If it's spring, it's time for a fresh rumor that Formula 1 commercial boss Bernie Ecclestone is looking to buy his way back into Long Beach. The World Championship vacated the Southern California street circuit back in 1983, but has been tipped several times to be interested in returning. Suggestions to that effect rose again this week, but the race's management says they are just as much hot air as all the past such rumors have turned out to be.
IndyCar's contract with the city of Long Beach to run a race is scheduled to expire in 2015, and media reports emerged earlier this week that Ecclestone was involved with an investment group looking to buy the race from its current owners, Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe. The president and CEO of the Grand Prix Association of Long Beach, Jim Michaelian, said there was no substance to the rumor.
"This is a story that keeps bouncing around every year or so, despite the fact that the race isn't for sale and there's been no contact between anyone and Kevin about a sale," Michaelian told the Long Beach Press Telegram. "Nothing is happening. You can contemplate all kind of scenarios, but nothing is happening. To keep speculating, playing this what-if game, just encourages more rumors that don't amount to anything."
The Telegram said that Kalkhoven, when asked about the rumors, replied he would only consider a sale if there was "stupid money'' being offered. "Gerry and I are not interested in selling Long Beach," he added.
Kalkhoven and Forsythe have owned the race since they were involved together in the management of the Champ Car World Series. Kalkhoven remains a co-owner of the KV Racing Technology IndyCar team, which fields cars for Tony Kanaan and Simona De Silvestro this year.
"If he [Kalkhoven] was seriously looking at a sale, he wouldn't be pouring resources into his own team,'' Michaelian added.