SBD/August 26, 2013/Events and Attractions

Ecclestone Says N.J. F1 Race Will Not Happen, Organizers "Haven't Got Any Money"

Grand Prix of America organizers expect the race to go ahead
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said that the inaugural Grand Prix of America in New Jersey "will not take place as planned next year, saying the organizers have not raised enough money to fund it," according to Christian Sylt of CNN.com. The final '14 calendar "will be approved by motorsport's governing body, the FIA, in December but new races need to have financing in place by now to ensure their plans are on track." Event organizers "appointed investment bank UBS in June" to raise $100M, which is required for the race to go ahead. But Ecclestone said that they have "run out of time." Ecclestone: "It's not on the cards for next year." He added the problem is race organizers "haven't got any money." However, Grand Prix of America spokesperson Alex Howe said that organizers "expected the race would go ahead." He said, "We don't comment on financial matters but we are on track for 2014 and will have a statement following the announcement of the official 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship schedule" (CNN.com, 8/23).

SOUTH OF THE BORDER: AUTOSPORT.com's Jonathan Noble reported Mexico is "poised to make a surprise return" to the F1 calendar in '14. Sources said that it is to be "awarded a provisional slot in next year's schedule." Although teams "have not yet been given a draft calendar," Ecclestone is "intending to pencil in a race in Mexico City." With recent plans for a race in Cancun "having been dropped," former Circuit of the Americas Managing Partner Tavo Hellmund "has been working hard on the Mexico City plan" (AUTOSPORT.com, 8/25).

CIRCUIT BREAKER
: In London, Sylt & Reid reported N.Y.-based asset management firm and F1 stakeholder Waddell & Reed has "invested in Circuit of the Americas." The move gives F1 "closer links" to the U.S., where it is "trying to break into the market." Gaining a foothold there "is understood to be an important part of revving up the stalled plans to float F1 on the Singapore stock exchange." Documents show that Waddell & Reed provided $11.8M of the debt on the facility that "is due for repayment" between '17 and '18. The firm last year paid $1.6B for a 20.9% stake "in F1's parent company Delta Topco." The transaction with COTA brings Waddell & Reed's F1-related investments to 7.6% of its net assets. It is a "higher amount than that for any of its other investments" except for gold bullion, which accounts for 9% (London TELEGRAPH, 8/25).
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