US F1 races threatened
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US Grand Prix organisers say they have been 'screwed'
The future of Formula One in the United States is in serious doubt -after organisers in Austin, Texas claimed that they had been “screwed” by a substantial cut in state funding for the event.
Bernie Ecclestone, the sport’s chief executive, who has spent years trying to establish it in America, suggested that next season’s race at the Circuit of the Americas could be off after the state subsidy was reduced by 20 per cent.
The popular circuit has been on the calendar only since 2012, and was the venue at which Lewis Hamilton won his third world championship last month.
Bobby Epstein, the circuit chairman, said yesterday: “To use a technical term, I think we’re screwed. The state clearly made promises. I think we made a deal and we lived up to our end of the deal. It’s like if you go to a restaurant and order a dinner, and then after you’ve eaten the meal they change the price.”
Ecclestone has spoken of staging four races in America, but there is a real chance that there could be none in 2016.
Hurricane Patricia caused chaos this year, making for a “financially -devastating weekend”, according to Epstein.Qualifying was postponed from Saturday to Sunday morning, while the return of Mexico to the calendar a week later also hit ticket sales.
Austin is the first purpose-built Formula One circuit in the US.
Meanwhile, Mercedes insist that Hamilton will race this weekend in Brazil, despite falling ill and -delaying his travel plans by a day on doctors’ orders.
Hamilton has a -fever and flew to Sao Paulo yesterday, rather than on Tuesday as originally planned.
“No, he’s not going to miss the race,” a team spokesman said.
“He’s going to be a day late. The doctor advised him to cancel the earlier flight, so he missed a press conference today.”
Hamilton is bidding for his first victory at Interlagos, something he believes would be a “salute” to -Ayrton Senna, his great hero.
-The Daily Telegraph·