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GP Week : Issue 183
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said this week that he would be willing to buy a race promoter, should that be what is needed to push- start the delayed New Jersey race. Formula One returned to the United States last year with a hugely successful race on a new, purpose-built racetrack in Austin, Texas. This year, the sport was scheduled to have two races in the States with the New Jersey event – set to be run around a 3.2-mile street circuit with the Manhattan skyline as its backdrop – joining the Austin race. But the east coast race ran into trouble when Ecclestone binned the hosting contract when the organisers failed to comply with the terms laid out by the lawyers. The Grand Prix of America – the official name for the event in New Jersey – was eventually postponed to 2014, as the organisers didn’t have enough time to get the infrastructure ready in time for the grand prix. “I wouldn’t rule out buying a race promoter,” Ecclestone, who has already put some of his own money into the race, told journalist Christian Sylt. “We may do something in New York. We don’t have to own the promoter but we would be happy if we took it on.” Ecclestone, the sport’s commercial rights holder, doesn’t usually organise races. Traditionally, the promoter signs an agreement with the F1 Group, headed by Ecclestone. The agreement covers points including the hosting fee the circuit has to pay, the duration of the contract, and so on. The promoter must then source funding and organise the race. As a result, Ecclestone’s comments, coupled with the fact that he has ploughed some of his own money into the project, demonstrates just how keen the F1 boss is for his sport to take root in the United States, a lucrative but largely untapped market for the sport. Ecclestone has also raised the prospect of a third race in the States. “It is likely there is going to be a second or third race in the U.S. over the next couple of years,” he said. “We are talking to the right people in America. I would most like a race in New York and Los Angeles.” F1 >>> NEWS JERSEY? SURE. 9 GPWEEK.com // 9 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: