Bernie Ecclestone has insisted that the US Grand Prix will only return if it continues to be held at Indianapolis – unless, he hinted, New York comes up with a viable alternative.
The event – a staple of the Formula 1 calendar for more than half a century – disappeared following the 2007 edition, a race won by McLaren-Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton. The loss came as a result of a financial dispute between Formula One Management (FOM) chief executive Ecclestone and Indianapolis Motor Speedway boss Tony George, with the latter unwilling or unable to meet the pecuniary demands of the sport's ringmaster.
With Abu Dhabi joining the F1 fray as the 2009 finale and India and South Korea also set to grab their own slots on the grid in the not-too distant future, Ecclestone has stated that the American outing can only be re-instated should all of the top flight's teams agree to a schedule of up to 20 grands prix per year – something they have previously been unwilling to do.
He is, however, clearly open to discussions, whilst the manufacturers in particular have repeatedly underlined their eagerness to compete in the States again, with the North American market a vital one for car sales and sponsors and the added absence of the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal only serving to exacerbate the situation.
“It (New York) is the one place where someone could make a business out of it,” Ecclestone has argued. “Apart from Indianapolis, there is nowhere [else] in America we could go to and hold our head up and say 'this is comparable to other circuits we are building around the world'.”
The 78-year-old has demonstrated a growing interest in races in major cities of late, with Paris, Rome and even London believed to be under consideration as future grand prix venues.