F1 champion Sebastian Vettel happy with New Jersey circuit

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer

Sebastian Vettel has given a thumbs up to the new track in New Jersey after testing it in a road car.

The Red Bull driver said the street circuit, set for a 2013 debut, reminded him of the revered Spa track in Belgium but "with less trees, more houses".

"When I saw the hill and a left-handed downhill corner, it reminded me a bit of Spa," the world champion said.

"It should be a very good track. I am looking forward to driving around it in my car and seeing how it feels."

The 2.3-mile trackexternal-link starts along the Hudson River with views of the Manhattan skyline, before climbing up a hill and through a wooded section before descending back to the shoreline.

Vettel said: "The change of elevation is something we really enjoy. A street circuit is always special.

"It's always very technical. You have these bumps built in and even if you resurface the track, you still have these bumps but it's part of the track.

"It gives the circuit a bit of soul and it's good for us for orientation and even if it feels rough it belongs to the circuit."

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone told BBC Sport last month that the race might not happen next year as planned.

"Maybe the New York race will be 2013," he said. "It's if they're going to finish everything - it's a case of when."

And he reiterated his doubts to ESPN two weeks ago,external-link saying: "I don't know if it is going to happen. I hope everything will be OK. They are sorting things out internally with some of their funds. If they are ready for 2013 we will have them."

But the chief executive of the New Jersey race, Leo Hindery, said that there were no doubts about the Grand Prix taking place next year.

"I don't know where these rumours are coming from, but this race is going forward," he said.

"If we had any doubt, we wouldn't have brought Sebastian and all these people here."

The New Jersey race, which will be called the Grand Prix of America, will be the second new race in the USA, which returns to the calendar this year for the first time since 2007.

The first event, the United States Grand Prix, will be held on 18 November on a new purpose-built track in Austin, Texas.

Work is continuing in Austin to ensure the track is ready on time and it was visited this week by FIA race director Charlie Whiting.

"It is clear that the significant resources Circuit of the Americas has committed to completing this facility on time and to FIA specifications is making a difference," Whiting said in a statement released by organisers.

"More than 500 construction workers on site daily are making great progress, and I plan to return to Austin at the end of August for an update.

"My formal pre-race inspection is set for 25 September, which is 60 days before the scheduled start of the United States Grand Prix."