How Plan for F1 in NY/NJ Stalled in Stretch

ferrari_formula_1

(from Sports Business Journal, October 29, 2012) “We’ll get to that at some point,” New Jersey Governor Chris Christie told The (Newark) Star-Ledger, “it’s going to happen in 2014. If that gives them the time to do it in the right way, make sure it’s done correctly and safely, then that’s good.”

Christie is referring to Formula One, one of the world’s most popular motorsports. Christie and Leo Hindery made an announcement stating F1’s agreement to come to New Jersey in 2013. As the expected year approaches, Hindery and others check to ensure all is going smoothly. After a press conference with Christie, Hindery issued a statement saying the race would be delayed until 2014 due to construction issues.

It is unclear which construction issues hold the project back, but money is a likely culprit. One of Formula One’s top executives, Bernie Ecclestone, is certain Hindery failed to raise money and got behind on payments.

Few people were willing to talk about the postponement. Zac Brown, founder of Just Marketing International, comments, “In Formula One, 99% of the time its economics that are holding it back. Money has a way of solving things.”

Wayne Hasenbalg, former Deputy Chief of Staff to Christie who now serves as the CEO of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, said, “We believed it was a done deal for 2013. We knew Formula One still had to put it on the calendar. We knew Leo still had a lot of work to do, but we had great confidence.”

As the group neared a close to the deal, Ecclestone made a public comment questioning the opening of the Grand Prix of America race in 2013. The comments scared potential sponsors, hurting economics furthermore.

Although many investors are left disappointed, the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority is “plowing ahead” as though the event is happening in 2013.