Formula 1 – Miracle on Congress Avenue

Merry Christmas, US Formula 1 fans! After learning that the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) actually had the money, or so was the claim, and that the breakdown between their group and Formula One Management (FOM) was a result of a disagreement on the details of the contract offered to COTA, we wrote optimistically about the potential of the USGP returning to the 2012 Formula 1 calendar. We knew that it was a long shot renegotiating a contract at the 11th hour with a master of manipulation in Bernie Ecclestone, and after Bernie’s comments at Interlargos, “They’re missing two things: a pen, and money,” we thought the Austin race was dead.

We got a very happy surprise today as we see that the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, TX is an official part of the 2012 FIA Formula 1 World Championship! It was indeed a Miracle on Congress Avenue. Construction is back on line. As happy of news as this is for Formula 1 fans here in the States, there are still some outstanding questions surrounding the promised $25M from the Texas taxpayers. We hope that COTA will eventually find a funding stream separate from the State of Texas since anytime that one deals with an elected representative body, uncertainty abounds. With the V8 Supercar series and MotoGP also on their way to Austin in future years, getting this matter with Formula 1 settled is a huge step forward. Having the circuit construction halted the way it was, we were all very concerned not only for the USGP, but also for the future of saloon car and motorcycle racing in Austin. Looks like things are now back on track!

Official Release from the Circuit of The Americas

Formula 1 (TM) and Circuit of The Americas (TM) Ready to Roll
10-Year Race Contract Brings F1 Back to the U.S. in 2012; Construction to Resume Immediately

AUSTIN, Texas – December 7, 2011 – Circuit of The Americas announced today that they have reached an agreement with Formula One Management that ensures the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix remains on the FIA Formula 1 World Championship race calendar.

Red McCombs, chairman of McCombs Enterprises and founding partner of Circuit of The Americas stated, “Mr. Ecclestone received his check today. 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. 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.”

“Our investors have believed all along that this project has tremendous benefit for our region, and provides a strong economic engine for the future,” stated Epstein, founding partner of Circuit of The Americas. We remain committed to reaching our goal of being valuable community partners as we establish a platform for sports and entertainment. We’re glad that Tavo’s vision of bringing F1 to the people of Texas will become a reality.”

Engineering and construction teams working on the track will resume immediately, ensuring completion for the 2012 race date.

“We have a substantial number of fans who have expressed interest in buying tickets and hospitality, so today is a win for all of them as much as it is for Circuit of The Americas,” said Steve Sexton, president of Circuit of The Americas. “We encourage everyone to visit our website and register for information. Registered fans will receive the first communication regarding ticket sales plans. In a matter of weeks we will have more exciting news as we unveil our full calendar of world class events.”

Fans interested in receiving information about tickets for next year’s United States Grand Prix can register their contact information at Ticket sales information will be communicated to those registered prior to general public notification.

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