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Planned New Jersey F1 race looks doubtful again

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone (R) is pictured during the third practice session of the Hungarian F1 Grand Prix at the Hungaroring ci
Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone (R) is pictured during the third practice session of the Hungarian F1 Grand Prix at the Hungaroring ci

By Alan Baldwin

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (Reuters) - Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone says he has not written off a planned grand prix in New Jersey next year despite increasing doubts about the chances of it going ahead after being postponed once already.

"They have a contract. So if they comply with the contract the race will take place. We would be very, very happy if it does," the Briton told Reuters at the Belgian Grand Prix on Saturday.

"They have got conditions and they know what the conditions are," he added.

Ecclestone was quoted earlier by CNN as saying that the inaugural Grand Prix of the Americas, which would have New York's Manhattan skyline as a backdrop, was "not on the cards for next year" because local organizers "haven't got any money".

The 82-year-old added that it was similar to a failed project to take the British Grand Prix from Silverstone to Donington Park.

"It is such a muddle and a mess that it is not worth doing," he was quoted as saying.

Asked by Reuters whether he had effectively written it off, he replied: "No, no."

He said he did not know what the financial situation was but "if they haven't got any money it won't happen for sure.

"I don't look into their bank accounts so I don't know whether they've got the money or not," he added. "Or what conditions they have to raise the money in."

Ecclestone has a potential 21 races jostling for space on the 2014 calendar with the majority of teams preferring a maximum of 20.

This year has 19 races after New Jersey postponed its scheduled debut.

Sochi, Russia's Black Sea resort that hosts next year's Winter Olympics, has also been penciled in for 2014 with Austria making a comeback, while India will be dropped.

Increasing doubts have been raised about the New Jersey project, which relies upon raising private funding rather than any state subsidy.

The United States already has a grand prix, at a purpose-built circuit in Austin, Texas, that made its debut last year to general acclaim, but a second would be welcomed by teams and sponsors.

CNN quoted Grand Prix of America spokesman Alex Howe saying they expected the race to go ahead.

"We don't comment on financial matters but we are on track for 2014 and will have a statement following the announcement of the official 2014 FIA Formula One World Championship schedule," he said.

(Editing by John O'Brien)

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