U.S. goes from F1 wasteland to land of promise

Fri Nov 16, 2012 7:21pm EST
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By Steve Keating

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Once a Formula One wasteland, the United States is suddenly being viewed as a land of promise for the world's glamour circuit with F1 commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone calling for up to three races in the U.S.

After a five-year hiatus, F1 makes its long-awaited return to America this weekend, resurrecting the U.S. Grand Prix and along with it hopes that the series may finally be ready to conquer a market it has long coveted.

With the newly constructed $400 million Circuit of the Americas providing the spectacular beach head, a successful race in the Texas capital could pave the way for even more grands prix in the U.S. with possible races in New York and Los Angeles.

F1 teams up and down the Austin paddock could not hide their delight at being back in the U.S. while Ecclestone gushed a new found enthusiasm for a market he had once dismissed.

"The Americas are probably big enough to have five or six grands prix," Ecclestone told reporters. "We're trying to get something sorted out in New Jersey/New York, we've had a lot of requests.

"Maybe we can do something in LA (Los Angeles) in the future.

"It's a shame it (New Jersey) didn't go through as planned, it won't happen in 2013 and hopefully we can resurrect it in 2014."

Unable to find a permanent home, F1 has barnstormed its way around the U.S. with Austin becoming the 10th city to host the series after Sebring (Florida), Riverside (California), Watkins Glen (New York), Phoenix (Arizona), Dallas (Texas), Detroit (Michigan), Las Vegas (Nevada), Long Beach (California) and Indianapolis (Indiana).   Continued...

Sauber Formula One driver Kamui Kobayashi (R) of Japan drives ahead of team mate Sergio Perez of Mexico during the second practice session of the U.S. F1 Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas November 16, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Stone