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JULY 19, 2003

Another US Grand Prix?

There was some speculation in the Formula 1 paddock on Saturday that an announcement is coming about a second Grand Prix in the United States of America and the expected arrival of Chris Pook, the boss of CART, at Silverstone on Sunday added to the rumors.

Pook has just come through a CART board meeting at which major decisions may have been taken regarding the future of the US series. Stories in recent days have indicated that there are several potential bidders to buy the company and take it off the New York Stock Exchange. These include Gerry Forsythe, Craig Pollock and his backer Kevin Kalkhoven, Paul Gentilozzi, Bernie Ecclestone or perhaps a combination of one or more of the above.

However our sources say that the appearance of Pook is unrelated to CART and rather linked to a second United States race in San Francisco. We hear that a race is being planned for a parkland circuit in the southern part of the city, which would be based on the concept developed in Albert Park in Melbourne. Whether this race would be run by Pook is not clear but it is likely to be three or four years before the track could be ready. Pook is under contract to CART only until the end of next year.

It is anticipated that details of the plan will be revealed by Bernie Ecclestone on Sunday at Silverstone.

Ecclestone has been interested in a race in San Francisco since the 1980s and in 1998 the city's mayor Willy Brown visited the Monaco Grand Prix. Talks involving Pook continued for a couple of years with a variety of sites being considered but then the idea faded after Indianapolis announced its deal to host the United States GP.