Austin F1 track set for August completion
|By Jonathan Noble||Thursday, January 19th 2012, 10:19 GMT|
Austin's new Formula 1 track layout is set to be completed in the middle of August, AUTOSPORT can reveal, with construction efforts now fully back on course at the United States venue.
Although there was uncertainty about the future of the race last year amid a dispute over the contract - with work at the circuit being halted for several weeks - a big push by Austin's organisers ensured it remained on the final 2012 calendar issued by the FIA's World Motor Sport Council in early December.
On the back of construction work having been resumed several weeks ago, race chiefs have confirmed that the recent delays will not have any negative effect on the event taking place. The current schedule is for the 3.4-mile track layout to be ready by the middle of August, with the rest of the infrastructure being completed well before the November 18 race date.
Senior representatives from the Circuit of the Americas, including president Steve Sexton, executive vice president Bruce Knox, director of racing operations Chuck Aksland, and chief marketing and sales officer Geoff Moore are in London this week for meetings with Bernie Ecclestone to update him on progress.
Moore told AUTOSPORT: "The race is on. Construction is happening six days a week. The paddock buildings are being topped off, work on the main grandstand has started and we are looking at mid-August for completion [of the track surface]."
Pressure on the construction efforts has been eased by the fact that the race's date has been shifted from an original June date to its November slot - where it will form a back-to-back with season finale Brazil.
Although a reported $25 million payment from local government, as part of a Major Event Trust Fund, will not be given to Austin officials in advance - track chiefs say the venue already has advanced funding in place to ensure completion of the track.
The money will be applied for after the race, once it is clear just how much tax revenue the Austin Grand Prix has generated for the local economy.
The total cost for the Circuit of the Americas is estimated at $350 million, with track chiefs hoping to attract 120,000 spectators for the inaugural event.