|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Future of US Grand Prix still in doubt
June 19, 2007 11:27 IST
Formula One teams packed their cars and returned to Europe following Lewis Hamilton's [Images] clinical victory at the US Grand Prix on Sunday uncertain if they will be back in the United States.
With the current one-year deal to stage the event at the famed Brickyard expiring after Sunday's race, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone and Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) owner Tony George met several times over the weekend.
But the two men were unable to reach a new agreement leaving the future of the US race very much in doubt.
IMS released a statement on Saturday saying it has set a July 12 deadline for a decision.
George is believed to be seeking financial concessions and a multi-year deal from Ecclestone, who has voiced his unhappiness at the way the organisers promoted the race.
Last week, Ecclestone told Britain's Daily Express that Formula One did not need a race in the US and he could take it elsewhere if he was unable to agree a deal with the Speedway, which has hosted the race since 2000.
"They haven't done anything to really get behind it have they," Ecclestone said. "We arrive in town what do we get?
"We get banners saying the Indy 500. Not really the way to promote Formula One. They haven't gotten behind it full stop."
The sight of large numbers of empty seats sprinkled throughout the Brickyard's sprawling grandstands is unlikely to have impressed Ecclestone, who has flaunted the huge demand for F1 races in the faces of IMS officials.
Valencia and Singapore are confirmed as new races for next year, Abu Dhabi is due to make its debut in 2009 and South Korea in 2010.
India is also lobbying hard for a race and Suzuka is hoping to return to the championship as a second Japanese race after being replaced by Fuji.
Ecclestone has talked in the past of taking Formula One to street circuits in Las Vegas [Images] or New York but neither city appears ready for the massive undertaking of putting a race together in time to be included on next season's schedule.
Despite his hard line negotiating tactics, Ecclestone could find himself under pressure from teams to get a deal done for a US race.
"We most definitely should have a race here and if you ask me, maybe two or even more in the United States," said Norbert Haug, Mercedes motor sport chief. "For a world championship it is important to be here.
"This is our biggest market outside of Germany [Images], it is our fastest growing market, a very important market."
Formula One: The Complete Coverage