Formula 1: American dream stalls as New Jersey GP put on hold for year
Grand Prix of America promoter Leo Hindery Jnr is adamant he remains “100 per cent committed” to the project despite confirming a postponement of the race until 2014.
Infrastructure issues for the event at Port Imperial in New Jersey on the bank of the Hudson River, and with Manhattan as a backdrop, means the grand prix initially scheduled for 16 June next year has been put on hold for 12 months. It would have followed a weekend after the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal as a North American double-header.
Hindery Jnr said: “We are going to be racing at Port Imperial, unfortunately just not as soon as we hoped and expected.
“We promised (New Jersey) Governor (Chris) Christie, the towns (of Weehawken and West New York), the sport and its international fans the best possible experience.
“Unfortunately, we need additional time to ensure that happens. But we remain 100 per cent committed to the Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial, and the race could have no better partner and friend than the CEO of Formula One, Bernie Ecclestone.
“We benefit greatly from his experience and counsel, and from his support.”
Ecclestone confirmed yesterday that the event would not happen until 2014, highlighting the difficulties relating to the building of the facilities.
Via a statement GPA officials claim “significant progress has been made toward developing the race, including substantial construction of the first garage and other permanent facilities”.
Inroads have also been made in light of extensive track engineering and operations planning, hiring of senior staff and partnering with key vendors to manage hospitality, security, transportation planning and operations, and ticket sales.
However, they cite “additional time needed for the development of complex Hudson Riverfront facilities and for finishing the second pits and paddock garage on the site”.
Reflecting on the problems, Ecclestone said: “The reason is because they didn’t quite know what they were doing.
“They got all the permissions together. Everything was done, that was all fine, but then they missed the boat a little on some financing that was coming in. Everything is set up, but it’s now too late to finish on time.”
With regard to the contract, it was understood payments to Ecclestone had been missed, but the 81-year-old added: “It was the guarantees they hadn’t come up with. But now they’ve got their finance together they can come up with the guarantees.”
Looking ahead towards the future, Ecclestone said: “I remain totally committed to the Port Imperial race and its unique location and attributes. We will continue to work closely together to realise our dream in 2014. As Leo says, we are still going to be racing at Port Imperial, now, however, in 2014.”
The New Jersey race would have given the United States a second round of the championship after this season’s inaugural grand prix at the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, next month.
Formula One has not raced in the United States since 2007, when the US Grand Prix was held at Indianapolis, but teams are eager to return to a country that is a key market for sponsors and car manufacturers but one that the sport has found hard to crack over the years.
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