F1’s new future in America moved up a gear this week.
We reported on Tuesday that reigning and back-to-back world champion Sebastian Vettel will appear on David Letterman’s iconic New York talkshow next week. It now emerges that, while in the famous city, the Red Bull driver will race around the street layout of the 2013 grand prix of America amid the Manhattan skyline, in a road car supplied by team sponsor Infiniti.
Vettel will then attend a press conference with race promoter Leo Hindery, after organisers were forced to deny Bernie Ecclestone’s claims the New Jersey race is in doubt.
There have also been developments this week in Austin, Texas, the scene of November’s scheduled return of the US grand prix on a bespoke circuit.
Organisers on Tuesday revealed ticket prices and said they will go on sale this Sunday, the day of North America’s other Formula One race in Canada.
“In the final analysis,” said a spokesman, “we wanted to make this event affordable to F1 fans around the country.”
Also on Tuesday, a local county judge finally issued a ‘mass gathering permit’ for the US grand prix.
Organisers of next year’s inaugural New Jersey street race have once again dismissed claims the event is in doubt.
Bernie Ecclestone said last month that the American grand prix could be pushed back to 2014. And the F1 chief executive repeated his doubts this week, revealing the organisers are having trouble with “funds” and had therefore missed deadlines in the contract. But when asked about Ecclestone’s latest comments, a spokesman for the race, which would be played out amid the famous Manhattan skyline, insisted preparations are “precisely on schedule”.
According to njbiz.com, he added that organisers are “still on track for a June 2013 race”. The spokesman added: “We don’t comment on our contractual relationship with Formula One or its details.”
The land that will be used for the race is co-owned by Roseland Property Co., whose boss Carl Goldberg said he had “heard nothing to suggest that there’s going to be a delay from any of the American promoters”. He added there is “a significant amount of time and money being invested, all pointed to a first race in 2013.”
Goldberg said Ecclestone’s comments are “disconcerting” in light of the money, time and manpower invested so far.