Austin Circuit Still Wants F1 Race
The Circuit of the Americas is still keen to host the U.S. Grand Prix, even if the debut of the Formula One race in Texas is moved back a year, officials said Thursday.
The remarks came in response to Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone's comments to the Press Association in Britain that the event was set to be called off even before its first scheduled edition in November of 2012.
"We have been excited for and working towards a 2012 USGP race and now understand that Mr. Ecclestone is interested in moving the Austin race to 2013," Circuit of The Americas president Steve Sexton said. "We know the U.S. market is important to the teams and their sponsors and 2013 certainly allows time for the Circuit of the Americas to be ready."
Ecclestone said Wednesday there was no doubt that at the next meeting of the sport's governing body The FIA on December 7 the race would be pulled from the calendar.
"Yes, it will be, for sure," said Ecclestone, when asked whether the race would be called off.
Ecclestone's remarks came after it was announced on Tuesday that work on the purpose-built circuit - which would have hosted the first Grand Prix in the U.S. since 2007 - has been halted in a dispute among developers, Formula One and promoters.
The project was then dealt another blow when Texas state comptroller Susan Combs said that $25 million in state money for the event won't be paid in advance.
A statement issued by the circuit said construction would be halted "until a contract assuring the Formula One United States Grand Prix will be held at Circuit of The Americas in 2012 is complete."
Ecclestone then said no contract had been issued because he had yet to receive a guarantee or letter of credit that he would be paid.
"We've done everything we can to make this race happen," he said.
Formula One's last appearance on U.S. soil was in 2007 at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
In October, New Jersey governor Chris Christie announced plans for the Grand Prix of America to be held from 2013 on a road course on the Jersey shore opposite New York City.
At the time of that announcement, it was proposed that the United States would have two Formula One Grand Prixs from 2013.