U.S. Grand Prix will happen, says Ecclestone

Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:28am EST
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By Alan Baldwin

LONDON (Reuters) - Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone expects next year's U.S. Grand Prix in Austin to go ahead, despite lingering doubts about state funding, but is less certain about the sport finding new owners in the near future.

"It will be (on), for sure, they will sort their finances out," the 85-year-old said in a wide-ranging post-season interview with Sky Sports television.

The Oct. 23 race in Texas, the only round in the United States and important for teams and sponsors, is on the 2016 calendar with an asterisk against it as subject to agreement with the commercial rights holder.

Ecclestone expressed concern last month after media reports that Texas state subsidies were being reduced by more than 20 percent to around $19.5 million. Bad weather this year also hit revenues significantly.

On Formula One's future ownership, Ecclestone indicated a change might not be as imminent as some expected.

There has been takeover talk for months and he was quoted recently by German daily Handelsblatt as saying controlling shareholders CVC Capital partners were likely to decide by March.

However he told Sky that CVC, whose co-chairman Donald Mackenzie has been a regular presence at races, would take some persuading.

"The bottom line is simple: in the end, the major shareholder really doesn't want to sell. That's really the truth of things," he said.   Continued...

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone speaks to the media at the paddock area ahead of the Russian F1 Grand Prix in Sochi, Russia, October 9, 2015. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov