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Ecclestone already has plans for a second US Grand Prix

Christian Sylt and Caroline Reid
July 6, 2010 « Hill forecasts tension between McLaren team-mates | »
Bernie Ecclestone: 'It's hard to promote anything in America. It will either get a following or it won't' © Sutton Images

Just over a month after it was announced that there will be a United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas in 2012, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that a second race may take place in the country and his circuit designer Hermann Tilke is currently there investigating it. "Tilke is in New Jersey now looking into it," he said over lunch last week.

In March, Ecclestone first revealed that a race in New Jersey was being investigated. "It would be in front of Manhattan in New Jersey, with the skyscrapers in the background," Ecclestone said adding: "Fifteen minutes from the centre of New York to the circuit would be marvellous." A 3.6-mile track was scheduled to be built in the grounds of New Jersey's 600-acre park but it was vetoed for environmental reasons by the public and the Jersey City mayor.

Tilke is now believed to be looking for a location in New Jersey which would not face this opposition but would still enjoy the same view of the New York skyline in the background. It could be a reserve option if the Grand Prix in Austin falls through.

A new purpose-built circuit will be constructed for F1 in Austin and although Ecclestone says that "the land is bought," he adds: "My concern is that I don't know how quick they can build ... that's what I am worried about. I don't worry about anything else."

Ecclestone says he requested that Austin host F1 in 2012 to get the race on the calendar as soon as possible. He explains that "the government is supporting it," and is believed to have committed $25 million to cover the annual race-hosting fee.

Funding may be needed even if the Grand Prix doesn't take place as Ecclestone recently said that if Austin fails to host the race "we've got some penalty clauses, although I wouldn't want to use them".

He remains confident that this will not happen and says that the government "won't lose their money". However, he does sound one note of caution: "It's hard to promote anything in America. It will either get a following or it won't."