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Ecclestone extends Austin deadline

NEWS STORY
30/11/2011

Bernie Ecclestone has given organizers in Austin one more week to demonstrate they have the necessary funding in place to host the 2012 United States Grand Prix.

The original deadline runs out today (Wednesday), but Ecclestone has given organizers one more week in which to save the 2012 event. The new deadline expires just before the World Motor sport Council meets to ratify the 2012 calendar.

"The deadline hasn't been met, so we are still trying to make it happen," he told the Associated Press. "They need to get some money and a pen as soon as possible. They know full well. Deadlines are terrible things because people always go to the end of the deadline. But if it isn't all signed before the World Motor Sport Council meeting, it can't happen."

Earlier this month, Pitpass first revealed that Ecclestone had given organizers a December deadline, and it was in the days following that all hell broke loose. First, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs announced that the state would not pay out any money in terms of the event until racing was actually underway. Hours later, organizers at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) revealed that they were suspending further construction work at the track until a suitable contract for the 2012 was in place.

Ecclestone subsequently issued a seven day deadline which resulted in COTA issuing a statement in which it was claimed they agreed to the immediate payment of the fee for the 2012 event and an advance on races beyond. However, they insisted the contract presented by Ecclestone contained "unrealistic and unfeasible demands".

Ecclestone, whose original contract was with Tavo Hellmund but which was subsequently breeched, responded by accusing COTA bosses of "messing around for four months", claming that those involved were "arguing amongst themselves", and casting doubt on whether they had the necessary funding, a claim he repeated today.

"They are struggling to get the financial side sorted out, that's the problem," he said.

"It would be a loss to everyone if it didn't happen," he added. "They would like the race to take place, I'd rather see the race happen than not."

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