Ecclestone Says New Jersey Race Is Off, Organizers Haven't 'Raised Enough Money'
F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that the inaugural Grand Prix of America in New Jersey will not take place as planned next year, saying that "the organizers have not raised enough money to fund it," according to Christian Sylt for CNN. 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." It was recently revealed that "the Grand Prix of America 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." He said, "It's not on the cards for next year." Ecclestone added that the problem is "they haven't got any money." However, Grand Prix of America spokesperson Alex Howe insisted that "they 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, 8/23).
VIVA LA MEXICO: AUTOSPORT's Jonathan Noble reported Mexico "is poised to make a surprise return to the Formula 1 calendar in 2014, after high level sources revealed 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," Mexican businessman Carlos Slim Domit "has been working hard on the Mexico City plan" (AUTOSPORT, 8/25).
GREENPEACE AT SPA: REUTERS' Alan Baldwin reported Greenpeace activists scaled the main grandstand shortly before the start of the Belgian F1 Grand Prix on Sunday and "unfurled a banner protesting against race sponsor Shell's activities in the Arctic." The banner, dropped from the roof of the stand opposite the VIP seats as teams readied their cars on the starting grid, read, "Arctic Oil? Shell no!" (REUTERS, 8/25).
SUZUKA EXTENSION: AUTOSPORT's Noble also reported F1 "will remain at Suzuka until at least 2018 after track bosses signed a new contract" with Ecclestone. Suzuka President Hiroshi Soda met with Ecclestone in London this week "to agree the terms of a new five-year deal which starts next season." The contract means that Japanese car manufacturer Honda, which owns the circuit, "is assured of a home race when it returns to F1 with McLaren in 2015" (AUTOSPORT, 8/23).