Formula One calendar's approval doesn't settle questions over N.J. race
Next year’s Formula One race in New Jersey is on the 2013 calendar that was approved today by an international governing body for auto racing, but the event still seems to be subject to confirmation amid questions about its promoters’ ability to finance it.
At a meeting held today in Paris, the World Motor Sports Council confirmed the 2013 schedule for the global racing circuit, according to a news release from the organization. The New Jersey date of June 16 was among the 20 races on the calendar, but is the only one marked as “TBC,” or to be confirmed.
The news release did not offer other details about the calendar or the race, the first of 10 annual Grand Prix events slated to be held in Hudson County. In a separate news release sent by the organizers, Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial, chief promoter Leo Hindery Jr. touted the race’s placement on the schedule, saying he was “proud that years of hard work have brought us to this point, and we look forward to bringing world-class Formula One racing to New Jersey.”
The date first appeared last week, as media outlets obtained a provisional calendar for 2013. But the race once again became clouded in doubt, as it had for months, as F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone told the Guardian newspaper the promoters have missed deadlines and did not yet have a contract.
Yet the organizers have steadfastly held that the weekend-long event is on schedule. The race is expected to draw 100,000 people daily to Weehawken and West New York, where the 3-mile course will be constructed on public roadways.
“The support we have had from elected officials … a committed property developer and a great management team has been incredible,” said Hindery, a racer and former YES Network CEO, in a statement. “They have stuck by us through this process and we owe them our thanks.”
In an e-mail, a spokesman for Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial said “new races are often shown as ‘to be confirmed,’ pending items like final documentation and track checks.”
The course will run largely through the master-planned Port Imperial development, which is owned by Roseland Property Co. The firm has spent several months customizing parts of the property, including a planned parking garage, to accommodate the race.
Carl J. Goldberg, Roseland’s managing partner, said today he believes “without any ambiguity, the race is on.” He noted that the promoters have continued to make payments “timely and promptly” each month for the customization work, including a payment as recently as Thursday.
“It’s hard for me, from my vantage point, to see any ambiguity,” he said. “The people from New Jersey are literally spending in excess of a million dollars a month, and continue to do so, to provide these specialized features on the property to facilitate the race.”