Formula 1's inaugural race in New Jersey, originally scheduled for next year, has been postponed until 2014.
In an official statement, the GP of America at Port Imperial confirmed Friday that the race has been set back a year "due to ongoing construction issues on the unique riverfront street course." The group remains confident that the race will occur in 2014.
“We are going to be racing at Port Imperial, unfortunately just not as soon as we hoped and expected,” said Leo Hindery Jr., promoter of the event. “We promised Governor [Chris] Christie, the towns, the sport and its international fans the best possible experience, and unfortunately we need additional time to ensure that happens.
The GP of America plans to run on a 3.2-mile street circuit at Port Imperial along the Hudson River and the Palisades in the towns of Weehawken and West New York, N.J., with the New York City skyline as a backdrop.
“We remain 100% committed to the Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial and the race could have no better partner and friend than the CEO of Formula 1, Bernie Ecclestone,” added Hindery. “We benefit greatly from his experience and counsel and from his support.”
The construction issues cited today include the additional time needed for the development of complex Hudson Riverfront facilities and for finishing the second pits and paddock garage on the site. GPA noted that significant progress has been made toward developing the race, including substantial construction of the first garage and other permanent facilities, extensive track engineering and operations planning, hiring of senior staff and partnering with key vendors to manage hospitality, security, ticket sales, transportation planning and operations.
F1 commercial boss Ecclestone, who had suggested several times this summer that the race would have to be delayed, confirmed that construction delays were the reason for the postponement.
"It is not going to happen next year," Ecclestone said. "If they came up with the contract with us and we were satisfied, the question is, could they carry out the work in six months? Winter in New York is not good."
The New Jersey event had been scheduled to take place on June 16, just a week after the Canadian Grand Prix. Due to the flyaway nature of Montreal, it is unlikely that Ecclestone will slot in a replacement in the gap before the next race, which is the British GP on June 30.
That could mean that next year's calendar drops to 19 events, although there have been rumors in recent weeks that Ecclestone could be looking at resurrecting the Turkish Grand Prix.