Bernie Ecclestone insists that the Grand Prix of America could still find a place on the 2014 F1 calendar, despite having said last week that the New Jersey event definitely won’t be happening due to lack of funds.
However, he has also made it clear that he is running out of patience, having already postponed the race’s debut from this season.
Meanwhile the matter has been complicated by plans for an event in Mexico City gaining momentum, crowding the calendar still further.
A 2014 F1 schedule is expected to emerge either at or just before the FIA World Motor Sport Council gathering on September 27, and Bernie confirmed that is “more or less” the cut-off point for New Jersey.
In essence the promoters have to come up with some funding, and it’s easy to speculate that Bernie is now simply counting the days until the deadline for the event to meet its commercial obligations formally passes.
“They have a contract,” Ecclestone told this writer at Spa. “If they can comply with the contract, we want to be there. If they come to me next week, and show they have complied with whatever it should be, it’s alright. They’ve got to finish the circuit, so they need to pay, and they need to comply with the conditions for us.”
Asked if he really wanted the race to happen, he said: “Yes, of course. We’ve been mucking around and waiting long enough. We’ve compromised enough. We sent them 10 million to pay some of their debts, and keep the doors open, so we’re a little bit serious.”
He made some interesting observations about the efforts of Leo Hindery Jr, the man behind the NJ event, to raise the necessary finance.
“When they signed the contract, the guy definitely looked over 21. Allegedly he’s a very good business guy, and he knew what he was signing. When we made the agreement with him there was no fear about or discussion about could he or couldn’t he afford to pay.”
Ecclestone added that, if the race is eventually confirmed, it is set for an autumn date.
“We’ll worry about it when it happens. But it never was going to be June. Let’s see. We used to have the race in Watkins Glen in October.”
Meanwhile asked whether a recent plea for government funding by the Indian GP promoter suggested that there was a financial crunch for the Delhi event he said: “I’ve no idea. I don’t count people’s money, I rely on them to know what they are doing.”
Bernie also confirmed that the new Austrian event will move from the July 6 slot originally announced by Dietrich Mateschitz: “We’ve changed that date. It will be in the calendar.”