F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has warned that he is ready to drop the Austin Grand Prix from the 2012 calendar after news emerged of a rift between race organisers.
It was revealed on Tuesday that work has ground to a halt at the Circuit of the Americas
[See separate story HERE
] after a dispute between the people in charge of the circuit, and Full Throttle Productions – the company holding the contract to host the race.
The argument between the two parties centred on the fact that the circuit wanted to have the contract in place for the race itself, although it has now emerged that there is in fact no deal in place with anyone for the race after the deal with FTP and its boss Tavo Hellmund was cancelled.
Speaking to the Press Association
, Ecclestone revealed he had been talking with the Circuit of the Americas
about taking over the contract but that no agreement had been reached as he hadn't received a guarantee that payments would be made.
"We had an agreement with Full Throttle Productions,” he said. “Everything was signed and sealed, but we kept putting things off like the dates, various letters of credit and things that should have been sent, but nothing ever happened.
"Then these other people (COTA) came on the scene, saying that they wanted to do things, but that they had problems with Tavo. They said they had the circuit, and that they wanted an agreement with me. I told them they had to sort out the contract with Tavo, which they said they would. But that has gone away now because we've cancelled Tavo's contract as he was in breach.
"We've waited six months for him to remedy the breach. He knows full well why we've cancelled. He's happy. But these other people haven't got a contract. All we've asked them to do is get us a letter of credit.
"We are looking for security for money they are going to have to pay us. That is via a letter of credit, normally from a bank. If people don't have the money they find it difficult to get the letter of credit, and so we don't issue a contract."
Without a contract, work is highly unlikely to restart any time soon and Ecclestone said there was a real risk that the race would now be dropped from the 2012 calendar when the FIA World Motor Sport Council meets next month in New Delhi.
"Yes, it will be, for sure, 100 per cent," he replied when asked if the race was in danger of losing its slot on the calendar. "We've done everything we bloody well can do to make this race happen."