US GP's comeback delayed until 2013

 

The United States Grand Prix will not take place as planned next year because of delays in the construction of the track, Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed. The decision brings to an end weeks of speculation over the future of the race, at the Circuit of the Americas in the Texan capital, Austin.

A deal to host the race was agreed by Ecclestone in May last year with promotion company, Full Throttle Productions. The Formula One Commission, the sport's decision-making body, put the race in the calendar for next year at a meeting earlier this month but now Ecclestone has conceded that the track will not be ready. He said: "The [new] contract we proposed to them is 10 years from 2013. We said we would wait for them."

Ecclestone claimed the circuit owners had missed the deadline to sign an agreement to stage the race next year. He added: "I can't solve it." Tavo Hellmund, a long-time associate of Ecclestone and the owner of Full Throttle Productions, said: "Mr Ecclestone has been incredibly patient with the challenges here in Austin. 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."

However, on Tuesday, two shareholders in Circuit of the Americas, Red McCombs and Bobby Epstein, released a statement saying building work had stopped because the contract had not been received. The president of Circuit of the Americas, Steve Sexton, insisted: "Funding is secured and construction is on schedule. There is no question that if [Ecclestone] wants the US GP race to happen here in 2012, it will."

A £16m hosting fee for next year's race was due to have been paid to Ecclestone on 31 July, but has still not been received.

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