Ecclestone Sets Wednesday Deadline For U.S. Grand Prix Financial Guarantee
F1 Management Chair Bernie Ecclestone "isn't optimistic about the U.S. Grand Prix taking place next year and has set a Wednesday deadline for American organizers to guarantee its long-term financial backing," according to Tales Azzoni of the AP. Organizers for the proposed race in Austin said that they "have agreed to pay the sanctioning fee to secure a spot on next year's race calendar, but that's not enough" for Ecclestone. He said Friday, "They might pay something now, but it's the future we are looking for. We are not looking for (a) short term (solution)" (AP, 11/25). Ecclestone added, "The truth is they're not complying with the terms and conditions of the contract. As we make the contract we will award the event or not award the event." When asked if the race will happen, he said, "I doubt it" (PA, 11/24). Circuit of the Americas officials Thursday said that they are "ready to immediately pay the sanctioning fee for Austin's planned 2012 Formula One Grand Prix, but on the track's terms, not those recently offered by" Ecclestone. Track officials in a statement said Ecclestone had presented them with an "unrealistic and unfeasible" contract for the rights to host the race, but they did not go into details. Track investor Bobby Epstein: "We have been ready to send Mr. Ecclestone a sanctioning fee check for some time now. He hasn't received it yet because the new contract presented to us two weeks ago contained unrealistic and unfeasible demands. We have signed and returned a contract similar to what we anticipated receiving" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 11/25).
GREEN LIGHT: Ecclestone Thursday said the '12 Bahrain Grand Prix, scheduled for April, will go ahead as planned "unless something terrible happens to stop us." The '11 race was canceled due to unrest in the country. When asked what he would do if trouble flared up ahead of the race next year, Ecclestone said, "I'd wait and see what happened and then decide. Up to now they've done everything they said they were going to do" (London TELEGRAPH, 11/25).