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Lauda casts new doubt on New Jersey race

Mercedes chairman Niki Lauda has suggested that the New Jersey Grand Prix will not happen in 2014, especially in light of the announcement that F1 will return to Austria next year.
The chairman of Mercedes, former F1 world champion Niki Lauda, has said that he doesn't expect F1 to be heading to New Jersey in 2014 even though the race is included on the current tentative plans for next year's championship.

"As far as I know, it's already gone from the calendar," Lauda told the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation (ORF). "It didn't happen this year, because of a lack of money."

The issue of whether or not the long-planned New Jersey race will take place against the backdrop of the neighbouring iconic skyline of New York City's Manhattan Island was cast into doubt once again after the announcement on Tuesday that F1 will return to Austria's A1 Ring next year.

The world championship had originally been planning on staging its maiden race in New Jersey this year, and a late decision to postpone the event meant that the 2013 F1 season dropped to 19 races because there was insufficient time to organise a replacement race.

A return to Austria had been one of the solutions proposed to plug the gap on the 2013 calendar after the New Jersey race was postponed, but current rules prohibiting more than 40,000 spectators at an event quashed the short-notice plans.

Next year's season already had 20 events scheduled even before the confirmation of the first Austrian GP since 2003, which was made possible by the Red Bull drinks company owner Dietrich Mateschitz buying and renovating the former Osterreichring circuit, and rechristening it the Red Bull Ring. Although the 2014 calendar won't be ratified by the World Motor Sport Council until September, Austrian organisers have stated that the race will be held on July 6.

"This is the best thing that could have happened to us," said Lauda. "I have always hoped that F1 would return here. The fact that this is a reality is down to Mr Mateschitz. It means a lot to me, as I've also won here."

With 21 races now mooted for next years, team managers are anxious about another bump in the number of events in the F1 season with O Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper correspondent Livio Oricchio reporting that the prospect was "something that greatly concerns" the team principals.

"The issue will surely be discussed at the Hungaroring in the coming days," Oricchio added.

But in a separate development, F1 ringmaster Bernie Ecclestone has moved to dampen down any fears of an even-longer F1 season and said that he doesn't envisage the championship exceeding the 20 race benchmark that has become the norm in recent years.

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July 25, 2013 7:25 AM

My feelings on the tracks and locations aside, I'm getting a little sick of Niki Lauda shooting it mouth off at every available opportunity. I mean, what does he have to do with the organisers of the New Jersey GP? Of course he's going to be gushing about the opportunity for F1 to return to his home country. I'm with Marksman - there are other tracks that should, and probably would, be scrapped ahead of New Jersey. Before I get flamed, I recognise that Lauda is a legend of the sport. His feats as a driver are amongst the best in racing history. However, in the last few years he just... wont... shut... up... He seems to have to comment about everything and those comments are often outlandish.


July 24, 2013 9:16 PM

This does not hurt my feelings one bit. I was doing cartwheels at the announcement of the USGP in Austin. I would love to see a second GP here but hey... I'm selfish like that. There are so many wonderful tracks here that could easily be brought to F1 standards if they aren't already. But another street circuit? In Jersey? Nah... I'm good. Then again I could certainly think of a few in the current roster that we could live without as well. Ahem... Bahrain!

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