At the time of the January announcement, he looked to be an ideal candidate to drum up interest in the New Jersey Grand Prix. A long-time motorsport PR and writer with connections throughout the American media – not least to Clear Channel Communication, who bought Cotter Group, his motorsport PR agency, in 2000 – Cotter had exactly the sort of Rolodex the race organisers needed.
But now the New York native has elected to return to North Carolina, where his home and business are based. For the past nine months, Cotter has been dividing his time between the NASCAR heartland and the banks of the Hudson River, where he was responsible for “executing the contract” to bring F1 to the northeastern Atlantic seaboard.
No replacement for Cotter has been named. Instead, his duties will be carried out by Richard Goldschmidt, assistant to Hindery, and Dennis Robinson, the race’s chief operations officer. It seems slightly odd not to replace a high-ranked employee, but given that Cotter’s role was largely to do with ensuring the demands of the contract with FOM were adhered to, and that the NJ race organisers are up to date with their payments, it could be that there’s not a whole lot left to be done.
Oh, except finish constructing a temporary racetrack, keep local residents happy when they raise concerns about transport and noise, keep on paying contractors and suppliers, and ensure that there’s enough money rolling in to pay for it all. Sounds like a doddle, doesn’t it?
“I have full faith in the Grand Prix of America team and look forward to sitting in the grandstands at a world-class race in 2013,” Cotter was quoted as saying in the statement confirming his departure.
“We’re all thankful for Tom’s leadership in bringing Formula One to Port Imperial,” Leo Hindery Jr. said in the same statement. “During his stewardship we’ve made great progress and are less than a year away from the sport’s top racers speeding around a street course with New York City in the background. We wish our friend Tom the best as he returns home to North Carolina.”