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Ecclestone confirms Long Beach talks

Caroline Reid and Christian Sylt
April 30, 2013 « Rossi's Caterham FP1 run rescheduled for Canada | Marko still not happy with tyres »
F1 raced at Long Beach from 1976 to 1983 © Getty Images
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Bernie Ecclestone says he has held talks with the organisers of the Long Beach Grand Prix about Formula One replacing IndyCar when its agreement to race on the Californian street circuit expires next year.

"We are not in deep discussions with Long Beach but we have spoken to them," he said.

His comments follow mounting speculation that F1 is considering making the circuit its west coast home in the United States. It also follows the inaugural United States Grand Prix in Texas last year which was widely considered to be a success.

Sponsorship agent Zak Brown and Chris Pook, the original founder of the Long Beach Grand Prix, are reportedly attempting to buy the contract to the race from its current owners, motorsport entrepreneurs Kevin Kalkhoven and Gerald Forsythe.

However, Kalkhoven has said that "Gerry and I are not interested in selling Long Beach" and would only consider it if "stupid money" was on offer. Jim Michaelian, the president and chief executive of the race added that "this is a story that keeps bouncing around every year or so, despite the fact that the race isn't for sale and there's been no contact between anyone and Kevin about a sale."

The race was launched in 1975 as a round of America's Formula 5000 championship. It became an F1 race the following year and stayed until 1984 when it switched to CART then Indycar.

Ecclestone says he still has hopes of resurrecting the stalled race in New Jersey which was meant to take place this year. He adds "we are talking to different people in the States but who knows."