Grand Prix of America: to be or not to be?

The Grand Prix in New Jersey could find itself off the calendar for the 2013 season after Bernie Ecclestone suggested that the race no longer had a contract.

The New Jersey Grand Prix is scheduled to follow the Canadian Grand Prix in June 2013 however when the provisional calendar was revealed over the Singapore Grand Prix weekend it was still subject to confirmation.

Questions over the Grand Prix of America were raised as early as April when Ecclestone suggested that the Grand Prix would not go ahead. These concerns were raised again this week after Ecclestone gave an interview saying that the New Jersey race track was approaching its deadline and may be removed from the calendar for 2013.

Building work at the track is understood to be in an advanced state and the situation draws a comparison to the issues surrounding the Austin track last year. Ecclestone had said the United States Grand Prix in Austin would not go ahead due to contractual issues before going on to agree a contract and there is a possibility that the same will happen with the New Jersey race. Ecclestone did hint that should a large backer or sponsor get behind the Grand Prix it would be able to fulfil its contract and remain on the calendar.

Whether or not the race goes ahead it should be asked whether F1 needs two races in America. F1 has not raced in America since 2007 and after it returns this year with the United States Grand Prix in Austin, it will go from having no races to two. Admittedly the two races will be very different but F1 receives relatively low coverage in the US so it is confusing that a country that is more interested in NASCAR and Indycar would want to host two F1 races. Undoubtedly having two races will help to raise the profile of F1 in America, however it will only matter to the drivers and fans if the tracks provide entertainment and on the edge of your seat viewing.

As Ecclestone moves towards more and more races outside Europe it may become commonplace that countries have more than one Grand Prix. The decision on whether the Grand Prix of America stays on the 2013 Calendar will no doubt be decided by money. Its success as a Grand Prix track and in turn its longevity should depend on more than just money but somehow everything in F1 comes back to money. If the organisers have enough money to secure its place on the 2013 calendar then it is probably set to stay for the foreseeable future.

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