• US Grand Prix

Austin plays down Ecclestone's doubts

ESPNF1 Staff
November 13, 2011 « Sutil reckons he could have qualified higher | Vettel perplexed by puncture »
Bernie Ecclestone thinks Austin will face an "uphill struggle" © Press Association

Organisers of the 2012 US Grand Prix in Austin have denies their project is in trouble after Bernie Ecclestone cast doubt over the race this weekend.

Asked about the progress in Austin in the Abu Dhabi paddock on Saturday, Ecclestone said: "It is a bit of an uphill struggle but we will try and get there. There are two parties - one has a track and is building it, and the other has got the race contract. And they forgot to talk to each other."

But Circuit of the Americas President Steve Sexton, who is behind the construction of the brand new facility outside Austin, said he was not sure what had prompted Ecclestone's comments.

"Our funding is secured and construction is on schedule, so we don't understand Mr Ecclestone's comments," Sexton told the Austin American Statesman . "He has expressed great interest in the Austin race and in expanding the F1 brand into the United States. There is no question that if he wants the USGP race to happen here in 2012, it certainly will.

"A project of this magnitude has its challenges and we have had ours, but the city, the county, our state officials, our employees and construction workers, and our community supporters are all counting on Circuit of the Americas to happen."

However, head of race promoters Full Throttle Productions, Tavo Helmund, warned that the Circuit of the Americas had to meet its targets in order to keep Ecclestone onside.

"Mr Ecclestone has been incredibly patient with the challenges here in Austin," he said. "Full Throttle Productions has worked tirelessly to bring the Formula One United States Grand Prix to Austin. It is now the responsibility of the Circuit of the Americas to make this project happen before Mr Ecclestone's patience runs out."

Meanwhile, Ecclestone said there are no doubts about next year's Bahrain Grand Prix, despite ongoing political unrest in the country. Accompanied by the Crown Prince of Bahrain in the Abu Dhabi paddock, Ecclestone said on Saturday: "We believe there's no problem, it's on the calendar and we are going to be there."