Editor's Blog
July 6, 2010

Bernie's smoke and mirrors

Posted on 06/07/2010

© Getty Images

The latest comments from Bernie Ecclestone regarding plans for the USA have answered none of the questions people are asking about the state of play in Austin, and by rekindling rumours of other sites being assessed, have actually increased the suspicion everyone is being taken for a ride.

Ever since the announcement of plans for a 2012 US Grand Prix in Austin there have been concerns over the lack of any firm details. Nobody knows much about the people behind it, the funding remains a mystery, and despite assurances land has been earmarked, nobody knows exactly where. Put simply, as it stands the venture looks at best speculative, at worst commercial kite flying.

But Ecclestone doesn’t make throwaway comments. Everything he says is done for a reason, and you suspect his letting slip Hermann Tilke is sniffing around New Jersey is aimed at putting pressure on the authorities in Texas to support the Austin proposal.

Or, knowing Bernie, it could be Austin was agreed to force the hand of serious contenders on the north-eastern seaboard.

Either way, nothing is as it seems and, as things stand, a US Grand Prix is as likely now as it was a year ago.


Posted by Fish on 06/07/2010

Well ofcourse whatever Bernie's trying to do is well studied and well planned. Although I doubt that Austin is a shot in the dark because the amount of promotion put in the circuit makes it difficult to believe that they might be crumbling like USF1 have been. I'm sure the people behind the US Grand Prix have learned their lesson and will not become a second fiasco after what happened with Ken Anderson and Peter Windsor. But it looks almost certain that Bernie is throwing talk for whatevr reason. It seems to me like a Grand Prix in the streets of New York is unlikely because the city being so big it just can't be put on hiatus for a lot more than three days so Bernie's most likely rushing the guys at Texas especially that he said what worries him is how fast they can build.
And at the editor, sure nothing is what it seems but the US Grand Prix is a lot more likely now than two years ago because two years ago Ecclestone said "Forget about Indianapolis we're going somewhere else"

Posted by SchuFan on 06/07/2010

Bernie is all about money. If there is going to be a US race he wants to make a lot of money on it not just ok money. Personally I loved Indianapolis. There were a lot of people coming to the race & tv ratings were just like all the other races but that wasn't enough! Ecclestone wants $$$. So I believe he would say anything right now to get as much ground as he can in securing a gold mine for himself and the banks who run F1!

Posted by John B on 06/07/2010

Oh FFS... not even 24 hours after the (good) news that F1 was returning to USA these sort of stories started popping up. As soon as there is GENUINE cause for concern, can we then worry about it?

And say what you want about Bernie, but the fact is when it comes to it he protects the races when he has to. He says this and that, but he brought back Canada and he made sure Silverstone didn't slip. Yeah we lost Magny Cours and Imola but nobody seems to care about them...

Posted by Samuel on 06/07/2010

... publicity stunt. Those locals in Austin got taken over the hurdles. Bet you didn't know, about the time Bernie announced the Urban Cowboy Grand Prix there in Texas, just so happens, by coincidence, the city of Austin had just christened its very first Ferrari dealership. Whole thing was a was a publicity stunt, to shake out plump, over-ripe apples from the Austin metropolitan millionaire tree, to turn-out for a stylish Ferrari to drive, to a Grand Prix that is never going to happen. Start-up cost 1.5 billion, for an FIa compliant circuit to break even on the start-up cost, the track owner in Texas would have net (NET; not gross) 300 million at the gate, five years in a row. A thousand dollars a ticket, to watch overpaid prima donas driving for an hour and a half, not even breaking a sweat? That is never going to happen. And, everybody knows it -- QED, asj.

Posted by Al Onso on 06/07/2010

I don't care if they ever have another Formula One race in the United States. The U.S. is s waning power economically and has never embraced F1 because it is not U.S.-centric. That is why I watch Formula One: it is a world sport not bastardized by U.S. interests.

Posted by Bloggins on 06/07/2010

Bernie's idea of long term planning is to look after himself today and then look after himself again tomorrow. Don't expect any strategic thinking on a US race. He's happy to have as many irons in the fire as there are people willing to put up their time and money to try to make something happen. The local promoters can rely on Bernie to provide lip service but are best advised not to expect more.

Posted by Steve Fox on 06/07/2010

Let the car manufactures involved in F-1 pool the money and co-sponsor the race back in Indy, they are the ones that stand to gain the most in North America selling cars.

Posted by Dale on 06/07/2010

I disagree with you fish, i believe that the austin gp is gonna flop. I mean the promoter isn't even talking about it and the details for anything for the race are as hard to find as bigfoot. It's gonna turn out just like usf1.

Posted by Yousuf Mahmood on 06/07/2010

If Bernie wants a sold out Grand Prix weekend in the USA, it has to be in or near New York. Here we have people from all over the world and from every culture, we are very knowledgeable of the sport and not much marketing will be necessary to attract crowd. This is something to keep in mind when choosing a place for US Grand Prix.

Posted by Johnb1427 on 06/07/2010

Bernie & F1 management have short memories considering that joke of a Grand Prix a few years back.

Posted by V. Turner on 07/07/2010

Bernie is a poor excuse as a leader of F1, period.
He has made several detrimental comments towards a US F1 race, and we don't want or need him.
Let him go where the money flows, which is his only interest.
Bye, bye, Bernie. We hope you are succeeded soon!

Posted by Pat O'Brien on 07/07/2010

Agree, so far this looks like Donnington without the racetrack. That was a stalking horse to try and squeeze more money out of Silverstone. Austin may be, as SchuFan puts it, meant to force someone's hand or it may simply be a stall - he had to promise a USGP but he can't make big money on it so he goes through the motions just to placate the manufacturers. I don't see how Austin can be as far advanced as they claim and it was kept a total secret.

Posted by CS on 07/07/2010

I live in Austin and would love for F1 to come to Texas but we haven't seen any activity here that has given concrete evidence there is a site for the track. Which means construction hasn't started and we're six months away from 2011. 2012 isn't happening. Monticello can I has a race there?

Posted by eric a on 06/08/2010

Honestly i dont think Bernie really cares if the race goes or not. he stands to make a killing on it no matter what. either the race organizers pay him ungodly amounts of money to be able to run the race. or they pay a rediculous amount of money in contractual fines because they COULDNT run the race.

there needs to be a permanent circuit built in the u.s. that promotes the actualy natural beauty that we have here. most of the neat mountainous areas of the u.s. have big cities near by. make a belgian grand prix here!

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