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Page last updated at 16:35 GMT, Friday, 21 May 2010 17:35 UK

US track aims to host Formula 1 grand prix in 2012

Alan Jones overtakes Carlos Reutemann

Classic F1 - United States Grand Prix 1980

By Saj Chowdhury

The boss of a track in New York state has told the BBC it is in talks to host a Formula 1 grand prix in 2012.

Representatives of Monticello Motor Club and F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone have been in talks regarding bringing the sport back to the United States.

"There was some agreement that Monticello could host a race," MMC chairman Bill McMichael told BBC Sport.

The US last held a grand prix in 2007 at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana.

Its eight-year run was ended after Ecclestone failed to come to an agreement with the circuit's chiefs over new terms.

606: DEBATE

Monticello chairman McMichael, along with circuit president Ari Strauss, met Ecclestone and F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke in 2009.

"We had contacted F1, specifically Ecclestone, last year with regards to potentially hosting an F1 race," added McMichael.

"After the meeting they said Monticello would be a nice place to host an F1 event. Since then we've been engaged in talks with the local government and F1 management in an attempt to finalise terms, but they haven't been finalised yet."

In order to be race ready for 2012, Tilke recommended that improvements would have to made to the grounds and the 4.1-mile circuit which is located in the Catskill mountains, about 75 minutes' drive from downtown Manhattan.

"It's a little bit early to say exactly how much it will cost but we will need to find approximately $150m," added McMichael.

The MMC is a private members club and McMichael said some of the funding for improvements would be provided by themselves.

"We'll try to get the money through a combination of public and private sources," he continued.

"We can fund some on our own as a private entity. But we've pointed out the positive economic impact on the host city and community to local government officials. They are sorting a financial package that would support such an expenditure."

We will now continue to negotiate with F1 management until both sides have agreement - then we pursue an event as quickly as possible

MMC chairman Bill McMichael

McMichael did not divulge what modifications would be needed to be made to the circuit, which is hopeful of a 10-year deal with F1.

The United States's relationship with the sport has been intermittent.

In 1961, Watkins Glen, in upstate New York, became the venue for the US GP and it hosted the event for 20 years.

Between 1976 to 1980 the race became known as the United States Grand Prix East in order to differentiate itself from the United States Grand Prix West which was held in Long Beach, California.

Las Vegas, Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix all hosted F1 races in the intervening years, before Indianapolis Motor Speedway, renowned for the Indy 500, became regular US hosts from 2000.

But in 2005, controversy blighted the race as a result of the Michelin tyre safety row which meant that the only cars on the starting grid were those of Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi.

Seven teams withdrew from the race after the formation lap.

Two years later, Indianapolis lost its right to host F1 and Ecclestone was quoted as saying: "It's all the wrong crowd and the wrong people."

"We would not run into a similar situation as Indianapolis," said McMichael.

"There would be enormous interest from the European, Asian and South American fan bases here. And hosting near New York makes sense in terms or travel, availability of hotel rooms and entertainment options."

McMichael added: "We will now continue to negotiate with F1 management until both sides have agreement. Then we pursue an event as quickly as possible."

The F1 calendar will expand from 19 to 20 races in 2011, while three races, the Chinese, Japanese and Turkish, are not contracted for 2012.



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see also
United States loses F1 Grand Prix
12 Jul 07 |  Formula 1
New US GP deal for Indianapolis
17 Aug 06 |  Formula 1
Seven teams boycott US Grand Prix
19 Jun 05 |  Formula 1
Schumacher claims farcical US win
19 Jun 05 |  Formula 1


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