Formula 1 could yet return to the United States - despite Indianapolis missing from the grand prix calendar in 2008 after circuit boss Tony George and F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone failed to agree on financial terms for a new deal.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Joie Chitwood, however, remains confident it is not the end of F1 at the legendary venue, and that the sport could even make a comeback in the not-too distant future. Much money was invested in the track to lure F1 back to the States seven years ago - for the first time in almost a decade - including the construction of a completely new infield section within its existing oval layout.

"I think Formula 1 will come back, I really do," quotes Chitwood as having told the New York-based Bloomberg news service. "There's nothing definitive but I think there has been some dialogue. It's [a matter of] coming up with the right plan so everybody can benefit from it.

"We've made a lot of investment in the property. We were disappointed when it went away. For us, the goal is to see if we can get them to come back at some point."

Ecclestone, however, has poured cold water on the possibility of the return of an American Grand Prix to the F1 calendar, claiming the sport's lack of popularity in the States - particularly in the wake of the calamitous 2005 edition when just six cars started the race over a tyre row - did not make a race viable. This is believed to be contrary to the wishes of many of the teams, manufacturers - for whom the 'home of the motor car' is a particularly important market - and sponsors involved.

"America is a continent as big as Europe," Ecclestone said in an interview with the official Formula 1 website. "In order to have the same impact as in Europe we ought to have eight races over there. To have just one grand prix in the States does not make Formula 1 popular."

The first US Grand Prix at the hallowed 'Brickyard' took place back in 2000, with Michael Schumacher winning five of the races held since and Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello and Lewis Hamilton one apiece.

Whilst F1 may be missing from Indy next year, fans will at least get the opportunity to see MotoGP at the track, with a second American event scheduled there on 14 September to accompany the traditional Laguna Seca outing in California two months earlier.



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