• US Grand Prix

Austin, Texas to host US Grand Prix in 2012

ESPNF1 Staff
May 25, 2010 « Force India looking to close the gap on Renault | »

Editor's Comment - The speculation is over

Speculation over the future of Formula One in the United States has been ended with news that the sport's rights holders have signed a ten-year deal with promoters to host a US Grand Prix at a purpose-built track in Austin, Texas from 2012.

Formula One World Championship Limited and Formula One Administration Limited, who together own the rights to F1, signed a contract with American promoter Full Throttle Productions to stage the race.

"For the first time in the history of Formula One in the United States, a world-class facility will be purpose-built to host the event," Bernie Ecclestone said. "It was 30 years ago that the United States Grand Prix was last held on a purpose-built permanent road course circuit in Watkins Glen, which enjoyed great success.

"Since then, Formula One has been hosted by Long Beach, Las Vegas, Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix all on temporary street circuits. Indianapolis joined the ranks of host cities in 2000 when they added a road course inside the famed oval. Lewis Hamilton won the last Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ in 2007, signalling the end to eight years at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This however, will be the first time a facility is constructed from the ground up specifically for Formula One in the US."

"We have been diligently working together for several years to bring this great event to Austin, the State of Texas and back to the United States," said Tavo Hellmund, managing partner of Full Throttle Productions. "All parties involved have a great amount of trust and confidence in each other and are committed to establishing the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas as a prestigious global event."

Speaking to ESPN, Hellmund said the track and grandstand would be built "within 10 miles" of the Austin airport and would be at least three miles long. He declined to release further details, including the total cost, but he did say the facility would be privately financed.

Austin, with a metro area population of about 1.7 million, is a three-hour drive or less from Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. Hellmund said Austin had to compete with interest for the race "from New York to Miami".

He also said F1 officials who visited Austin were impressed with the city and the plan to build a Grand Prix-specific course "You don't put Austin in same sentence as Monaco or Singapore, but everyone was blown away. Austin has grown up ... I think they fell in love with the city. It isn't a one-trick pony where we're going to set up a street course."

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs said in a statement: "The visibility and prestige of this event will spotlight our state on an international stage."

Indianapolis Motor Speedway spokesman Fred Nation wished Austin all the best: "We are proud to have hosted the US GP and to have had some of the largest F1 crowds.

"Since 2007 we have been asked many times about having F1 return and our answer has been the same each time: 'If the business deal is right, they are welcome back'. If such a deal is in place in Austin, we wish both the city and F1 success."