The Grand Prix of America in New Jersey is slated to happen in 2013 but recent comments from the Formula One commercial rights boss Bernie Ecclestone have questioned whether the race would happen suggesting the check was not received for the sanctioning fee. This is typical for Ecclestone who isn’t shy about talking to the press to place pressure on event organizers when he feels the need.
Race organizers in New Jersey were quick to suggest that everything was under control and that the race would happen but the New York Times carried a story today regarding the departure of Tom Cotter as president of the Formula One Grand Prix of America group. Cotter had been hired seven months ago to lead the group. the NYT’s quoted Cotter as saying:
“I have full faith in the Grand Prix of America team and look forward to sitting in the grandstands at a world-class race in 2013,”
The point man behind the program is Leo Hindery Jr. and he released a statement saying:
“During his stewardship we’ve made great progress and are less than a year away from the sport’s top racers speeding around a street course with New York City in the background,” Mr. Hindery said. “We wish our friend Tom the best as he returns home to North Carolina.”
Is this a case of an internal conflict of interests or disagreement with the direction the group are taking? Cotter, who was once the president of Charlotte Motor Speedway, is said to be returning to his other motor sport interests. It is an odd departure that is most likely political in the way that behind-the-scenes issues leave little room for agreement and usually end in a departure.
Red Bull Racing had just visited the area last week and ran a few laps for video promotion with David Couthard at the wheel. The promotional event was to bring attention to the New Jersey race with New York as the backdrop.
As for Formula One’s position, the NYT’s says that Ecclestone is now confirming that the sanctioning fees have been paid and that the race will follow the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal in 2013.