Austin promises unique F1 circuit
|By Jonathan Noble||Thursday, July 15th 2010, 16:14 GMT|
Formula 1 fans and drivers have been promised that the new United States Grand Prix track in Austin will be one of the most challenging and spectacular in the world.
Tavo Hellmund, the promoter of the Austin event that is scheduled to hold its first race in 2012, has revealed that the circuit will be a break from the norm of modern F1 venues and is set to feature a selection of the very best sequences from other tracks around the world.
"I would say that, hopefully, people will view it as a throwback to some of the older, traditional tracks - although obviously with the added safety features and requirements that the FIA has," Hellmund told AUTOSPORT during a visit to the British Grand Prix.
"It will be a track that the drivers will walk through and think: 'Man, I have to be on my best game today!'"
Hellmund said that final details of the location of the track will be released imminently, and that the actual layout should be made public in the next few weeks. He said he was excited by what he had seen from the plans, being put together by F1 circuit designer Hermann Tilke.
"It is going to have a really fast section, which will have some pretty challenging corners," he said. "I am partial to a couple of sections that I've seen at Silverstone, so you could see those turn up too.
"There is also going to be significant elevation – probably more than 100 feet of difference from top to bottom. There will be pretty views, and I think it will be a bit of a departure from the tracks that have been built recently for F1. So, in that regard, I am excited.
"Americans will be proud of it – and it won't be a 'cookie cutter' track. I think people in Texas will be proud of it as well."
Hellmund said one of his priorities was to make sure the drivers liked the venue – because that would help ensure the event became a hit.
"When you really get down to it, the drivers should be your best endorsement," he said. "They are the ones that talk, and everyone wants to hear what they have to say. So I think between access, mobility, location and then obviously the asphalt within both fences, I think we're going to be good."
Hellmund also echoed recent comments from Bernie Ecclestone, who said there were no doubts that the funding for the event was in place.
When asked about the financial situation, Hellmund said: "With all due respect, I think it is interesting – because it is nobody's business what my funding is. I can tell you this – the group we have together is world class.
"Some of them are well known individuals who will probably never appear publicly – which is for a reason because their privacy and anonymity is part of the deal.
"But, I can tell you that Mr. Ecclestone would not have embarked on a deal if he was not pleased with the financial package. And the state of Texas would not have done what they have done without that either.
"And I want to be clear about what Texas have done because there are a lot of misconceptions there. They are not subsidising anything – the state of Texas has basically passed legislation, just like they did for the Superbowl, that allows for the contribution of incremental sales tax revenue that is created by that event. So, some of the liberal media in Texas have been trying to take shots at that, but that [the subsidy claim] is a fabrication.
"We are excited, because it puts Texas on a platform with the great global events – the Olympics, the Superbowl and the World Cup. They would have not been doing it either if they thought it was a bit wishy-washy."