Toro Rosso Honda 19
8 Haas Ferrari 19
9 Sauber Ferrari 12
10 Williams Mercedes 4

The NJ Grand Prix is going to be spectacular

by Mark J. Cipolloni
Friday, July 5, 2013


One of the vendor areas
On a rainy afternoon in New Jersey I recently got an inside look at the planning for the New Jersey Grand Prix F1 circuit with Chris Pook and the Chief Operating Officer of the event, Dennis Robinson, formerly with the NJ Meadowlands. 

The 3.2-mile circuit runs along the Hudson River waterfront between the towns of Weehawken and West New York in NJ. 

It promises to be the fastest street circuit in the world with a view second only to Monaco and you won't want to miss it.

Pook told me that FIA simulations put the average lap speed 138 to 140 mph, which is bloody quick for a street circuit.

The views of the Manhattan skyline are spectacular and so close it appears you can reach out and touch it.

The views of the Manhattan skyline are spectacular.  COO Dennis Robinson told that they are shooting for 100,000 grandstand seats and suites

Race organizers expect 240,000 people to attend the three-day event which is slated to join the Formula One calendar next year.

Ticket prices for the New Jersey Grand Prix will be sold at an average price of $563 according to UBS.

The Swiss financial services company which sponsors Formula One is behind an initiative to generate $100m of funding for the race as reported by the Daily Telegraph.

Passes for the prestigious Paddock Club will be priced at $4,255 for the race which will be run on a street circuit in front of the Manhattan skyline.

The pit garages and suites are under construction.  The bottom floor will be the F1 team garages and those glass windows you see are removable and will be replaced by garage doors for the event.  The two floors above that will be offices for F1 personnel and media and the third floor Paddock Club suites.  The cars will run from right to left in the top photo as they head for Turn 1.  This is where the standing start will take place - in front of the orange buildings above.  The rest of the year the buildings will be parking garages for the Ferry terminal
Middle portion of the circuit
North end of circuit

The focal point for the circuit is the Port Imperial Ferry Terminal, which is located right across from the garages and where the Start/Finish line will be.  Many thousands of fans coming to the race will be doing so by Ferry and they will be coming through the Port Imperial Terminal, just like thousands of people do everyday going to/from Manhattan to work.

Pook and Robinson are doing extensive work with the Ferry companies to get massive numbers of people across the river to and from New York.  In fact adjacent to the main Port Imperial Ferry building they are building two new platforms where there is now water and more docks for Ferries.

Grandstands will sit on these platforms, and like the garages and suites that will be for Ferry parking the other 48-weeks of the year, the platforms will be used to load and unload Ferry passengers the other 48-weeks of the year.

A lap of the circuit
At the end of the pit straight the cars will make a left-right (Turns 1 and 2) through what is now a parking lot.  After a short straight the cars turn right for Turn 3 and then it is uphill straight at a rock wall of the Palisades Mountain range.  They then turn right through Turn 4, which is a bit like Monaco's Saint Devote, and run up hill along the mountain wall in what feels very similar to Monaco and the run up to Massenet and the Casino.

And the scream of the F1 engines will resonate off the mountain wall and will be heard across the river in Manhattan.  During Friday practice office workers in the high rise buildings in Manhattan are going to look across the river, hear that scream, and say wow.

The 3.2-mile NJ Grand Prix Circuit has a little of Monaco, but it is otherwise like no other in the world

The Turn 5-6 Ess-Bend lead into another fast straight that features more esses (Turns 9-10-11) before reaching the tracks highest elevation.

Then it is a right for turn 12 where the track drops steeply into the left hand 100% throttle sweeper called Turn 13 and down towards the hairpin (Turns 14-15).  It is then 100% throttle along the fastest part of the circuit where the cars will reach over 180 mph.

Braking for the left-hand Turn 18 at the end of that straight will be the best opportunity to pass.  The other good passing zone will be Turn 12 on the top of the mountain.

"The vast majority of the track will be repaved, probably all of it at the end of the day," said Robinson.  It has to meet strict FIA standards.

"The beauty of this circuit is that 35 million people live within an hour, yet not one person lives inside the circuit," said Pook, "they will have full ingress and egress the entire weekend."

Must get it right the first time
"In this business you only get one bite of the Apple," said Pook.  "We must get it right the first year or they won't come back. 

"There are a lot of naysayers, but until they come here and see this event they don't get it.  We send some of the media photos and they say how are they going to possibly make it work."

"You have to come and see it and make your imagination work a bit and the picture then becomes clear."

Multimodal Transportation
Getting people in and out of the circuit will be an exercise in multimodal transportation. This circuit has no parking for cars and no hotels in or near the circuit.  It is expected that many fans will stay in hotels in Manhattan. Fans from across the river and along the NJ waterfront will come in by Ferries.  Others will come in on the Hudson Bergen Light Rail Transit system that runs right down the middle of the circuit.  And others will come in by bus.

But in the part of the country everyone is used to taking mass transportation.  In fact most New Yorkers don't even own cars.

Bernie Ecclestone, now 82, has ruled over the sport in a benevolent, iron-fisted way that has seen him transform a formerly rag-tag operation composed of factional racing tribes into a multibillion-dollar global business empire.  But he was always missing one key piece of the puzzle.

Next year Bernie Ecclestone will finally get a race in the NY/NJ market he has always wanted - the financial capital of the world.  His puzzle will be complete.

Once the date is announced, make your plans for the inaugural event next June.  You won't want to miss it.

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