ABU DHABI (Reuters) - The fate of next year’s U.S. Grand Prix in Austin depends on Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, circuit president Steve Sexton has said after the Briton cast doubt on the Texas project.
Ecclestone told Reuters at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Saturday that the race looked doubtful due to differences between those involved in constructing the circuit and promoting the race.
“Austin? I wouldn’t want to put my money down that that will happen,” he said. “I hope it will and we are doing our best to make it happen, but I wouldn’t want to say yes.”
The Austin American-Statesman newspaper website (www.statesman.com) quoted Sexton, president of the Circuit of the Americas, as saying in a statement that he was puzzled by the comments.
“There is no question that if he wants the USGP race to happen here in 2012, it certainly will,” he said.
“Our funding is secured, and construction is on schedule, so we don’t understand Mr. Ecclestone’s comments. He has expressed great interest in the Austin race and in expanding the F1 brand into the United States.
“A project of this magnitude has its challenges and we have had ours, but the City, the County, our state officials, our employees and construction workers, and our community supporters are all counting on Circuit of The Americas to happen.”
Full Throttle Productions, run by Tavo Hellmund who has a long-standing relationship with Ecclestone, have the rights to host the race and he appeared less sure of the prospects, however.
“Mr. Ecclestone has been incredibly patient with the challenges here in Austin,” he told the newspaper.
“Full Throttle Productions has worked tirelessly to bring the Formula One United States Grand Prix to Austin. It is now the responsibility of the Circuit of the Americas to make this project happen before Mr. Ecclestone’s patience runs out.”
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Alastair Himmer