Austin circuit chiefs willing to delay debut grand prix to 2013
|By Jonathan Noble||Friday, November 18th 2011, 01:15 GMT|
Austin Grand Prix chiefs are ready to accept moving their inaugural race back to 2013, after conceding for the first time that next year's race is probably not going to happen.
After a dramatic week at the Circuit of the Americas, where construction work at the venue was stopped on the back of a dispute over a race contract, track chiefs issued a statement responding to comments from Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone that next year's event will be dropped from the schedule.
With no contract in place, and time running out ahead of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council meeting in early December to ratify the 2012 calendar, it now appears certain that F1 will have to wait another year to return to the United States.
In the statement, which came after Ecclestone told the Press Association that the event will be scrubbed from the schedule by the FIA, Circuit of the Americas president Steve Sexton said that the breathing space of a year would help the venue get matters in order.
"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," he said.
"We know the US market is important to the teams and their sponsors and 2013 certainly allows time for the Circuit of the Americas to be ready."
A shift of date to 2013 would mean that the Austin event would take place in the same year as the inaugural New Jersey Grand Prix, which is pencilled in for June that season as part of a double-header with the Canadian GP.
Event promoter Tavo Hellmund acknowledged in a press conference that the circuit had been in breach of its contract with Ecclestone, but remained optimistic that the situation could be salvaged.
"This project needs to meet its obligations to Formula 1," Hellmund was quoted as saying by the Statesman newspaper. "I'm hoping we can get this back on the road."