Jersey race promoter claims they have 15-year F1 deal


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”.

Ferrari teammates Vettel and Raikkonen fastest in rainy final practice at Australian GP

Getty Images
Leave a comment

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Ferrari drivers Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen went one-two in the final practice session ahead of qualifying at the water-logged Australian Grand Prix on Saturday.

Vettel set a best-lap time of 1 minute, 26.067 seconds, more than 2.4 seconds faster than his teammate in second.

Both Ferrari drivers switched from their intermediate tires to the super-fast, ultra-soft tires for the final few laps of the session, testing conditions on the track after a day-long downpour left it slick and filled with small puddles.

Mercedes drivers Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton did not opt to try out their soft tires, sticking to the intermediates for the entire session. They had the seventh- and eighth-fastest times, after topping the leaderboard in practice in dry conditions on Friday.

The heavy rains subsided by early afternoon, allowing the track to rapidly dry during the third practice session and making conditions safe for drivers to test their soft tires.

Still, only a few drivers completed a timed lap with the softer compounds, with Mercedes, Red Bull and most of the others staying with their intermediates.

Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson had the third-fastest time of the session on ultrasoft tires, followed by Red Bull’s Max Verstappen on intermediates.

Hamilton remains the favorite to capture his fifth straight pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in qualifying later Saturday. He had the fastest laps on ultrasoft tires in the two practice sessions on Friday, though Verstappen was right behind him.

Verstappen and Vettel both slid on the slick track early in the third practice session, but maintained control and completed their runs without incident.

Verstappen’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, had the sixth-fastest time of the session. The Australian’s chances of winning his fifth career Grand Prix on his home track in Melbourne took a hit late Friday when he was assessed a three-place grid penalty for Sunday’s race.

The Australian driver was penalized for driving too fast under red-flag conditions during Friday’s second practice session because of debris on the track.