Formula One Grand Prix coming to Texas after all
A deal to bring the inaugural United States Grand Prix to the Texas capital was ironed out this week and the race is scheduled for Nov. 18, 2012.
In an email to the Austin American-Statesman, F1 Chief Bernie Ecclestone confirmed that a deal had been hashed out with investors in the new Circuit of the Americas.
“Yes, there will be a race there,” Ecclestone said. “We hope it will be for 10 years.”
Circuit officials told the American-Statesman they had reached the agreement with F1 officials hours before the World Motor Sports Council met in New Delhi to approve the 2012 F1 racing calendar.
“Mr. Ecclestone received his check today for the USGP. We want to thank the fans supporting us, the local officials and businesses that have encouraged us, the state of Texas, Circuit of The Americas’ staff and Bernie himself,” Red McCombs, chairman of McCombs Enterprises and a founding partner in the circuit, said in a statement. “I want to thank and commend Bobby Epstein for getting us across the finish line. Bobby’s perseverance and leadership kept the project on track despite unfair and unfounded criticism.”
Three weeks ago, Austin’s Grand Prix deal seemed so uncertain, officials halted work on the $300-million circuit near the capital.
At the time, Ecclestone said Formula One’s contract with Full Throttle Productions and promoter Tavo Hellmund had been canceled, and that the race was in jeopardy. Meanwhile, Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said $25 million in annual state incentive funds would not be paid to F1 in advance of a race.
Now, a spokesman for the track has told the American-Statesman that construction on the 3.4-mile circuit will resume immediately.
Next year's race will mark the return of F1 to the United States after a five-year absence after Indianapolis’ eight years of F1 races ended in 2007. New Jersey has also announced an F1 race using a temporary street circuit planned for 2013.
The Austin circuit also plans to host races other than F1, including motorcycling’s MotoGP series and the Australian V8 Supercars, both beginning in 2013.
--Molly Hennessy-Fiske in Los Angeles
Video: Construction underway in August on a Formula One track in Austin, Texas, was back on track this week after investors reached an agreement with F1 officials. Credit: Autovoce