F1: US Grand Prix circuit officials ready to pay race sanctioning fee

Organisers of proposed 2012 F1 race in Texas say they have agreed to pay the fee to secure a spot on next year's calendar

By Gareth Llewellyn
bernie ecclestone
Ecclestone does not expect the US Grand Prix to go ahead in 2012 Getty Images / Red Bull Racing

bernie ecclestone

Circuit of the Americas officials have revealed that they are in a position to safeguard the next year’s US Grand Prix by meeting Formula One Management’s contract demands.

F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone last week stated that the expected return of the US Grand Prix at a new facility in Austin, Texas would be dropped from the calendar after a breach of contract over the race’s sanctioning fee.

Now, after weeks of claims and counterclaims, Cota’s management have agreed to make an immediate payment of the sanctioning fee for the 2012 race, providing Ecclestone accepts their revisions to the contract.

“We have been ready to send Mr Ecclestone a sanctioning fee cheque for some time now,” Cota founding partner Bobby Epstein said.

“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. This race should be a reality, but if we are going to make the 2012 race date, we must receive a countersignature in the coming few days.

“We believe the teams, fans, sponsors and local businesses share our enthusiasm and hope that their voices will be heard.”

The plan for new multi-million pound 3.4-mile circuit is to create a facility which goes far beyond motor racing, with business, education and entertainment centres also expected to form part of the complex alongside its racing capability.

Reacting to the news from Austin, Ecclestone on Thursday again dismissed the possibility of the race going ahead in 2012.

“I doubt it,” the 81-year-old told Reuters, reportedly with a copy of the Cota statement in his hand.

“The truth is they’re not complying with the terms and conditions of the contract. And as we make the contract, we will award the event or not award the event. They are not awarding anything to us.”

“They have been messing around now for four months, there’s two partners arguing and two different groups arguing with each other and in the end none of them have got the money.”

F1 was the first marquee series signed up to take place at the circuit, with MotoGP and Australian V8 Supercars due to take place from 2013.

The race would be the first F1 Grand Prix in the US since the last outing in 2007 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Since the Austin race was announced, Ecclestone has also agreed a deal for a second US race in New Jersey from 2013 against the iconic Manhattan skyline.

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