24 October 2012
Ecclestone to ask Red Bull for NYC race bail-out?
Bernie Ecclestone has apparently considered asking Red Bull to help cover the costs of putting on an F1 race in New York.
Bernie Ecclestone's personal project to bring F1 to the New York region may have foundered for 2013, but the sport's ringmaster apparently has another plan up his sleeve to ensure the race goes ahead.
Event promoter Leo Hindery Jr admitted over the weekend that more time would be needed to get on top of the 'ongoing construction issues' facing the unique riverfront street course, but insisted that the race would return to the calendar in 2014.
“We are going to be racing at Port Imperial, unfortunately just not as soon as we hoped and expected,” Hindery said, "We remain 100 per cent committed to the Grand Prix of America and the race could have no better partner and friend than the CEO of F1, Bernie Ecclestone. We benefit greatly from his experience and counsel and from his support.”
Although Ecclestone also sounded positive about the chances of the race featuring on the provisional 2014 schedule, he has since admitted that it may need a little assistance to get past the current problems, which he claims also include the lack of necessary funds to pay race fees and start-up costs. The local Star-Ledger newspaper quotes F1 business expert Christian Sylt's belief that Ecclestone could get Red Bull involved in the project, particularly as the energy drink giant has already been instrumental in helping to promote the idea of racing along the banks of the Hudson River.
“In the absence of state support, I think that the only way the Grand Prix of America can proceed is if a wealthy backer gets behind it," Sylt confirmed in an email to the publication, "Red Bull certainly has the resources to do so and it clearly has an interest in promoting its brand in the area.
"It is also worth mentioning that Ecclestone told me that if a backer comes on board very soon, there is a possibility that the race could still take place next year. I asked him why he didn't ensure that the funding was in place before he signed the race contract and he said the organisers had assured him that they would be able to secure it.”
Local governor Chris Christie has also questioned why the funding was not already in place to ensure the race's place on the calendar.
"I'm disappointed and I'm still looking into all the reasons why [it isn't happening in 2013], which is why I haven't said anything yet," he told journalists, “I was looking forward to it. It's a great track and I think it would be a really, really cool event.
"They say it's construction-related issues and I want to know why that happened that way. At some point I'm gonna have to talk to Leo, too, but we'll get to that at some point. It's going to happen in 2014 and if that gives them the time to do it in the right way, make sure it's done correctly and safely, then that's good."
Red Bull already sponsors the city's soccer team and its home stadium, which lies six miles west of the proposed F1 site, and ensured that it had a strong presence at the media launch of the Grand Prix of America project by engaging Sebastian Vettel and one of its showcars to attend the press conference and ferry journalists around the proposed track.
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