US Grand Prix on verge of being axed claims Bernie Ecclestone

 

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone
today said the United States Grand Prix is on the brink of being axed from next
year's calendar.

In a remarkable twist to the ongoing story, it was believed Tavo Hellmund's Full Throttle Productions owned the rights to host the race, scheduled for November 18 in Austin, Texas, next year.

However, Ecclestone has revealed to Press Association Sport the contract with Hellmund was recently cancelled after he was found to be in breach.

This has left Ecclestone negotiating with track developers, Circuit of The Americas (COTA), who yesterday halted work on construction.

COTA claimed in a statement issued yesterday that "the contract between Formula One and Circuit of The Americas has not been conveyed to Circuit of The Americas per a previously agreed upon timetable".

That has angered Ecclestone who claims the reason why no contract has been issued is because he has yet to receive a guarantee or a letter of credit that he will be paid.

"We've done everything we bloody well can do to make this race happen," Ecclestone told Press Association Sport.

Asked if the USGP was in danger of being dropped ahead of the final World Motor Sport Council meeting in New Delhi on December 7 when the 2012 calendar is officially ratified, Ecclestone said: "Yes, it will be, for sure, 100%."

COTA now has three weeks to resolve the crisis with Ecclestone, otherwise there will be no return next year to the United States after what has already been a four-year absence in a vital market for F1.

Explaining how the situation has spiralled, Ecclestone said: "We had an agreement with Full Throttle Productions.

"Everything was signed and sealed, but we kept putting things off like the dates, various letters of credit and things that should have been sent, but nothing ever happened.

"Then these other people (COTA) came on the scene, saying that they wanted to do things, but that they had problems with Tavo.

"They said they had the circuit, and that they wanted an agreement with me. I told them they had to sort out the contract with Tavo, which they said they would.

"But that has gone away now because we've cancelled Tavo's contract as he was in breach.

"We've waited six months for him to remedy the breach. He knows full well why we've cancelled. He's happy.

"But these other people haven't got a contract. All we've asked them to do is get us a letter of credit.

"We are looking for security for money they are going to have to pay us. That is via a letter of credit, normally from a bank.

"If people don't have the money they find it difficult to get the letter of credit, and so we don't issue a contract."

With the clock ticking on the future of the USGP, Ecclestone is now simply looking for "a guarantor", to assure him if COTA fail to pay then there is a reserve.

"It's probably an old-fashioned way of going about things, needing payment, but that's business," said Ecclestone.

"It's like buying a house. Before you buy that house, and before you get all the paperwork, you make sure you've got the money."

When contacted by Press Association Sport, representatives for the Circuit of The Americas declined to comment.

Last month's announcement of a street race in New Jersey, featuring Manhattan as a backdrop, which will take place in 2013 has further complicated matters for all concerned with the GP in Austin.

That much was made clear yesterday by Texas state comptroller Susan Combs who said New Jersey had the potential to affect the economic impact of their race.

Combs further confirmed Texas taxpayers would not be held accountable for the USD25million sanctioning fee (£15.8m), required a year in advance, for the race.

Of late, Texas has used a tool known as the Major Events Trust Fund to attract large-scale events to the state such as Super Bowl XLV and the NBA All-Star game.

However, Combs now maintains it will not now be used for F1 due to the emergence of the New Jersey race, and ongoing dispute over the race rights.

PA

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Extras
indybest10 best gardening gloves
News
Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives his annual televised question-and-answer session
peopleBizarre TV claim
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
The Honesty Policy is a group of anonymous Muslims who believe that the community needs a space to express itself without shame or judgement
music
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Life & Style
life
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit