Indianapolis Motor Speedway boss Tony George has insisted that the possibility of the globally-popular MotoGP series racing at the Brickyard next season had no bearing on the loss of Formula One for 2008.

George and F1's commercial guru Bernie Ecclestone announced that there would be no USGP at Indianapolis next season, revealing that they had not been able to reach an agreement on terms to run the race, but, speaking in a later press conference, George claimed that pursuing MotoGP had not been a factor in the discussions.

"The decision to not have a round of the [F1] world championship here next year was considered totally independently of any consideration being given to having a motorcycle race here," he stressed, "It was strictly a business decision and there are a lot of factors that weigh into that, but it was a decision that weighed solely on that."

No formal announcement has been made regarding MotoGP's arrival at the Brickyard, but reports in the Indianapolis Star claimed a week ago that the event had been all but confirmed by track president, Joie Chitwood. The circuit has, however, issued press call notices for 16 July, suggesting that all will be revealed then.

The road course layout used by the F1 circus up until this year's race will be revised prior to any motorcycle event - something that was confirmed back in February - with the signature banked corner likely to be replaced with a flatter version further infield in order appease MotoGP's governing body, the FIM.

"As much as having Formula One has meant to the economic success of this city, I think, if we have a motorcycle race, it will substantially be perceived as an international event that brings a diverse audience to this city that it has never seen before," George said when questioned further on the likelihood of MotoGP arriving.

"They're considered separately by us. Internally, I never considered that a motorcycle race would take the place of Formula One in the event [that] Formula One never came back to the Speedway. Obviously, if we have a motorcycle race, it's because we considered it independently and as a fourth event, not a replacement event. Should that come to be, it will be a great opportunity for the city, a city that can pride itself on world-class motorsports events."

George also denied that Indianapolis had been 'bumped' from the schedule, either by another American city or an event in the supposedly favoured Asian market, and played down suggestions that there had been a clash of personalities when trying to negotiate with Ecclestone, preferring instead to follow the line that it was purely a business decision.

"I think, again, it's a business decision for us, for Formula One," he insisted, "They have a lot of opportunities to consider, and I think they feel like they've made the fair assessment of this situation and the opportunities. If we're not on the schedule, there will probably be 18 races and they can go up to 20 races, so it's not like the music stopped and we didn't have a seat.

"Bernie really wants to see it stay, uninterrupted, I believe. He is a personality, a character, and he's a businessman and he's basing [this on] his years of experience of being successful. He knows he's got to look at all the opportunities for his business, and this being one of them. A lot of people think of Bernie in a lot of different ways, and I continue to have a great deal of respect for him and don't feel his personality in any way factored into the decision we mutually agreed on.

"We'll see, we'll continue to have a dialogue, but it's not fair to us, it's not fair to our customers, the loyal core of Formula One fans, to just go on indefinitely on hold while we try to decide if we're going to have a ticket renewal process, or what, for next year. So we just need to pull back and re-evaluate this situation and see where it goes from here."

 

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