Austin Grand Prix chiefs propose new 2012 deal to Bernie Ecclestone

Austin Grand Prix chiefs say they are ready to pay the sanctioning fee for next year's Formula 1 race in the United States - but will only sign a contract on their own terms

Austin Grand Prix chiefs propose new 2012 deal to Bernie Ecclestone

Amid growing uncertainty about the future of the event, with Bernie Ecclestone suggesting the event will be dropped at next month's meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council, the Circuit of the Americas has declared itself prepared to sort out a last minute deal to prevent that happening.

In a statement that was issued on Thursday, Austin race organisers revealed that they were willing to pay the sanctioning fee for next year's race immediately, as well as sort out a payment schedule for future events.

However, track chief Bobby Epstein has said that the circuit is not willing to accept all the terms of a race contract that it was offered recently by Ecclestone - so has instead proposed a revised version.

"We have been ready to send Mr. Ecclestone a sanctioning fee cheque for some time now," explained Epstein. "He hasn't received it yet because the new contract presented to us two weeks ago contained unrealistic and unfeasible demands. We have signed and returned a contract similar to what we anticipated receiving.

"This race should be a reality, but if we are going to make the 2012 race date, we must receive a countersignature in the coming few days. We believe the teams, fans, sponsors and local businesses share our enthusiasm and hope that their voices will be heard."

Ecclestone said at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that the Austin race was looking doubtful because of a dispute between the track owners and original race promoter Tavo Hellmund.

"We are trying," he said. "It is a bit of an uphill struggle but we will try and get there. There are two parties. One has got a track and is building it, and the other has got the contract. And they forgot to talk to each other."

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