Chicago Grand Prix update after wild F1 2026 calendar rumours

Thomas Maher
City skyline, Chicago, Lake Michigan, Illinois.

F1 has registered trademarks for a Chicago Grand Prix with the United States Patent Office.

Rumours emerged on Monday that a contract has been signed to race in Chicago in 2026, but these rumours are understood to be wide of the mark.

The months-long rumours that F1 is set to add a Chicago Grand Prix to the calendar escalated early this week, with an F1-related social media account claiming a contract has been signed to bring racing to the city from 2026 onward.

Chicago Grand Prix speculation shot down

According to the X/Twitter account FastestPitstop, which claims to have inside knowledge of negotiations between city authorities and F1, the decision to race in Chicago has already been made for 2026.

The account claimed that “Event planning is nearing completion, and with Chicago building a new 4 billion dollar stadium, it is expected to bring in more funding.

“The race is confirmed to be a night race, held right before the Canadian GP. It is expected that F1 in Chicago will be announced within the next few weeks.”

However, carried out its own enquiries regarding the claims, which have been promptly shot down.

It’s understood that there is absolutely no truth to the claim a contract has been signed, and there are currently no plans to add a fourth race in the United States, despite the sport’s continued growth and increasing presence in the country.

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What are the chances of a Chicago Grand Prix?

The United States currently holds three races – Miami and Las Vegas, alongside the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas – but a fourth race in the country isn’t likely just yet.

As reported in January, understands there are currently no intentions to go racing in Chicago.

The rumours spiralled due to F1 lodging trademarks for the Chicago Grand Prix moniker with the United States Patent and Trademark Office earlier this year – something which was also done years in advance of the Miami and Las Vegas Grands Prix, which did become a reality.

However, F1 also lodged trademarks for a New York Grand Prix several years ago, which is no closer to reality than it was in 2020 when it was lodged.

The explanation for this is that trademarks are sometimes filed for in order to ensure other entities can’t lay claim to the intellectual property.

In January, a local politician in Chicago revealed conversations about a possible race in the city had occurred, but never became more in-depth than an initial discussion.

“I’m told that F1 typically requires a 10-year minimum deal. And that appears to be non-negotiable,” Alderman Brian Hopkins told the Chicago Sun-Times.

“The conversation [with the city] did not get much past that.”

With the Miami and Las Vegas Grands Prix meeting with success since their introduction to the calendar in 2022 and 2023, respectively, a Chicago Grand Prix would make sense from a geographical perspective – its location in the northeast of the country placing it in an opposing corner to the existing races.

But, having just brought a NASCAR race to the city – located in Grant Park on a three-year deal under then-Mayor Lori Lightfoot – Alderman Brendan Reilly said it’s not possible to host both – NASCAR will win out in that particular battle, due to the vastly more demanding logistics of a Formula 1 event.

“It would have to be one or the other,” he said.

“What we did with NASCAR, welding manhole covers and smoothing over potholes and calling it a track — that doesn’t work with F1. More complicated, thus higher price tag,” said Hopkins.

Hopkins’ referral to a 10-year deal coincides with the announcement that Madrid is to take over the hosting of the Spanish Grand Prix from 2026, having signed a 10-year deal with F1 that threatens the future of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya as an F1 race host.

The Miami Grand Prix, as well as Qatar and Las Vegas, are also on current 10-year deals, while the Hungaroring has had its contract extended until the end of 2032.

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