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Title: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: stealthhaggis on May 25, 2010, 08:09:35 PM
What the....?

US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012

Posted on | May 25, 2010 | by | No Comments

Tonight the official F1 website has announced that the United States Grand Prix is to return to the calendar in 2012 in Austin, Texas.

The deal runs through to 2021 and the promoters are going to create a purpose built facility to host the event. Austin is a thriving “It” city in the USA with a strong technology sector and a dynamic reputation.

F1 has been hunting around for years for a purpose built track in the USA, along the lines of what we see in Bahrain, China or Abu Dhabi. Recently there has been a lot of chatter about a US GP returning with New Jersey being touted and more recently Monticello in upstate New York. It seems that Eccletsone has had a lot of irons in the fire hoping that one of them would come good.

The Texas deal flies in the face of the received wisdom that in order to succeed in the USA a race needs to be held wither near New York or in California, close to fans of European cars or large expatriate communities, especially Italian.

In addition to the promoter Full Throttle Productions, the event seems to enjoy some backing from state government, possibly along the lines of the “shared risk” business model which has worked well in Singapore where a local government works alongside a promoter and underwrites the major expenses, to the point at which it becomes profitable.

The announcement indicates that this project has been underway for “several years” and Austin appears to be the first past the post.

A US Grand Prix is considered essential for a sport which considers itself truly global. For many of the manufacturers and companies involved in the sport it is the number one market.

There is a major push to bring the USA under the F1 umbrella. The failure of the USF1 team was an embarrassment, but now it seems that there are efforts to resurrect the idea of an American team and You Tube founder Chad Hurley is still linked with this.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has a better idea, he believes. He said in an interview today that he dreams of a third Ferrari in the stars and stripes colours.

http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2010/05/us-grand-prix-shock-race-to-be-held-in-texas-in-2012/ (http://www.jamesallenonf1.com/2010/05/us-grand-prix-shock-race-to-be-held-in-texas-in-2012/)
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: John S on May 25, 2010, 08:17:15 PM

Yeah it's all true here is the formula1.com link. 

http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2010/5/10824.html (http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2010/5/10824.html)


Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: stealthhaggis on May 25, 2010, 08:21:52 PM
I see, so Bernie was playing darts with a map of America then?! Finally got a cluster of them in Texas! Fair enough Bernie, I'm guessing HT will give us another boring techno-track?!
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: Scott on May 25, 2010, 08:26:01 PM
I wonder if it will be another point and spit city course, since the closest thing they have there to racing is a go-kart track.
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: Williamsfan on May 25, 2010, 09:02:16 PM
Apparently it will be a purpose built facility for F1.  Sounds interesting, then you remember Tilke is probably involved somewhere.  Still, it is great F1 is returning to the US!
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: lkjohnson1950 on May 25, 2010, 09:14:27 PM
Well, well. Austin is a beautiful and fairly hip town, but it doesn't strike me as F1 friendly. This is in a state that sells out NASCAR, but can't give away IRL tickets at the same track. The idea of the ultra conservative Texas government being in on it boggles the mind. Let's hope they use one of the American designers and not Tilke, but why oh why doesn't someone drop some of this money that seems to be floating around on a great track that's already established? The Glen, Road America, or Laguna would be fabulous places for F1.

Lonny
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: Jericoke on May 25, 2010, 11:24:59 PM
Can't say I'd have predicted that.

They did have a race in Dallas for a few years, didn't they?

I hope it works out though.
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: Dare on May 26, 2010, 02:07:58 AM
In case Bernie hasn't noticed it get
blistering hot in Texas and a better
reason for Indy is it's close to Cos and me
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: Williamsfan on May 26, 2010, 08:32:16 AM
I wonder how much of this decision is down to like minded individuals from Texas who don't care one iota about racing but do love the $$$ coming in. 
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: cosworth151 on May 26, 2010, 12:24:41 PM
Austin is a beautiful city. It's Riverwalk is an absolute gem. The semi-official city motto is "Keep Austin Weird."

That said, it's no place for an F1 race. If they have it in the summer, paired up with Montreal, it will be blisteringly hot and humid. I'm sure the very large Green community down there is gearing up to protest it already. Besides that, there's no track there!

Donnington will have an F1 race before Austin does!
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: cosworth151 on May 26, 2010, 01:23:05 PM
A quote from The Dwarf of Doom:

Quote
It was thirty years ago that the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ was last held on a purpose-built permanent road course circuit in Watkins Glen, NY

What about the eight races at Indy, you greedy little git?
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: Jericoke on May 26, 2010, 01:43:48 PM
In case Bernie hasn't noticed it get
blistering hot in Texas and a better
reason for Indy is it's close to Cos and me

Probably still cooler than Malaysia, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain or Jerez in July.  Not to mention the Indian GP.

I'd rather see Indy though.  (Closer to me too!)
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: cosworth151 on May 26, 2010, 01:53:40 PM
Not only do they not have a track, they don't even have a place to build a track!

http://formula-one.speedtv.com/article/f1-austin-promoter-still-looking-for-site/ (http://formula-one.speedtv.com/article/f1-austin-promoter-still-looking-for-site/)
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: Jericoke on May 26, 2010, 02:25:05 PM
Not only do they not have a track, they don't even have a place to build a track!

http://formula-one.speedtv.com/article/f1-austin-promoter-still-looking-for-site/ (http://formula-one.speedtv.com/article/f1-austin-promoter-still-looking-for-site/)

Texas is bigger than most countries that hold F1 races.  I'm sure they can find land. 

As for a construction crew, I hear that BP has a bunch of engineers in the area who are going to find themselves without a job in the very near future...
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: John S on May 26, 2010, 03:03:52 PM

As for a construction crew, I hear that BP has a bunch of engineers in the area who are going to find themselves without a job in the very near future...

Ooh! That's a low blow to us Brits Jeri. :o  As far as I'm aware it is other companies contracting to BP that have caused the problem, but as the well owners they get stuck with all the grief and costs. I also believe they have not ducked the responsibility even as it's set to become a huge black hole in their finances.



Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: Scott on May 26, 2010, 03:12:53 PM
Ooh! That's a low blow to us Brits Jeri. :o  As far as I'm aware it is other companies contracting to BP that have caused the problem, but as the well owners they get stuck with all the grief and costs. I also believe they have not ducked the responsibility even as it's set to become a huge black hole in their finances.

No question it was the contractors, but I've read that the pressure to proceed regardless of safety issues that were brought up came from on high (NPR's all over it).  I guess BP's going to have to re-think their marketing campaign...maybe change their colour?   :DntKnw:
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: cosworth151 on May 26, 2010, 05:08:55 PM
BP also had a huge explosion at one of their refineries in Texas a few years ago. 15 dead & 175 injured. It was traced to negligence on their part.
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: John S on May 26, 2010, 05:38:44 PM

Perhaps BP are going to fund the US GP project as a way of regaining hearts & minds in Texas then, I seem to remember Shell putting money behind Schumi & Ferrari to try to improve their image in Germany after Green activists forced a climbdown by them about a giant oil platform they were going to scuttle.

Bringing the thread back on topic I found this quote, giving more substance and approval to the choice of Austin, in the public responses to "The Editors view" on ESPN F1.com, today :-

 Austin, while way off the radar of F1, is actually an excellent choice. I live nearby and know the area, and it is perfect. There is a very robust trasnportation infrastructure, and it is within a 3 hour drive of 4 MAJOR metropolitain areas, all with at least one major international airport and lots of hotels.

Austin itself, as well as the surrounding area, is a fantasic tourist destination. This if nothing else will help it be more succesful than Indy. Why else would you go there besides racing? With this you can take the whole family and everyone will have something there they are happy with, great shopping, world-class nightlife, lots of scenic areas, wine tasting, etc.

As for the location, I can gaurantee that it will be somewhere around the south-east of the airport. First, it is close to the airport, and second it is all farmland that can be bought fairly easily (or at least easier than anything already developed.) As for Tilke, I will be amazed if he isn't designing it.  - posted by Chris, Today

Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: cosworth151 on May 26, 2010, 05:51:17 PM
One of the problems with Austin would be the road network. It is one of the few major cities in the country that doesn't have an outer belt. I've spent many hours stuck in traffic on I-95 in downtown Austin.

This report from AutoWeek makes the whole deal sound even murkier.

http://www.autoweek.com/article/20100525/F1/100529832 (http://www.autoweek.com/article/20100525/F1/100529832)
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: Jericoke on May 26, 2010, 06:02:59 PM

Bringing the thread back on topic I found this quote, giving more substance and approval to the choice of Austin, in the public responses to "The Editors view" on ESPN F1.com, today :-

 Austin, while way off the radar of F1, is actually an excellent choice. I live nearby and know the area, and it is perfect. There is a very robust trasnportation infrastructure, and it is within a 3 hour drive of 4 MAJOR metropolitain areas, all with at least one major international airport and lots of hotels.

Austin itself, as well as the surrounding area, is a fantasic tourist destination. This if nothing else will help it be more succesful than Indy. Why else would you go there besides racing? With this you can take the whole family and everyone will have something there they are happy with, great shopping, world-class nightlife, lots of scenic areas, wine tasting, etc.

As for the location, I can gaurantee that it will be somewhere around the south-east of the airport. First, it is close to the airport, and second it is all farmland that can be bought fairly easily (or at least easier than anything already developed.) As for Tilke, I will be amazed if he isn't designing it.  - posted by Chris, Today


So what tracks 'work' and which ones don't?

I think it's safe to say Turkey doesn't work.  Is it the nightlife?  The shopping?

How about Silverstone?  I don't actually know where Silverstone is, does it have a jumping nightlife?  Is there plenty of shopping?  I don't think that's what makes Silverstone a great place to race.

As for the 'three hour drive to major metropolitan centres', I'm not going to a GP anywhere so I can drive 6 hours to buy a fancy purse and an expensive drink.

I think Austin's main attributes are the cheap land, and corporate sponsorship.  A lot of people willing to put down money to entertain their guests means a lot of tickets sold, even if they're not race fans.  In this context, I'm picturing something like Shanghai... new and exciting sellouts give way to empty stands that still don't care about open wheel racing.

As for Tilke... I'm going to guess he's booked solid for at least 18 months, they can't wait for his firm to make a track.  They'll probably subcontract whoever builds the ovals for NASCAR/IRL.  Hopefully they can get it right.

Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: John S on May 26, 2010, 07:28:59 PM

How about Silverstone?  I don't actually know where Silverstone is, does it have a jumping nightlife?  Is there plenty of shopping?  I don't think that's what makes Silverstone a great place to race.


Silverstone itself is a village that gets swamped for the F1 race. It's not the frills that British fans come for, some would be nice though - one day eh, as we have a long history of supporting F1 so we suffer anything just to be there. Because of the huge audience for motor/motor cycle racing and F1 in particular if a new track was built in Britain and it is a better class of track, especially if spectators are offered a view of over half the track because of the topography, then I'm sure the tickets would sell out even faster wherever it might be located. Silverstone can be a bit restrictive and like a lot of tracks you can usually only get a quarter or less of the track in view from your seat and there are no great elevation changes for variety.

With new venues and especially in areas like the US where razzamataz and plenty going on is a prerequisite for any sporting occassion other factors come into play so an exciting destination city may help shift the tickets to first time F1 racegoers. With the history at Indy itself nothing else is required as racegoers trust the Indy speedway brand, but Indy ruled itself out a couple of years ago so the circus moves on.


Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: Scott on May 26, 2010, 07:39:54 PM
This report from AutoWeek makes the whole deal sound even murkier.
http://www.autoweek.com/article/20100525/F1/100529832 (http://www.autoweek.com/article/20100525/F1/100529832)

Yikes...that does sound murky.  Sounds like Bernie trying to get his hands on the race fees before anyone's thought it through.  Just like Donnington.
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: Jericoke on May 26, 2010, 09:29:27 PM
This report from AutoWeek makes the whole deal sound even murkier.
http://www.autoweek.com/article/20100525/F1/100529832 (http://www.autoweek.com/article/20100525/F1/100529832)

Yikes...that does sound murky.  Sounds like Bernie trying to get his hands on the race fees before anyone's thought it through.  Just like Donnington.

The right amount of money to pay for people and equipment, and anything can be built on any time table.  The Empire State Building was built in 18 months, and unlike a race track, you can't work on the whole thing at once.

So the question is where the money will really come from.

Even if people in Austin fall in love with F1, you've still got to convince $300 million that it's going to happen.  It's a lot easier to convince me that there are fans in Indy or Detroit.

How much of that 'stimulus money' is still available in Texas?  If there is enough, the project could easily be fast tracked, and funded.  The Public Works Grand Prix!
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: cosworth151 on May 26, 2010, 09:43:00 PM
Unlike when The Empire State Building was built in 1929, the permitting and environmental impact phase can now take longer than 24 months. The governor of Texas turned the stimulus money down.
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: lkjohnson1950 on May 27, 2010, 12:36:30 AM
I will make a small wager right now that this becomes another Donnington. 18 months from now there will be the bare outline of a track, and a lot of people wanting to know what the h*%? happened.  This project looks like 1/2 a billion dollars, and who has that kind of money? I would be glad to eat these words, but I doubt I will have to do so.

Lonny
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: Scott on May 27, 2010, 10:41:44 AM
My money's on you, Lonny.
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: cosworth151 on May 27, 2010, 12:11:18 PM
There's a bright side to the Donnington comparison, Lonny. When it all sorted out, the British GP ended up back at Silverstone. I hope this will end with the USGP back where it belongs.....Indy!
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: Scott on May 27, 2010, 12:31:27 PM
There's a bright side to the Donnington comparison, Lonny. When it all sorted out, the British GP ended up back at Silverstone. I hope this will end with the USGP back where it belongs.....Indy!

Absolutely!!  I really don't understand why anyone would want it anyplace else (Bernie's wallet aside).   :good: :good: :good:
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: lkjohnson1950 on May 27, 2010, 05:17:54 PM
Indy's great, but the Sisters and the Bull Rider don't seem to be interested. I wish someone with bags full on money would throw some of it at The Glen or Road America.

Lonny
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: Jericoke on May 27, 2010, 08:13:28 PM
So here's a little more about our friend Tavo Hellmund, the man behind Austin's F1 bid.  (Keep in mind, the article is from an interview with the head of Monticello Motor Club, that is, the New York track which was rumoured to be getting the USGP.)

Hellmund ran out of money once trying to win an F3 championship.

His recent experience has been in staging NASCAR Nationwide races (basically the GP2 of NASCAR... but the top drivers sometimes race in Nationwide as practise)

He's supposedly friends with Bernie Eccelstone.

http://jalopnik.com/5548584/how-new-york-got-screwed-by-formula-1?skyline=true&s=i (http://jalopnik.com/5548584/how-new-york-got-screwed-by-formula-1?skyline=true&s=i)
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: Scott on May 27, 2010, 09:09:10 PM
There was a link in that story to a blog that suggests that the Austin project is much further along than most people assume.

http://adamcooperf1.com/2010/05/26/tilke-designing-austin-track-site-already-purchased/ (http://adamcooperf1.com/2010/05/26/tilke-designing-austin-track-site-already-purchased/)
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: Jericoke on May 28, 2010, 01:21:25 AM
There was a link in that story to a blog that suggests that the Austin project is much further along than most people assume.

http://adamcooperf1.com/2010/05/26/tilke-designing-austin-track-site-already-purchased/ (http://adamcooperf1.com/2010/05/26/tilke-designing-austin-track-site-already-purchased/)


Almost sounds like Tavo Hellmund is the kind of guy who likes to keep his head down and get the work done.  The information on this guy is all over the map, but if really did start to develop an F1 track without telling anyone, then I'm quite impressed.

How does someone who is more concerned with getting the job done than being flashy get into F1?   :-[
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: lkjohnson1950 on May 28, 2010, 04:45:43 AM
He isn't quite in F1 yet, but I am slightly more impressed than before.

Lonny
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: monty on May 28, 2010, 01:57:55 PM
I'm sure it will be OK just as long as he isn't in any way related to the guys from Donnington!!

By the way, during a visit to Dallas recently a guy I met seriously explained that Texas was the obvious choice because it is in the middle of the USA, understands Grand Prix and is easy to get to from anywhere in the world!

To a Brit, that statement is wrong in so many ways!
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: Scott on May 28, 2010, 03:58:17 PM
Kansas is actually the middle of the US.  Texas is in the south.  Getting to Texas from anywhere in Europe means changing planes in the north-east, so I'm not sure what he means by 'easy to get to'.  I don't know any Texans, so I can't speak for their knowledge of F1 Racing, but I didn't even think there were any F1 fans in Kentucky, so what do I know?   :P
Title: Re: US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Post by: lkjohnson1950 on May 29, 2010, 01:00:37 AM
American flies Dallas to Paris and Dallas to London direct. That's pretty close. The announcement that the property was already purchased and Tilke was already on the job made me alter my prediction from impossible to highly unlikely. God help us another Tilke snooze a drome!!

Lonny
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