The 1989 Detroit Grand Prix will be a round not of the Formula One World Championship but of its American counterpart, the CART/Indycar World Series.
The switch-over was effected very swiftly after the six-year-old event failed to meet FISA’s safety requirements. When a move from Downtown to a purpose-built track on nearby Belle Isle fell through, the organisers refused to build permanent pit facilities and a control tower for the existing street circuit, and took their business elsewhere.
Detroit was never beloved of Grand Prix drivers, but its cancellation nevertheless leaves a serious gap in the Formula One calendar: there will be no United States GP next year for the first time since its inception in 1958.
An Austrian Grand Prix at the Osterreichring had previously been nominated by FISA as its first reserve, and can therefore be expected to return to the series after a year’s absence.
Financial problems have cast a shadow over the Brazilian race, encouraging speculation that Brands Hatch might again be offered the chance to stage a European GP at short notice, as it did in 1983 and 1985. Brands says it would welcome such an opportunity, but has not been approached by FISA.