Indy wants deal, Bernie says US ‘not vital’

Thu, 14 June 2007, 06:28

Organisers of the Indianapolis race want a long-term deal but Bernie Ecclestone said this week that formula one can live without the US.

Associated Press reports that the famous Motor Speedway’s boss Tony George will meet with F1 supremo Ecclestone this weekend, as the race’s current contract is set to run out.

“I think uncertainty is tough for everybody and more importantly for the fans, from a business standpoint. I think now is the time for discussion of a longer term agreement,” said Joie Chitwood, the Indy circuit’s president.

A mere one year contract to cover 2007 was signed last year, as the fallout of the farcical six-car grand prix in 2005 was still being felt.

76-year-old Ecclestone, meanwhile, hints constantly that he has other options even within the United States, and it is probably no coincidence that India is now boasting about having a grand prix deal for 2009 even though no contract has been signed.

“The problem is that in the States we don’t have that many sponsors, there are no teams and only one driver,” Bernie said.

“There is no mainstream TV coverage and only four races are shown live. Of course F1 would like to be in the United States, but it is not vital. There are bigger markets in other parts of the world.”

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