|Ecclestone is reaching the end of his tether with organisers of the U.S. Grand Prix [GALLO/GETTY]|
Next year’s planned U.S. Grand Prix will be cancelled if organisers do not agree a contract and pay up by the end of next week, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Thursday.
The 81-year-old Briton said his patience with organisers of the race in Austin, Texas, had run out and he was not prepared to wait beyond the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix in Sao Paulo on November 27.
Asked whether he had set a deadline of December 7, when the governing FIA’s World Motor Sports Council meets in New Delhi to ratify the final calendar, Ecclestone said he could not wait that long.
“It needs to be before that. We don’t need any deadlines, having to thrash around at the last minute to do something. It’s gone on long enough.
“They (the Texas circuit owners) have got next week anyway. We are going to be in Brazil so they can come back next week,” he said.
Asked whether that would be it for the race, which was announced with great fanfare as the first to be held in the
United States since 2007, if no deal was done, Ecclestone replied: “Yeah, yeah.”
The Formula One boss denied he would be making more of an effort to keep Austin on the calendar if he had not done a deal for a grand prix in New Jersey, with a backdrop of New York’s Manhattan skyline, for 2013.
“There’s nothing to save. They can’t bloody well pay,” he said, his exasperation evident.
“I’ve been trying to do a deal now with these people for 18 months or more…if they had the money, I’m sure there would be no problem”
“What do you want me to do, wait until next year? To put all our cars on it, run around the circuit and everything and come back with no money? The teams want paying.”
Some team bosses suggested, when news of Austin’s difficulties first emerged, that it was all part of a familiar pattern of brinkmanship and that a deal would ultimately be reached.
Ecclestone shot that idea down in clinical fashion.
“It’s not brinkmanship, it never has been with me,” he said.
“I’ve been trying to do a deal now with these people for 18 months or more…if they had the money, I’m sure there would be no problem.”