It was only last week we were bringing you news of yet another Formula 1 street circuit, with confirmation that the Spanish Grand Prix would be moving to Madrid from 2026. Now, if a series of trademarks filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office are anything to go by, the series could be looking to add even more, further increasing its already significant footprint in the US.
Formula One Licensing, the company that controls all of F1’s trademarks and branding, filed for four trademarks on 19 January, all of them variations on ‘Formula 1 Chicago Grand Prix’. While it’s all very much early days and this is far from a guarantee of a future Chicago Grand Prix, it does pretty much confirm that F1 is at least somewhat seriously exploring options for a street race in the USA’s third-most populous city.
Currently, F1 visits the US three times per season. The United States Grand Prix in Austin is on the calendar until at least 2026, while Miami is contracted until at least 2031 and Las Vegas is looking likely to get another 10 years on top of its initial two-year contract, so there’s a possibility that a Chicago race could be a fourth US-based race in one season, something the sport has never seen before in any country.
Chicago hosted NASCAR’s first-ever top-level street race in 2023, on a waterfront circuit around Grant Park in the city’s downtown. That 2.2-mile track is bumpy, narrow and entirely unsuitable for modern F1 cars, so if the series were to visit the city, the track would likely either be in a different location or modified beyond recognition.
The sport has been flirting with the Windy City for a while, with demo runs organised on its streets by Formula 1 itself in 2019 and Red Bull in 2023.
If a race is indeed in the works, it’ll probably be a good couple of years before we see it happen. F1’s schedule is already confirmed for 2024, and these big street races take months, sometimes years of planning and organisation, of which these trademark filings are very much an early part. Of course, there’s every chance they could come to nothing at all, but it’s clear that the interest is there on F1’s side.