Mixed news for America
Texas given greenlight, but fresh doubts over New Jersey
By William Esler. Last Updated: September 26, 2012 1:30pm
There has been mixed news for Formula 1 fans in the United States ahead of Grand Prix racing's return to the country for the first time since 2007.
Charlie Whiting has declared the Circuit of the Americas ready to race, awarding the track the FIA's highest "Grade 1" status, paving the way for November's inaugural race.
All venues must be inspected and approved by Whiting before F1 visits and Whiting is full of praise for the United States' first purpose Grand Prix facility.
The man tasked with starting every F1 race spent two hours examining the Texas circuit, along with CoTA representatives and track architects Tilke GmbH.
"Everything that I've seen so far has been absolutely first class, and the progress that's been made since the last time that I was here is amazing," Whiting said.
"The guys have done an awesome job - it really is quite fantastic! It's built to the highest quality, exactly as we expected, and I've got absolutely no complaints whatsoever.
"There are 3-4 corners that are very likely to see overtaking," Whiting said. "If you look at Turn 1, you'll see that the turns have been designed so that they're extremely wide and the apex is very short. It's a very modern approach to slow corners where we hope overtaking will take place so I'm very confident it will work well.
"Turn 1 is awesome! It's the only word I can think of to describe it, and I think drivers and teams coming here for the first time will say the same thing."
However, the news on the east coast of the United States was not as positive, with F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone announcing that New Jersey's race contract had been 'torn up.'
The 3.2 mile street circuit along the banks of the River Hudson, in the shadow of the Manhattan skyline, was due to make its debut in 2013 and had been named on the provisional calendar.
Red Bull duo David Coulthard and World Champion Sebastian Vettel have already carried out demonstration runs on the circuit, where construction has already started on the pit buildings.
Ecclestone told The Guardian the organisers, "have not complied with the terms and conditions of the contract which is now gone anyway.
"They don't have a contract. We are pretty close to the final deadline," he added.
"We have got a world council meeting coming up. I think if somebody got behind them it could happen in 2013 because they have come a long way with the circuit."