Jersey race promoter claims they have 15-year F1 deal

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The organizers of the planned F1 race in New Jersey say they have agreed a new 15-year contract with Bernie Ecclestone to host the race from next season.

The event, dubbed the Jersey Grand Prix, was given a place on the 2013 calendar last year but was cancelled when it became clear the venue would not be ready in time.

“Bernie was 100 percent correct in that we hadn’t satisfied his demands and we didn’t have a binding contract in place, and he had every right to question our ability to get it done,” said Leo Hindery, the former racing driver behind the proposal, to the Star-Ledger.

“And as we told Governor [Chris] Christie, we were going to do it without any money from the state or the towns, and that made it very difficult. And it took us longer.”

Proposals for a 19-turn, 3.2-mile street course on the bank of the Hudson River were revealed last May. Race promoters visited the Canadian Grand Prix last weekend to meet with Ecclestone.

“We’re going to go racing sometime in June 2014,” Hindery added.

The Port Imperial race organizers recently announced the hiring of former Long Beach Grand Prix promoter Chris Pook as Bindery’s special assistant. Marty Hunt, the former director of facilities at the Circuit of the Americas, became their director of race operations last week.

Ecclestone said last month a final decision on the race would not be taken for “another couple of months”.

Hamilton: Abu Dhabi ‘the last race with good-looking cars’ in F1

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Lewis Hamilton believes that this weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will be remembered as the last race with good-looking Formula 1 cars ahead of the introduction of the ‘Halo’ cockpit protection for next year.

Officials from the FIA and F1 Strategy Group confirmed earlier this year that the Halo would be fitted to all cars from the 2018 season in a bid to improve safety standards, with the deaths of Justin Wilson and Jules Bianchi putting head protection high on the agenda for the series’ chiefs.

Hamilton has long made his opposition to the Halo clear, believing it will ruin the look of F1 cars, and echoed his thoughts ahead of the final Halo-less race in Abu Dhabi this weekend.

“It’s the last year of looking good I think in the cars. It’s the last race where the cars will look good,” Hamilton said.

“I think next year, it’s all downhill from there in terms of how they look.

“But safety will go up at least, and maybe it could be successful in some way.”

Hamilton’s F1 title rival Sebastian Vettel was less bothered about the change, believing the field will adjust and move on.

“The cars will look different next year. Everything I’ve seen so far looks different, but on the other hand it is something we all get used to,” Vettel said.

“But no doubt the cars look better now, but we’ll get used to it, and we’ll work on the aesthetics so it can be better. It is less of a big deal.”

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo shared Vettel’s view, saying: “I don’t think it’s gonna be as dramatic as most people make it out to be.”