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Whitmarsh: We need North America

NEWS STORY
06/10/2009

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has slammed the decision to take F1 to countries such as Korea while North America remains absent from the calendar.

This year, for the first time since 1958, F1 hasn't made the trip to the spiritual home of the motor car, North America. However, Abu Dhabi is soon to host its maiden Grand Prix while Korea is scheduled to host a round of the World Championship in 2010.

While Indianapolis never truly won over F1 fans, a situation not helped by the debacle that was the 2005 United States Grand Prix when only 6 drivers took part, Montreal has long been one of the most popular events on the calendar. However, the usual rows over money meant that Canada and the United States were dropped in favour of Istanbul, Valencia and Singapore.

Whitmarsh is under no illusion, instead of taking the sport to ever more exotic locations, the powers that be should be concentrating on the traditional events and in particular North America.

"Asked about the prospect of racing in Korea, he said: "We're meant to be doing it for the fans and other people. My personal opinion is that we've got other priorities, we've go to act in North America. There shouldn't be question marks over Montreal, we should be prepared to sacrifice a normal week and get to Montreal.

"We want to make sure we crack North America," he continued. "It's got a big market. I don't think we should be so arrogant as to expect them to pay us good money to go there.

"I think we messed it up so badly in the past we should be saying 'if necessary we'll come there for free and we'll work with you to develop the North American audience'."

Referring specifically to the plan to race in Korea next year, the Englishman said: "We hear stories it's four or five hours from anywhere, there's no infrastructure, no hotels, no one can get there. It's going to make it difficult for fans and difficult for media."

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