US Grand Prix in Austin, TX dead in the water

Just a few weeks after the announcement that a second Grand Prix in the United States would be held in New Jersey, overlooking New York, Bernie Ecclestone announces that the Austin Grand Prix faces the axe over contracts and guarantees of funding! But I think that there is more to it than that, Ecclestone has made it no secret that he wanted a race in New York and now that he has one, NJ is just across the Hudson river, suddenly Austin has fallen by the wayside!

Apparently the original promoter, Tavo Hellmund and his Full Throttle Promotions did sign a contract which was cancelled due to non-payment of fees, seems Hellmund wanted out as he is reported to be happy with the contract cancellation! Then COTA (Circuit of the Americas), e.g. the track developers wanted to take over but couldn’t provide proof of funding according to Bernie Ecclestone and COTA has responded saying they have not received a contract. Meanwhile the local Austin city government who were going to pay the $25m sanctioning fee said they will not pay the money until after the event due to the second United States Grand Prix in New Jersey.

I can see the point of the Austin city government, with a second US Grand Prix, the financial incentives are much less. The F1 following in the US isn’t huge considering it’s population and how many of those F1 followers actually have the means to attend a GP? I would think that many people in the United States will elect for a trip to the bright lights of New York instead of Austin, Texas.

This is just another debacle that lowers the stock of F1 in my opinion, and just strengthened my point that a track should be completed and the sanctioning fee paid before the country/circuit is added to the calendar and contracts signed. I believe it’s stupid to sanction an event before the track has even been designed, let alone built, it’s even more stupid when there are plenty of great circuits already built in the United States, it would be simpler and quicker to modernise an existing track than build a whole new one! I’m fed up of Tilke designed snorefests! It’s a fact that traditional circuits such as Silverstone, Spa, Monza and Interlagos provide the best racing!

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