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Mixed reaction following New Jersey announcement

NEWS STORY
25/10/2011

While Formula 1 United States chairman Tavo Hellmund was quick to congratulate the New Jersey F1 announcement, Leo Hindery, the driving force behind the new event, isn't as enthusiastic about Austin.

In a brief statement issued following tonight's press conference at which it was confirmed that Port Imperial in Weehawken will host the Grand Prix of America from 2013, Hellmund (right) offered his congratulations to the New Jersey team.

"I want to extend my congratulations to Leo and his team, as I know how much work they have put into making this happen," he said. "When I walked the site a few years ago, the site's potential was obvious.

"I am excited for the East Coast and feel Tuesday's announcement is yet another acknowledgement of the viability, fan interest, economic benefits and prestige an F1 Grand Prix event brings to a region," her continued. "New Jersey and Texas, nearly 2,000 miles apart, offer unique and very different fan experiences destined to not only raise the visibility of the sport in this country, but also increase the global attraction and US support of these world-class events. These two regions are going to be terrific backdrops for the world's most advanced form of racing."

However, Hindery, managing partner of InterMedia Partners, a New York-based media industry private equity fund, and until 2004, chairman and CEO of The YES Network, the nation's largest regional sports network which he founded in 2001, was keen to focus on the fact that public is being used in Austin, referring to the $25m annual state subsidy.

"From the start we've said that we'd pay for the privilege, without public expenditure," he said, according to the New York Times. He was also critical of the fact that Austin required a purpose built track whilst Weehawken can use existing streets.

"There's not a yard of dirt being moved," he said. "We're pennies on the dollar compared to Austin."

Indeed, Hindery, a keen race fan, who has competed at Le Mans on a number of occasions and also contested the American Le Mans Series and Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, and is considered to be one of the driving forces behind the New Jersey venture is sceptical that Austin will happen.

"I wouldn't bet on Austin making it," he said.

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