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F1 can't be big in US - Bernie

2011-12-18 07:46

LONDON, England - Formula 1 will continue to be viewed as a minority sport by Americans even though the US is due to host GP's a year from 2013.

That's the view of the sport's kingpin, Bernie Ecclestone, who said the US, absent from the F1 calendar since Indianapolis in 2007, would return to the schedule in 2012 with a new race at Austin, Texas. A second street-circuit GP is planned for New Jersey.

'MAXIMUM OF TWO'

He also mentioned that South Africa would be on the calendar in 2013.

Ecclestone, asked by TV interviewer David Frost on Al Jazeera if he expected F1 to be big in America 10 years hence, replied: " "No. We have a maximum of two races in America - when you consider the country is as big as Europe and we have several races in Europe, it's difficult.

"If we had a lot more US races and a lot more TV it would be OK. They want to see a profit before they start something and it's not easy to do that."

The Briton said he was disappointed that Turkey would miss the 20-race 2012 calendar and hinted strongly that South Africa would host a grand prix in 2013.

PLENTY OF POTENTIAL

"I was talking to someone this morning about Turkey," the 81-year-old saaid. "It's a pity we've lost that - I think it is one of those countries that's going to really move on in the world and that's why I went there in the first place."

Ecclestone said there were plenty of potential new GP hosts but didn't wanat to extend the calendar beyond 20 races.

"We have enough countries waiting (to come on board) but I think we have to stop now," he said. "It's difficult for the people who work in F1 with all the travelling. They never see their families."