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F1: 2014 Grand Prix of America is off, says Bernie Ecclestone
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Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that the inaugural Grand Prix of America in New Jersey will not take place as planned next year, saying the organizers have not raised enough money to fund it.

Raced at 19 circuits around the world, F1 generates more than $4bn in revenues annually.

The final 2014 calendar will be approved by motorsport's governing body, the FIA, in December but new races need to have financing in place by now to ensure their plans are on track.

It was recently revealed that the Grand Prix of America organizers appointed investment bank UBS in June to raise $100 million which is required for the race to go ahead.

But Ecclestone told CNN that they have run out of time.

"It's not on the cards for next year," he said, adding that the problem is "they haven't got any money."

The plans are close to Ecclestone's heart as he has been trying to hold a Grand Prix in the New York area since the 1980s. He has already provided more support to the New Jersey race organizers than their rivals usually receive.

After tearing up the original contract last year, Ecclestone signed a new 15-year agreement in May when the organizers agreed to hire Chris Pook, one of his close confidantes and former chief executive of F1's American motorsport rival IndyCar. Pook works alongside Hindery, who was the first investor in the race.

In 2011 Hindery provided the initial $10.3 million investment in race organizing company Port Imperial Racing Associates (PIRA) and obtained an additional $10.1 million loan.

In April this year the F1 Group itself provided the company with a credit facility personally guaranteed by Hindery, but it still needs $100 million to get the green light.

F1 races require a high-octane level of investment. Tracks typically cost over $250 million to build, but using public roads avoids this expense.

The downside is that there is no asset for investment to be secured on, so the budget for street races is usually supplemented with state funding. However, Hindery has confirmed that no public money will be used in the project.

The race is part of F1's strategy to break into the lucrative United States market, which is dominated by local rivals NASCAR and IndyCar.

Gaining a foothold there is understood to be an important part of revving up the stalled plans to float F1 on the Singapore stock exchange.

Stateside television coverage of F1 moved this year to the sports division of NBC, the oldest major broadcast network in the U.S., and the U.S. Grand Prix returned to the calendar in 2012 after a five-year hiatus.

It takes place in Austin, Texas, and a further race in California is also under consideration.

Losing the New Jersey race could cost F1 more than $375 million across the duration of its contract, as the annual fee has been estimated at $25 million with a small escalation every year.

However, the investment opportunity overview produced by UBS in June states that the Grand Prix of America contract gives the organizers "exclusivity for all F1 races across the northeast corridor" so the vacant calendar slot could be filled by another new race in the area.

Ecclestone is also known to be in discussion about a Grand Prix in Mexico City, which would also plug the gap left by New Jersey.

Meanwhile, in other F1 news Friday, world champion Sebastian Vettel set the fastest time in practice for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa.

Vettel recorded a time of one minute 49.331 seconds, just edging Red Bull teammate Mark Webber by 0.059 seconds.

Romain Grosjean, in third for Lotus, was almost a second slower in the afternoon session, while Britain's Lewis Hamilton, who won the previous round in Hungary for Mercedes was only 12th quickest.

Vettel achieved his time despite missing the last 20 minutes of the session with a rear puncture which left the tire shredded.

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso of Spain was quickest in the morning runs for Ferrari in wet conditions.

Saturday sees final qualifying for Sunday's race, with three-time defending champion Vettel defending a 38 point lead over Grosjean's teammate Kimi Raikkonen of Finland in the title race.


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