Circuit of The Americas™ declared ‘race ready’ by FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting
Purpose-built Formula 1™ venue passes scheduled pre-race inspection with high praise
AUSTIN, Texas (Sept. 25, 2012) – Circuit of The Americas today announced that it has been declared ready to host the 2012 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX™ by Charlie Whiting, who directs racing, safety and technical matters for the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the sanctioning body that oversees international motorsport. Whiting visited the Central Texas sports and entertainment venue as part of a scheduled pre-race inspection and approved the circuit for “Grade 1” status, which is the highest distinction awarded to a motorsports venue. The passing grade clears the way for the circuit to conduct Formula 1 racing this fall.
Whiting’s visit comes approximately two months before Formula 1 racing is set to return to the United States, Nov. 16-18. All Formula 1 circuits must be inspected and approved by Whiting before they can conduct Grand Prix racing, and the motorsports veteran spent approximately two hours touring the Austin facility along with representatives of Circuit of The Americas, general contractor Austin Commercial and German track architects Tilke GmbH. Whiting had rave reviews for the entire venue and the work completed since his last visit to the circuit in August 2012.
“Everything that I’ve seen so far has been absolutely first class, and the progress that’s been made since the last time that I was here is amazing,” Whiting said. “The guys have done an awesome job--it really is quite fantastic! It’s built to the highest quality, exactly as we expected, and I’ve got absolutely no complaints whatsoever.”
During his visit, Whiting inspected the now fully paved racing circuit and personally walked the 3.4-mile course to ensure the asphalt met FIA requirements. He inspected kerbing, guard rails, fencing and other safety measures that have been installed around the circuit. He also toured the pit/paddock building, which will house Race Control and serve as his base of operations during the Formula 1™ event. Whiting described the circuit’s permanent structures as “fantastic,” and said he was especially impressed with the design of the circuit’s turns, including its signature Turn 1.
“There are 3-4 corners that are very likely to see overtaking,” Whiting remarked. “If you look at Turn 1, you’ll see that the turns have been designed so that they’re extremely wide and the apex is very short. It’s a very modern approach to slow corners where we hope overtaking will take place. So I’m very confident it will work well.
“Turn 1 is awesome! It’s the only word I can think of to describe it, and I think drivers and teams coming here for the first time will say the same thing.”
Whiting said he was assured that remaining landscaping and painting projects will be completed in a few weeks’ time. He will conduct one final check of the venue on Monday, Nov. 12, as Grand Prix week in Austin gets underway.
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 www.CircuitofTheAmericas.com. Ticket sales information will be communicated to those registered prior to general public notification.
About Circuit of The Americas
Circuit of The Americas will be a world-class destination for performance, education and business. It will be the first purpose-built Formula 1 Grand Prix facility in the United States designed for any and all classes of racing, from motor power to human power.
The master plan for Circuit of The Americas features a variety of permanent structures designed for business, education, entertainment and race use. Its signature element will be a 3.4-mile (5.5-km) circuit track. Other support buildings will include a medical facility, 14 executive meeting suites, a conference center, and a banquet hall, as well as an expansive outdoor live music space. Future proposed amenities include a driving/riding experience, a motorsports driving club, kart track, grand plaza event center and tower, and a trackside recreational vehicle park.
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USGP AUSTIN :: Timeline & great timelapse video.
In August 2009, Formula One president Bernie Ecclestone remarked that there was no immediate plan to return Formula One to the US, vowing "never to return" to Indianapolis.
2010 season, Ecclestone continued to fuel speculation that a return to Indianapolis was not out of the question.
In March 2010, Ecclestone announced plans to bring a Formula One race to New York City for the 2012 season. Ecclestone was quoted as saying the race would take place across the Hudson River in New Jersey, with the Manhattan skyline overlooking the circuit.
In May 2010, plans emerged for a circuit to be built in Jersey City's Liberty State Park… but those plans were abandoned shortly thereafter.
On 25 May 2010, Austin, Texas, was awarded the race on a ten-year contract, as Ecclestone and event promoter Full Throttle Productions agreed to a deal beginning in 2012. The event will be held on a purpose-built new track. The race promoter confirmed that over 800 acres (320 ha) to the east of the city had been purchased, and that Hermann Tilke, the in-house FIA track designer, would design the new track. In July 2010, promoter Tavo Hellmund promised that the circuit would be one of the "most challenging and spectacular in the world" and that it would include a selection of corner sequences inspired by "the very best circuits" in the world.
December 31, 2010 Construction on the new Circuit of the Americas began.
On 15 November 2011, it was reported that construction of the circuit had been temporarily halted as the owners had not yet been awarded the contract to stage the race in 2012, following reports that Bernie Ecclestone had cast doubt on the race taking place. After Tavo Hellmund's contract was found in breach by Ecclestone and a new contract was entered into between Formula 1 and the original track investors, Red McCombs and Bobby Epstein, the U.S. Grand Prix was confirmed to be held at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin on the original scheduled date in 2012.
2012:: Since the new contract has been in place, the construction of the circuit has been on pace to meet the race date. FIA's Race Director and Safety Delegate Charlie Whitting said: "The progress that’s been made since the last time I was here is amazing. I think the guys here have done an awesome job. It really is fantastic, everything’s built to the highest quality, exactly as we expected, and I’ve got absolutely no complaints.