|Phoenix Grand Prix Circuit|
|Active from||1989 - 1991|
|Major events||Formula One|
|Length||2.312 mi (3.72 km)|
|Lap record||1:21.434 (Ayrton Senna, McLaren-Honda, 1991, Formula One)|
The Formula One United States Grand Prix was held on the Phoenix street circuit in Phoenix, Arizona between 1989 and 1991. It was held in downtown by the Phoenix Civic Plaza, prior to the construction of the America West Arena, and the state's baseball stadium, Bank One Ballpark (now known as Chase Field). The United States Grand Prix lasted in Phoenix for three years, but was ultimately dropped due to poor fan turnout. There were no further Formula 1 races in the US until the Indianapolis Motor Speedway first held a Grand Prix in 2000.
The United States Grand Prix was first held in Phoenix on June 4, 1989. Ayrton Senna took pole in his McLaren-Honda but suffered an electronic failure a little over halfway through the race. The scorching heat of the Phoenix desert made it a nightmare on the teams and drivers and of the 26 cars that started the race, only six finished. Alain Prost, Senna's teammate, won ahead of Riccardo Patrese and Phoenix native Eddie Cheever. Fourth-placed Christian Danner scored what turned out to be his final points-scoring finish. His Rial team also would never score points in Formula One competition again.
In an attempt to beat the scorching Arizona heat, the event was moved to become the season opener the next year, held on March 11, 1990. Senna recovered from his near miss in '89 to win both the pole position and the Grand Prix. Jean Alesi finished 2nd, making his mark as a driver to watch in the future as he pressured the Brazilian world champion in a Tyrrell, a car that was average at best compared to the McLaren. Alesi's teammate, Satoru Nakajima, also scored a point in that race The event was the only time a Minardi made it onto the front row of the grid, as Pierluigi Martini qualified 2nd behind Gerhard Berger.
The last United States Grand Prix held in Phoenix was on March 10, 1991. Senna took another victory. Again reliability was a factor with only nine cars running at the finish. For a second straight season both Tyrrells finished in the points; Stefano Modena, who had replaced the Ferrari-bound Alesi, in fourth heading Nakajima in fifth.
The race, which was already in severe trouble financially, was dealt a death blow when word arose that a local ostrich festival had drawn more people than the Grand Prix. The three races were reported to have drawn fewer than 50,000 paid admissions combined.
- ↑ "Prost Gains 1st Victory of Year;Wins Phoenix Grand Prix", The Washington Post, 5 June 1989
|Formula One circuits|
Former Circuits: A1-Ring (Österreichring) • Adelaide • Aida • Ain-Diab • Aintree • Anderstorp • AVUS • Brands Hatch • Bremgarten • Buenos Aires • Caesars Palace • Clermont-Ferrand • Dallas • Detroit • Dijon • Donington Park • East London • Estoril • Fuji • Imola • Indianapolis • Jacarepaguá • Jarama • Istanbul • Jerez • Kyalami • Le Mans • Long Beach • Magny-Cours • Mexico City • Monsanto • Montjuïc • Mont-Tremblant • Mosport Park • Nivelles-Baulers • Nürburgring • Oporto • Paul Ricard • Pedralbes • Pescara • Phoenix • Reims • Riverside • Rouen • Sebring • Watkins Glen • Zandvoort • Zeltweg • Zolder