The FIA takes a look at Austin

The FIA has sent two of its local bigwigs to Austin to see what Tavo Hellmund is planning for the 2012 United States Grand Prix. The local press has been pretty negative about the race, reporting on delays and flaws it believes exist in the planning. The FIA obviously wanted a clearer picture of the realities of the situation and sent Nick Craw and his deputy at the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States (ACCUS) Tim Mayer to Texas to take a look at the planning.

Hellmund is aware that there is a very tight schedule to be adhered to in order to get everything done and says that it would not be fair for the FIA to allow Korea to finish everything a few days before the race and insist on different rules for the US.

24 thoughts on “The FIA takes a look at Austin

  1. I think the USF1 fiasco has left a salty flavor in the mouths of many, but I will reserve hope on the new circuit in Texas until there very last minute. As we found with Korea, it isn’t a dead deal until race weekend.

  2. “The local press has been pretty negative about the race…”

    You shouldn’t read too much into that. The People’s Republic of Austin is an über liberal enclave within Texas.

  3. I think Tavo is labouring under the assumption the FIA does “fair” – or at the very least “consistent”…

  4. Anytime there is talk of delays or problems in a project, it usually means skids need more greasing. I am here to tell you, that is like that in America too. Local, state and federal governments are very corrupt here, contrary to what many think or see or read.

    I will give you a for example. The owner of the NHL hockey team NY Islanders, Charles Wang (head of Computer Associates) wanted to finance and build his own arena and peripheral buildings which would house restaurants and shops with HIS OWN MONEY….not a dime from local or state coffers. How refreshing, considering NY had to dole out hundreds of millions for the Yankees and Mets’ stadiums. Well, back to Charles, apparently that wasn’t good enough for the local town of Hempstead. If old Charlie boy has that much money then certainly, the criminal politicians need a cut too. I am sure the same is going on in Austin, TX. I’d bet the house on it….and I’d win.

  5. “……and says that it would not be fair for the FIA to allow Korea to finish everything a few days before the race and insist on different rules for the US.”

    An accurate statement but he can’t overlook the point that NO ONE wants to finish the track that close to the wire.

    He should be aware of the risk that the FIA may not want to be put in that same situation again. Hence the preliminary visit by Mssrs. Craw and Mayer.

    I hope he can convince them that the local opposition is a small speed bump that won’t cause a protracted fight and delay in beginning construction.

  6. Nick Craw was 100% positive that USF1 would make the grid, simply because they had paid their entry fee. If that was proof enough for ole Nick, then the drawings Tavo has of the fantasy unicorn and leprechaun laden track, will probably be proof enough too.
    Anyone who needs a good laugh, have a look see at this council meeting on the matter:

  7. It’s somewhat a shame that commercial realities mean that in order to afford to build a new grade 1 circuit suitable for Formula 1 that you need to be guaranteed a spot on the Formula 1 calendar. It just adds a whole heap of pressure and a bunch of deadlines that are otherwise unnecessary. And those deadlines can be eroded pretty fast by government officials with their own political agendas.

    It would be better if somehow it was affordable to build a grade 1 circuit, open it, run races for all sorts of categories on it, and then if it’s a great circuit the FIA / FOM come knocking asking if they can have an F1 race. Then they pay you a rental fee, whilst they keep the profits from ticket sales and track side advertising. At the moment, if I understand correctly the circuit owners pay the FOM, the FOM gets all the money from trackside advertising, and the circuit owner is left with the ticket sales.

  8. There is a very vocal anti-F1 minority in the Austin area, but if you get on down to the Cool River Cafe, you’ll find a lot of support for the race.

  9. That is so funny! The councilwoman laughed out loud when this guy announced they wanted to break ground in December.

    As I have said before…..I’m not even worried about having to eat my hat on this one. No way are we EVER gonna spend $$ on a brand new circuit for F1 here in the US, unless it is 100% privately funded.

    F1 needs to be back at Indy, period.

  10. “You shouldn’t read too much into that. The People’s Republic of Austin is an über liberal enclave within Texas.”

    It’s the only nice place in Texas. In my experience the rest of the State is a bunch of book-burning dittoheads. I would still prefer a race in the über liberal North East though. I have deep reservations about how pansy assed Europeon race cars will play in 90% of Texas.

  11. ‘I have deep reservations about how pansy assed Europeon race cars will play in 90% of Texas.’

    Yeee Hawww! They’ll be a whompin’ and a wailing and a lot of small arms fire. 😉

  12. Just watched the council meeting video…my reaction: this ain’t going to happen. I sincerely hope I am wrong.

  13. I see Nick Craw has said that he will actively campaign against Austin having to meet a strict 90 day deadline since Korea didn’t have to. Is it really acceptable of senior FIA personnel to be actively campaigning against safety rules. Korea made it by the skin of its teeth and no race should ever be allowed to fail to meet inspection deadlines again. USF1 famously passed all their inspections even though it was obvious to people looking from a different continent that they had no chance of racing.

    It is time for the FIA to get professional. In any other business a deadline is a deadline.

  14. The fault of not opening a track on time can be placed at many feet, foremost one Mr. Ecclestone. Why? He drags the rights negotiations out to the point where the “winner” invariably has limited time to get things done.

    And in a democracy where there are a myriad of regulatory agency approvals required just to cross the street, the time is even more precious.

    In regards to Austin I still hope for the best but fear the worst. After all, it is our history; concerning F1 not much seems to turn out well.

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