Austin could host F1 'for 40 years'

Tavo Hellmund, the man at the head of the new United States Grand Prix programme, believes the Austin venue will be so well-suited to Formula 1 that it could stay on the calendar for '40 years'

Austin could host F1 'for 40 years'

F1 is set to return to America in 2012 - five years after it last raced at Indianapolis - at a new purpose-built facility near the Texas city.

Promoter Hellmund reckons the location has so many advantages, it can end F1's long search for a permanent US home.

"I considered Austin as the ultimate place and I went to Bernie with this idea," he said in an interview with the official F1 website. "Austin has developed immensely over the last 15 years - in every aspect - so for me there was no better place to hold the United States Grand Prix.

"The State of Texas has developed into the 11th biggest global economy and many of the Fortune 500 companies have their headquarters here. And Austin is the capital.

"Think of the ideal location of the city: my fellow countrymen can reach it easily, as well as fans from central and South America. In this respect it's perfectly central.

"My philosophy is that you will succeed if you are at the right place at the right time - and for a grand prix in Austin, Texas, I considered it to be the right time. We have a contract for the next 10 years, but if you ask me we could race here for the next 40 years!"

Amid continual rumours that America could eventually return to having two F1 dates, Ecclestone said he was open to the idea of a second US race - but that Austin was the only one on the horizon for now.

"Let's make one thing clear: Austin will be the US Grand Prix," he said. "But that does not mean that we cannot have another race in the US with another label. I would be insane if there were the option to race in New York and I said 'no thanks'.

"But for now that's nothing more than a pipe dream. The reality is we have a contract with Austin and it is there where the US Grand Prix will be staged."

Both Hellmund and Ecclestone believe F1 could succeed in Austin even without local talent involved. Since Scott Speed's departure from Toro Rosso, there have been no American drivers in F1, and the Charlotte-based US F1 team failed to make the grid this year. Fellow US outfit Cypher Group recently withdrew its bid for a 2011 entry.

"Of course it would be fantastic to have an American driver," said Hellmund. "A team would great, sure, but it's no real necessity."

Ecclestone added: "Regarding an American driver, we have tried that lately but obviously what's missing is the right attitude. You can race successfully in the US without the huge effort you need to succeed in Formula 1. But to have someone like Danica Patrick in F1 would be a perfect advert."

Hellmund believes 'local' interest could instead come from Mexico if GP2 frontrunner Sergio Perez makes it into F1 by 2012.

"There is that young Mexican driver Perez who is doing a great job in GP2 right now," said Hellmund. "For him the 2012 US Grand Prix could be a sort of home race: the distance from Austin to Mexico is a mere 250 kilometres."

shares
comments
Germany & Hungary GP tech review

Previous article

Germany & Hungary GP tech review

Next article

Soucek says Virgin exit was friendly

Soucek says Virgin exit was friendly
Load comments
Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021
Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems Plus

Why Mercedes' Istanbul edge is both stronger and weaker than it seems

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton dominated the opening day of action for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, on the Istanbul circuit’s much improved track surface. But the Black Arrows squad’s position isn’t quite what it seems. Here’s why

Formula 1
Oct 8, 2021