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F1 chief's comments raise concern North Jersey race may again stall

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The Formula One race slated for Hudson County appears to be hanging by a thread once again — if not scrapped altogether for a second time — after new public comments by the top executive of the international racing circuit.

In a story posted today, F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone told CNN the highly touted race is "not on the cards for next year" because organizers "haven't got any money" — the same problem that reportedly derailed the inaugural event this year. The report said the governing body for auto racing will approve the final F1 calendar in December, but new races need to have secured financing by now to ensure their spot on schedule.

Alex Howe, a spokesman for the local organizers, said in a statement the group doesn't comment on financial matters, "but we are on track for 2014." He said the Grand Prix of America would have a comment after the release of the F1 schedule, echoing a statement from last month, when an Ecclestone confidante also cast doubts on the race.

The public sparring is reminiscent of last year, when months of speculation about funding woes clashed with claims of being on track, leading to the postponement of this summer's race. In October, organizers cited "ongoing construction issues on the unique riverfront street course" when they pushed the event to 2014.

The Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial was set to take place over 10 years in Weehawken and West New York, with the Hudson waterfront and Manhattan as a backdrop, following a high-profile announcement nearly two years ago by Gov. Chris Christie. The governor has been adamant that the race would receive no public subsidies.

In June, organizers here appointed investment bank UBS to raise $100 million for the race, according to today's CNN report.

Joshua Burd

Joshua Burd

Josh Burd covers real estate, economic development and sports and entertainment. Before joining NJBIZ in 2011, he spent four years as a metro reporter in Central Jersey. His email is joshb@njbiz.com and he is @JoshBurdNJ on Twitter.

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