Amid Bernie Ecclestone’s claims the race will not take place next year, work on the street circuit in New Jersey is still taking place.
“As far as we are concerned, the race is still on,” West New York mayor Felix Roque is quoted by nj.com. He said construction crews are “working diligently on Boulevard East, getting curbs and sidewalks done … they are out there today”. Earlier, F1 chief executive Ecclestone said the 2014 race is no longer “on the cards” due to organisers’ financial problems.
But a race spokesman hit back by insisting preparations are on track, and Ecclestone later answered “no, no” when asked if he had ruled out adding New Jersey to next year’s calendar. An unnamed team boss told Speed Week Ecclestone, 82, might simply be up to his old games, insisting “it’s not the first time we’ve heard words like these”. “I would not write off the race in New Jersey,” he added.
Another local mayor, Weehawken’s Richard Turner, said he also doubted the reports that say the race is definitely off. “No one from F1 down to (promoter) Mr (Leo) Hindery has said the race was off,” said Turner. “The way they negotiate details seems to be in the public.” Turner said he was waiting for September 24, when the first 2014 calendar will be officially published by the FIA. “We’ll see then if we are on the schedule,” he added. Meanwhile, the state government has announced a smaller than usual loss – $50 million – for this year’s Australian grand prix.
But neither side of politics – the government or the opposition – is promising to renew Melbourne’s race contract beyond 2015. “Generally the driver of all government activity on this will be we will only sign a new contract if it represents good value for money,” minister Louise Asher told reporters on Wednesday.