Is Chicago Revving Up for a Grand Prix? City Official Puts on the Brakes

Rumors are buzzing about the possibility of Formula One hitting the Windy City with a Chicago Grand Prix, marking its first Midwestern pitstop. While nothing is set in stone, a recent report suggests that the race organizers have taken a step forward by filing a trademark for various versions of the name “Chicago Grand Prix.”

According to records from the U.S. patent office, the organizers claimed rights to names like “Formula 1 Chicago Grand Prix” and “Grand Prix Chicago” on January 19. It’s worth noting that trademark filings don’t always pan out as expected, as demonstrated by past examples like Chevrolet’s dormant Cavalier nameplate.

Alderman’s Take: Unlikely Odds for a Chicago F1 Race

Alderman Brian Hopkins poured cold water on the speculations, suggesting that the chances of a Formula One race zooming through Chicago are slim. He shared, “I’m told that F1 typically requires a 10-year minimum deal. And that appears to be non-negotiable. The conversation [with the city] did not get much past that.”

While Formula One officials and the Chicago mayor’s office have remained tight-lipped about the rumors, it’s clear that hosting a Formula One race in Chicago would be no cakewalk. Hopkins emphasized the complexities, stating that the track would need to be longer and considerably more expensive compared to the NASCAR event held in the city in July 2023.

“Turning manhole covers into a track worked for NASCAR, but that approach won’t cut it with F1,” Hopkins explained.

Chicago, famous for its deep-dish pizza rather than racing, witnessed its first street race organized by NASCAR in 2023 around Grant Park. However, a Formula One race would necessitate more intricate planning and resources.

As of now, Formula One’s 2024 calendar doesn’t feature Chicago, indicating that a Grand Prix in the Prairie State is unlikely before 2025 at the earliest. In the current year, three races are scheduled in the United States: the Miami Grand Prix, the USA Grand Prix in Austin, and the Las Vegas Grand Prix, which made a triumphant return in 2023 after a prolonged absence.