Jean Todt has cast doubt on whether Formula One will return to the United States of America quite as quickly as anticipated, after admitting that the proposed grand prix in Austin remains 'just a project'.
Speaking to Fox Sports
, the Frenchman, now head of the FIA after finding success at Ferrari, echoed other sceptics who believe that the ten-year deal to run a race at a purpose-built venue close to the Texan state capital is not as secure as it first seemed. Even Bernie Ecclestone appears to have reservations, having recently underlined the fact that promoters Full Throttle Productions would face financial penalties should the race not be delivered, as planned, in 2012.
“At the moment, it's just a project," Todt said of the Austin race, "I don't think something will happen next year.”
Todt was in the US in a bid to discover why NASCAR had been able to build its championship so successfully, and why F1 had, largely, failed to take off, despite events at iconic venues such as Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Long Beach and Watkins Glen over the years. Ironically, his visit coincided with the revelation that former Long Beach GP chief Chris Pook is involved with another potential USGP project.
With Ecclestone admitting that plans for a race in the New York/New Jersey area is far from dead following the deal with Austin, Pook has confirmed that he is involved with promoters in the region in a bid to bring F1 back to the USA.
Several sites had been rumoured as a potential home for the USGP following Ecclestone's assertion, at the Chinese Grand Prix, that he was talking to at least three candidates, but Liberty Park in Jersey City has already been ruled out, leaving Monticello Motor Club as the only confirmed interest. Pook, who was also involved in the F1 races at Watkins Glen and Detroit, has not revealed which bid he is involved with because of a non-disclosure agreement, but reports suggest it could be another location in New Jersey altogether.