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Todt describes Texas GP as ‘just a project’

Jean Todt does not sound confident about formula one’s return to America.

A ten-year contract for a race at a purpose-built circuit in Austin, Texas, was signed recently with F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone.

But some experts are sceptical the organisers can succeed where the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the last US GP venue, failed.

Ecclestone said last week the promoter risks penalties if the debut race is not delivered in 2012, and he is now being quoted as revealing he is in talks about a separate event in New York.

And while a guest of NASCAR at Daytona last weekend, FIA president Todt sounded less than optimistic about F1’s chances in America.

When specifically asked about Austin, the Frenchman told a Fox Sports reporter: “At the moment, it’s just a project.  I don’t think something will happen next year.”

Todt said part of the reason for his US visit was to learn about NASCAR’s success in the US versus formula one.

“Of course, there are reasons why NASCAR is so big in America and why formula one has never really been able so far to do something out here while doing a lot in other countries around the world,” he added.