Christmas come yet for the Circuit of the Americas and all American Formula 1 fans! We reported earlier that it seemed that the inaugural Formula 1 United States Grand Prix in Austin at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) was all but off the schedule. Even in a press release made by COTA, the organizers were convinced that they weren’t going to be making the 2012 season and were instead already setting their sights on the 2013 season.
In a release today, it seems that may have changed! COTA has not only raised the cash for the 2012 sanctioning fee, but has also positioned itself to be able to make payments for future grand prix races ahead of schedule! The hang-up for COTA apparently wasn’t having cash on hand, but was difficulties with details in the original contract.
“We have been ready to send Mr. Ecclestone a sanctioning fee check for some time now. He hasn’t received it yet because the new contract presented to us two weeks ago contained unrealistic and unfeasible demands. We have signed and returned a contract similar to what we anticipated receiving. This race should be a reality, but if we are going to make the 2012 race date, we must receive a countersignature in the coming few days. We believe the teams, fans, sponsors and local business share our enthusiasm and hope that their voices will be heard.” — Bobby Epstein, founding partner of Circuit of The Americas
The hang-up for COTA apparently wasn’t having cash on hand, but was difficulties with details in the original contract. Judging from Mr. Epstein’s comments regarding the contract, when Mr. Helmut’s contract was deemed in breech and a new contract was offered to COTA, Mr. Ecclestone was channeling his inner Darth Vader: “I have altered the deal. Pray I don’t alter it further.” Mr. Epstein and the COTA organization are really playing with fire, here, though. They’re fencing with one of the best in the business in Mr. Ecclestone. Best they watch that they don’t get run through in the end. As I’ve said previously, I really hope that the USGP in Austin happens, and I’d be thrilled to see it happen for 2012, but it’s going to take a Miracle on Congress Avenue. Here’s hoping for an early Christmas present for all of us Formula 1 fans here in North America.