New Jersey is looking to host a Formula One race as early as 2013 — and not use any tax dollars in the process.
Weehawken Mayor Richard Turner and West New York Mayor Felix Roque announced they are in early discussions with a group of investors led by Leo Hindery, Jr. to stage an annual Grand Prix. It would be a street race with New York City, across the Hudson River, serving as the scenic backdrop.
In a joint statement the mayors said, “It is already clear that the economic impact on our towns and local businesses from this Formula One race could be dramatic, in the order of several hundred million dollars to the region annually. In these uncertain economic times when every direct and indirect revenue source is vital, our own Formula One race could be a very positive boost to our citizens. This said, we need to ensure that the financial benefits from the privilege of having these races in our towns are equitably shared and that no tax dollars are used. The investor group has already told us that our towns would be substantially compensated annually.”
It’s no secret that F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has wanted to stage a race near New York City, in part because of all the corporations headquartered there. Several F1 teams have also expressed interest in having a second race in the U.S. to increase the sport’s exposure in this country.
The inaugural U.S. Grand Prix in Austin is slated to be staged in 2012 and the state, through the Major Events Trust Fund, could provide as much as $25 million a year in support for ten years. Stephen Sigmund, a spokesman for the investment group, said a New Jersey race could work without government incentives.
“There’s a very strong sense that it would be successful,” Sigmund told the American-Statesman Wednesday.
Hindery, the lead investor, is a billionaire well-known in political circles. He’s the founding chairman and former CEO of the YES Network, best-known for televising New York Yankees games. He’s currently managing partner of InterMedia Partners, LP, a private equity fund headquartered in New York City.
Hindery declined a request for an interview from the Statesman Wednesday but said in a statement, “We are fully committed to an open public process, which will include dialogue with residents, elected officials and other key stakeholders.”