Commercial Contract Law Dispute between Bernie Ecclestone and US Grand Prix organisers

In the wake of revelations of a commercial contract law dispute between Ecclestone and US circuit developers, the likelihood of Formula 1 returning to America has looked increasingly uncertain in recent weeks.

Bernie Ecclestone has given United States Grand Prix organisers a final deadline to prove they have the finances in place to stage next year’s scheduled race.

Owing to a commercial contract law dispute over the race-hosting, construction work on Austin’s new Formula 1 circuit had been suspended. Site workers were told to down tools “until a contract assuring the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix will be held at Circuit of The Americas in 2012 is complete”.

CoTA officials have announced that they are now in a position to pay the sanctioning fee required by Formula One Management. In a new twist to the ongoing saga, CoTA officials have said that if Ecclestone wanted to confirm the 2012 event he must countersign their modified contact. Ecclestone has been accused of demanding “unrealistic and unfeasible” terms.

CoTA has signed and returned its own version of the contract issued by Ecclestone, his thoughts on this unusual counter offer are not known. COTA’s Bobby Epstein has said that “We have been ready to send Mr. Ecclestone a sanctioning fee cheque for some time now,” he added. “He hasn’t received it yet because the new contract presented to us two weeks ago contained unrealistic and unfeasible demands. We have signed and returned a contract similar to what we anticipated receiving”.

Race promoters Full Throttle Productions have made it clear that the onus is on the circuit organisers to settle the commercial contract law dispute with F1. “After years of effort in getting F1 to Austin, Full Throttle Productions and city, county and state officials have done all we could,” the firm said in a statement. “It is the responsibility of Circuit of the Americas to bring it across the finish line. For the sake of everyone, we are hopeful that they can reach an agreement with Formula 1.”

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