It is a question of 'when' rather than 'if' Formula 1 returns to North America in the near future – that is the conviction of McLaren-Mercedes team principal Ron Dennis.
Following Indianapolis' disappearance from the annual calendar ahead of the 2008 campaign, and governing body the FIA dropping the Canadian Grand Prix off the schedule in 2009, next year will mark the first time in half a century that the continent will not welcome the sport.
That is a move that has not gone down well with teams, particularly the manufacturers involved in F1, for whom North America is a highly lucrative market. Despite numerous attempts by organisers of both races to get their events re-instated, thus far no compromise has been reached – not, Dennis is adamant, for any want of trying on the part of the teams.
“There shouldn't be anybody who feels we are turning our backs on North America,” the 61-year-old told the Associated Press
. “We are really trying hard to find the model that works – we just haven't found a solution yet.
“That's not to say we're going to give up on it, [and] we definitely expect to be back in North America within the next three years.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Dennis' protégé and the top flight's recently-crowned, youngest-ever world champion Lewis Hamilton – who secured his maiden grand prix victory around Montreal's iconic Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 2007, before going on to make it back-to-back triumphs a week later at Indy.
“[They're] great memories for myself,” the 23-year-old acknowledged. “It's always an amazing show when I go there (North America). It's just a buzz, really. I hope we can get it back at some stage; I would love to race there again.”