All of this may have been covered with the countless split threads, so I apologize in advance if any of the following is old news to many of you. But with so many new members, the following will give you much insight into what was happening as far back as 1990. Very interesting, and pretty prophetic as well.
1991 story about a IMS-CART merger.
1990 story about an international open wheel oval series.
And this article from Autoweek in 1990...
[Autoweek, July 30, 1990; page 50-51]
If Tony George wanted to get people's attention by trabveling to Europle to meet with FISA's Jean-Marie Balestre and Bernie Ecclestone, he's certainly acheieved his goal....
One thing is clear, however. Everybody connected with Indycar racing has their own views about what the new cosiness between IMS and FISA protends. Some believe it's but the first tangible step in a bold outflanking maneuver by FISA and IMS, one that will see CART all but frozen out of the most important Indycar race of them all--the Indy 500--amidst the creation of a FISA/IMS sanctioned series of three to five major international 500-mile oval-track races.
..."We didn't go with any specific agenda," said Donaldson [IMS marketing VP]. "We wanted to meet with Jean-Marie Balestre and Bernie Ecclestone to gain as much knowledge about F1 as possible. We talked with Mr. Balestre about our plans to build an oval in Japan and hold an Indycar race there. The internation oval series concept came out of those discussions."
In theory, the series in question would feature flat-bottom single-seaters powered by 3.5-liter, normally aspirated engines. Much the same package as F1 and also attractive to manufacturers building 3.5-liter engines for Group C (see page 55).
Of course, many observers see Tony George as the proverbial innocent abroad--particularly when he's meeting to discuss the possible future of the Indy 500 with an experienced and shrewed a man as Ecclestone. The worry that Ecclestone is far less concerned with the concept of three or four international oval races than he is with derailing CART. And if he can use George to his ends, then so be it.