Just as Mexico emerges as a contender for the 2013 F1 calendar, and France battles to be part of the schedule in one way or another, one of the headline events for next season - the all-new Grand Prix of America in New Jersey - may have hit the buffers in its efforts to join them.
The event, which is slated to run on a dramatic 3.2-mile street circuit with views of New York City, was due to join the US Grand Prix in Austin - scheduled to debut this November - in an American double-header on next year's calendar but, just as happened with the Austin race, doubts are now being raised over its viability after organisers fell behind in their dealings with F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone.
While happy with the way the Texas event is now progressing, the lack of announcements from NYC, which had been taken as a sign that things were moving along smoothly, has prompted Ecclestone - who has long desired an event in the New York area - to reveal that certain contractual deadlines have been missed, and financial penalties being imposed.
"We are waiting for different parts of the contract to be agreed - they are late," he was quoted by ESPN
, before suggesting that the situation needs to be sorted sooner rather than later, "I hope everything will be okay. They are sorting things out internally with some of their funds. I don't know if it is going to happen [but], if they are ready for 2013, we will have them."
The race, the brainchild of US fund manager - and former sportscar owner/driver - Leo Hindery, will not be funded by public money, and insists that all the components are in place to ensure that it takes its place in the middle of next season's calendar, possibly forming a trans-Atlantic triple-header with Canada and, if recent reports are to be believed, a return to Mexico City's Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez [see story
"We don't comment on our contractual relationship with F1 or its details, [but] we are on track for a June 2013 race, with all course engineering and construction progressing precisely on schedule, a strong management team in place, and strong ongoing support from New Jersey, New York City and the local communities involved," a spokesman for the project insisted, "We are very confident that the 2013 F1 Grand Prix of America will be a great event."