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GP Week : Issue 182
The Grand Prix of America, the second race in the United States set to take place next year around a street circuit in New Jersey, has appointed Chris Pook, the man behind the hugely popular Long Beach race, to its team amid speculation that Formula One could return to the California venue. Pook will join promoter Leo Hindery, Jr, sports and entertainment veteran Dennis Robinson, and sports marketing and corporate development specialist Dick Goldschmidt and will advise them on all aspects of construction, planning and execution of the race. The race, set to be run around a 3.2 -mile street circuit with the Manhattan skyline as its backdrop, will join Austin as the second American race on the calendar as Formula One doubles its efforts to crack a potentially lucrative market where it hasn’t had much success winning over fans in the face of stiff competition from the local NASCAR and IndyCar series. The race was originally scheduled for this year but ran into trouble after F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone binned the contract as the organizers hadn’t complied with the terms. The New Jersey event was later postponed to 2014 as organizers didn’t have enough time to get the infrastructure ready in time for the originally scheduled date. In an interview with Reuters at the Spanish Grand Prix, Ecclestone said he had put some of his own money into the race to make sure it goes ahead on schedule and that Pook’s appointment is sure to add even more credibility to the project. In addition to organizing the Long Beach Grand Prix, Pook also developed other races including in Detroit, Las Vegas, Dallas, St. Louis, Denver and St. Petersburg, Florida. He was also the Chief Executive of the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) series in the U.S. “He knows all the things not to do, which is important,” Ecclestone told Reuters. “And the other people weren't sure what not to do. They thought they knew what to do but not what was the important thing.” With the New Jersey race seemingly back on track, a return to Long Beach can also be effectively ruled out. “If we do this [New Jersey], it [Long Beach] won't [happen],” Ecclestone said. F1 >>> NEWS POOK’S MOVE QUASHES LONG BEACH RUMOURS Since Jean Todt became president of the FIA in late 2009, motorsport’s governing body has thrown its weight behind the Action for Road Safety campaign, a core element of the United Nations’ Decade of Action for Road Safety, an initiative aimed at saving 5 million lives on the world’s roads between 2010 and 2010. The Spanish Grand Prix coincided with the end of the second annual UN Global Road Safety Week, aimed at highlighting the dangers faced by pedestrians on the world’s roads. “A round 270,000 pedestrians are killed ever y year and this equates to around a fifth of the 1.3 million people killed on the world's roads annually,” said United Nations’ Global Road Safety Ambassador Michelle Yeoh. “ Tragically, many are children, often on their way to school. These statistics must be reduced. Safe walking should be a right for all.” To promote safe walking, individuals and organisations were asked to film their favourite walk, so that the combined videos could be turned into a Long Shor t Walk showing contributions from around the world. As a sign of its commitment to the United Nations’ efforts, the FIA organised a Long Short Walk to take place on Sunday at the Circuit de Catalunya. Two hundred Catalan schoolchildren joined Todt, Bernie Ecclestone, Maria de Villota, all 22 F1 drivers and 11 team principals in walking the length of the grid as a banner proclaiming ‘s afer roads for all’ was unveiled over the main grandstand. The event was organised by FIA stalwarts Naoise King, Matteo Bonciani, and Pat Behar. “It is fitting that the world’s finest drivers and the teams and organisations behind them have come together to demonstrate that all road users, no matter whether they are at the wheel or on foot, should be protected and that ever y driver must be vigilant at all times, no matter how skilled,” Todt said at the start of the Long Short Walk. “It is crucial that we protect pedestrians and the FIA is delighted that Formula One has embraced this initiative to help save lives in such a positive way,” he continued. “It once again demonstrated how motor sport can help draw attention to such a globally important issue. This fusion of sport and mobility to improve road safety is at the core of the FIA’s beliefs.” FIA PROMOTES SAFE WALKING 10 GPWEEK.com // 10 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: