Honda Racing CEO Nick Fry has admitted that Formula One needs to return to North America in order to satisfy both manufacturers and sponsors involved in the sport.
The US Grand Prix was missing from this year's calendar after Bernie Ecclestone and Indianapolis Motor Speedway CEO Tony George failed to find common ground on the cost of staging the event in the absence of a title sponsor, and Canada has been omitted from the latest version of the 2009 schedule, allegedly because of the non-payment of hosting fees.
Amid frantic attempts to get the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve reinstated as a stopping point on F1's world tour - with a plethora of potential promoters being touted as saviours of the event - Fry insists that the top flight needs to be visible somewhere on the North American continent, even if the impasse
with Indianapolis couldn't be overcome.
"It's a vital market, not only for the car manufacturers, but also for many of the sponsors,'' he admitted in an interview with Bloomberg
, "A quick return to North America would be positive for Formula One.
"I know that discussions are proceeding at pace on other venues in America and all the teams are extremely hopeful those come to fruition as early as possible,.'
New events in Valencia and Singapore helped fill the void created by the Brickyard's absence in 2008, while Abu Dhabi is lined up to close the 2009 campaign ahead of possible new events in Korea, India and Russia joining the calendar in future years. Despite F1 taking on an increasingly Asian bias as it finds governments willing to pay top dollar to bring the top flight to their countries, Fry insists that it is the original dollar that could be the most important for the sport's future.
"Going back to Indianapolis is one option but, from a brand point of view, to be on the East Coast in New York or somewhere on the West Coast would be better in terms of a Formula One brand and also for our sponsors,' he argued.
A decision on the future of the Canadian Grand Prix had been rumoured for last Friday (31 October), but no official comment on the event's status has yet been made.