Indy to sign new F1 deal?

Far from waving goodbye to the US grand prix, F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone reckons he is shaping up to sign a new contract for five more races at the irked Indianapolis track.

Even after the six-car fiasco, and the fact that the current contract runs out next year, the 74-year-old expressed confidence that Indy will appear on the '06 calendar, and also that Tony George will sign the new deal.

Bernie defended seven teams' decision to boycott the 2005 race on dangerous Michelin tires.

He said: ''If somebody would have been killed it would have been more or less murder.

''Unless something comes up drastic which is going to preclude Tony from putting the event on, I don't see any problems.''

Speedway spokesman Ron Green, though, isn't quite as optimistic. He said the fabled 'Brickyard' venue was moving on after the farcical formula one race 'very cautiously.'

He added that many Indy fans thought F1 had 'tarnished' the Motor Speedway's reputation.

But Ecclestone said: ''We have a contract (and) Tony and I are discussing another five years after that. ''I hope everybody understands … why it all happened.''

His comments coincided with the publication of claim forms entitling Sunday spectators to a full, Michelin-funded US grand prix refund.

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