/ Motorsport

Ecclestone casts doubt on US Grand Prix

Updated: Saturday, 26 Nov 2011 18:17

Bernie Ecclestone - Playing hardball over the US Grand Prix
Bernie Ecclestone - Playing hardball over the US Grand Prix

Bernie Ecclestone is clearly losing patience with the Circuit of The Americas owners after they described his demands for staging the United States Grand Prix as "unrealistic and unfeasible".

COTA have today issued a statement in which they claim they are now prepared to pay Formula One supremo Ecclestone the race sanctioning fee that will allow the event to go ahead next year in Austin, Texas.

However, in an astonishing show of defiance, COTA have torn up the standard race agreement and sent Ecclestone their own version in return, which they are now expecting him to sign.

COTA founding partner Bobby Epstein said: "We have been ready to send Mr Ecclestone a sanctioning fee cheque for some time now.

"He hasn't received it yet because the new contract presented to us two weeks ago contained unrealistic and unfeasible demands.

"We have signed and returned a contract similar to what we anticipated receiving."

Epstein added: "This race should be a reality, but if we are going to make the 2012 race date, we must receive a countersignature in the coming few days.

"We believe the teams, fans, sponsors and local business share our enthusiasm and hope their voices will be heard."

COTA further claim they have offered to establish an advance payment schedule for USGP races beyond 2012.

Ecclestone is not a man prone to being told what he should do, and that was evident today when he spoke in the Interlagos paddock ahead of Sunday's Brazilian Grand Prix.

Ecclestone said: "The truth is they're not complying with the terms and conditions of the contract.

"As we make the contract we will award the event, or not award the event. They're not awarding anything to us.

"They know what it (the contract) is exactly. They've been messing around now for four months.

"They've had two different partners arguing, and in the end none of them have the money."

Asked whether the race would happen, Ecclestone said: "I doubt it."

When the "unrealistic and unfeasible" remark was put to Ecclestone, he said: "Yeah, well they shouldn't sign it.

"My advice to them is don't sign it, and they probably won't get the opportunity."

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