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United States loses F1 Grand Prix

12 July 07 16:32 GMT

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has ended speculation by revealing there will not be a 2008 US Grand Prix.

He is keen to stage races in other areas, especially Asia, and said no other US venue was in line to replace Indianapolis, its home since 2000.

"We didn't reach an agreement. Let's see if we miss America," he said.

Previously, Ecclestone had described America as "not vital" for F1 and said there were "bigger markets for us to be in in other parts of the world""

Indianapolis Motor Speedway chief executive Tony George expressed his regret at the decision, but said he remained hopeful F1 could return to the circuit in years to come.

"After several discussions, Bernie Ecclestone and I were unable to agree how to keep F1 in Indianapolis for the near term," he said.

"However, we have agreed to leave the door open for a potential future date."

The first race at Indianapolis drew an estimated crowd of more than 200,000, although in recent years this had dropped to nearer 125,000.

The decision means that the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal will be the only North American race in 2008, when Singapore and Valencia are expected to join the F1 schedule.

Questions have also been asked about the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, which could be axed for financial reasons, and Abu Dhabi and South Korea have been pencilled in for 2009 and 2010 respectively.

There are no American F1 teams at the moment, and only one American driver, Scott Speed.

But North America is such a big market that many manufacturers are keen to keep an F1 presence in the region.

"We most definitely should have a race here and if you ask me, maybe two or even more in the United States," said Mercedes motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug after this year's US Grand Prix, won by Lewis Hamilton.

"For a world championship it is important to be here."

In 2005, Indianapolis was the scene of one of the most notorious incidents in F1 history where safety concerns meant only six cars started the race.

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