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Bernie on F1 in America

IN a recent interview Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has said that he expects there to be a decision within the next three months as to whether there will be a United States Grand Prix in 1999. Bernie said that there are currently several projects being discussed, including one in Dallas, another at Road Atlanta and a third somewhere in northern California. He also admitted that discussions are continuing for a semi-permanent circuit in Las Vegas.

Logic would dictate that the northern California track should be Laguna Seca, near Monterey, which best fits the kind of image which F1 would like to portray in America, but it may be a semi-permanent track on Treasure Island, in San Francisco Bay. This would be a hazardous location given the famous fogs which plague the bay.

The suggestion that there might be a semi-permanent track in Las Vegas is interesting as we have heard vague stories of a plan to build a golf course in the city which could be converted into a race track once a year. Las Vegas is in great need of golf courses, several have disappeared as a result of the growth of the casinos on the Strip and if carefully designed, could easily include a racing circuit with all the necessary buildings and foundations for temporary grandstands. The principle has been effectively used in Albert Park, Melbourne.

Bernie refused to say which was the most likely project to succeed but did say that there are no plans to hold races at any oval facilities, which presumably rules out the idea of a Grand Prix on the infield at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

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