Another Formula One race has come and gone, and with it came yet another round of doubts about whether the sport will make its highly touted debut in New Jersey next year.
Speaking at Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Nov. 3, F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone told reporters he has "personal doubts" about the races scheduled for New Jersey and Mexico in 2014. Financing shortfalls continue to be the main barrier in the Garden State as the sport's governing body prepares to adopt a final calendar next month, reports said.
"I doubt that it's going to happen," Ecclestone said, according to multiple news outlets that cover auto racing. "It's not definite if it will or it won't, but I doubt if it does."
A spokesman for the New Jersey race organizers said the group doesn't comment on media reports and would have a statement when the World Motor Sports Council announces its final calendar.
The multiyear Hudson County race, known as the Grand Prix of America, already has been postponed once after being organizers planned to debut the event this past June. And it has stayed in the crosshairs of industry observers this year despite being given a provisional spot on the 2014 Formula One calendar, partly because it's slated for a packed three-week stretch of races planned that also includes Monaco and Canada.
This year marked the first time F1 had more than 20 races on its calendar, leading to public complaints by some of the sport's top teams.
And Ecclestone, an unfiltered 83-year-old British business tycoon, has been accused of using the media to put pressure on local organizers, but was proved right last year when the New Jersey race was first scrapped.
"New Jersey won't happen because they still haven't got the finance together for that," Ecclestone said in a Nov. 2 story on Autoweek.com. "I put it on the calendar because they keep telling me it's all going to happen."
The event is currently scheduled for June 1 in Weehawken and West New York, passing through the streets of the Port Imperial development. It has brought great anticipation since first being announced in late 2011, with expectations of drawing more than 100,000 to a three-day event that has the New York City skyline as a backdrop.