Austin's F1 circuit.

Questions and answers about going to a race weekend
tim wood
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Re: Trouble brewing for Austin's F1 circuit?

Post by tim wood »

There are some great road courses in the South. You left them out. But when it comes to landing a F1 GP, they're all in the same boat. Just like the northern courses you mentioned, they all need major upgrades to be FIA/F1 compliant. As for the NASCAR/Monster Truck/Tractor Pull angle. It's not quite that simple, even in the South....and Texas isn't the South. It's Texas, and Austin is most certainly not NASCAR/Monster Truck country any more than Europe is. Hell, I saw a huge promo sign once for a Monster Truck show at the bull ring in Gerona, Spain, right outside Barcelona.

As for the chicken/egg dilemma...in at least this case, the track would never even have gotten started without a deal with F1.
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tim wood
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Re: Trouble brewing for Austin's F1 circuit?

Post by tim wood »

AutoWeek's Steven Cole Smith: Hellmund/Epstein = Martin/Steinbrenner....times 10.


http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/local/aust ... files-suit

I know Tavo thoroughly knows how Formula 1 works. I don't think Bobby Epstein does. I think this is akin to a George Steinbrenner owning a team and thinking he can also be a coach except it would be times ten
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Re: Trouble brewing for Austin's F1 circuit?

Post by What's Burning? »

tim wood wrote:There are some great road courses in the South. You left them out. But when it comes to landing a F1 GP, they're all in the same boat. Just like the northern courses you mentioned, they all need major upgrades to be FIA/F1 compliant. As for the NASCAR/Monster Truck/Tractor Pull angle. It's not quite that simple, even in the South....and Texas isn't the South. It's Texas, and Austin is most certainly not NASCAR/Monster Truck country any more than Europe is. Hell, I saw a huge promo sign once for a Monster Truck show at the bull ring in Gerona, Spain, right outside Barcelona.

As for the chicken/egg dilemma...in at least this case, the track would never even have gotten started without a deal with F1.


Let's just say, thank god it's in Austin. :wink:
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Re: Trouble brewing for Austin's F1 circuit?

Post by LRW »

tim wood wrote:.........It's not quite that simple, even in the South....and Texas isn't the South. It's Texas, and Austin is most certainly not NASCAR/Monster Truck country any more than Europe is..........


With regards to that in bold I assume you are not talking about its physical location, but its cultural similarities to the other 'Southern' states.

Otherwise my gepography is a LOT worse than I thought.....
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tim wood
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Re: Trouble brewing for Austin's F1 circuit?

Post by tim wood »

LRW wrote:
tim wood wrote:.........It's not quite that simple, even in the South....and Texas isn't the South. It's Texas, and Austin is most certainly not NASCAR/Monster Truck country any more than Europe is..........


With regards to that in bold I assume you are not talking about its physical location, but its cultural similarities to the other 'Southern' states.

Otherwise my gepography is a LOT worse than I thought.....


Both, but moreso the cultural differences. Geographically, it's in the southern part of the U.S., but then, so are Arizona and New Mexico. They are the Southwest. Everything east of the Mississipi and south of the Mason-Dixon Line is considered the South. Texas is in between.
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Re: Trouble brewing for Austin's F1 circuit?

Post by LRW »

tim wood wrote:
Both, but moreso the cultural differences. Geographically, it's in the southern part of the U.S., but then, so are Arizona and New Mexico. They are the Southwest. Everything east of the Mississipi and south of the Mason-Dixon Line is considered the South. Texas is in between.


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Re: Trouble brewing for Austin's F1 circuit?

Post by What's Burning? »

Texas for the US is like Ireland for the UK. :hehe:
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tim wood
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Re: Trouble brewing for Austin's F1 circuit?

Post by tim wood »

I just finished reading the Hellmund v. Accelerator Holdings legal petition. Some of you might be surprised by its contents. The latest COTA update from AutoWeek has a copy of it as well...

http://www.autoweek.com/article/20120305/F1/120309920



Here's the direct link to the petition:

http://www.autoweek.com/assets/pdf/CW7848635.PDF
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Re: Trouble brewing for Austin's F1 circuit?

Post by LRW »

tim wood wrote:I just finished reading the Hellmund v. Accelerator Holdings legal petition. Some of you might be surprised by its contents. The latest COTA update from AutoWeek has a copy of it as well...

http://www.autoweek.com/article/20120305/F1/120309920



Here's the direct link to the petition:

http://www.autoweek.com/assets/pdf/CW7848635.PDF


Very interesting read.
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tim wood
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Re: Trouble brewing for Austin's F1 circuit?

Post by tim wood »

LRW wrote:
tim wood wrote:I just finished reading the Hellmund v. Accelerator Holdings legal petition. Some of you might be surprised by its contents. The latest COTA update from AutoWeek has a copy of it as well...

http://www.autoweek.com/article/20120305/F1/120309920



Here's the direct link to the petition:

http://www.autoweek.com/assets/pdf/CW7848635.PDF


Very interesting read.


I thought so.

BTW, for any of you who are interested in this case but don't have the time and/or the inclination to read it all, I've made a sort of "Cliff's Notes" version of the Hellmund v. Accelerator petition. I've hit most of the high points and included some relevant quotes and paraphrased in other places. It's by no means comprehensive, but you should get a decent overview...

~ Hellmund had a 10-year agreement with FOM to hold the USGP in Austin.

~ A “Company Agreement”, entered into in December 2010, “required Epstein/McCombs to provide the funding” for the COTA circuit Hellmund had designed. The agreement established Hellmund as the only Class C manager, with a 10-year contract for employment as the Chairman of the FIA Formula 1 United States Grand Prix, with a yearly salary of $500,000.

~ “The sole basis of Epstein/McCombs' approximately 75% stake in the Company was their promises to fund it, not borrow against Hellmund's assets.”

~ “The Company Agreement requires that Hellmund use his best efforts to assign the
F1 Contracts to the Company only if Epstein/McCombs provide or raise $190 million of funding by March 31, 2011. However, Epstein/McCombs failed to commit the required funding by the deadline, thereby absolving Hellmund of any obligation to assign the Fl Contracts. Indeed, Epstein/McCombs missed the funding deadline by nearly six months, reporting they obtained the required funding on September 13, 2011. Even then, Epstein/McCombs refused to provide the documentation (e.g., commitments) of the funding necessary for Hellmund to assign the Fl Contracts.”

~ “Epstein/McCombs finally notified Hellmund, albeit six months late, that they had secured the $190 million in funding. However, Epstein/McCombs still refused to
provide Hellmund with any verification of the allegedly binding commitments for funding, which meant that the F1 Contracts could not be assigned. Ecclestone, the F1 head, himself made this abundantly clear in a letter to Hellmund: "I made it clear that the proposed circuit where you want to conduct your event, needed to provide an executed construction contract, proof of financial strength and that I required this documentation . . . . " In that same letter, Ecclestone aptly acknowledged that these "repeated failures" were "perhaps not of [Hellmund's] doing." Hellmund relayed this message to Epstein/McCombs to no avail. Epstein/McCombs still did not provide the necessary verification of the funding despite promises they would do so, jeopardizing
Hellmund's ability to assign the F1 Contracts to the Company and/or its subsidiaries.”

~ METF funding was negated by the COTA investors' refusal/inability to pay $4M to the METF to trigger the advance reimbursement payment, after COTA had excluded Hellmund from making the payment himself. They then plead ignorance. Company attorney Richard Suttle weighed in: "I am a little astounded that with all the work that has gone into
this issue, along with all the conversations and documentation that has occurred, that there can be any confusion about COTA's commitment to fund the $4mil." The investors ignored Suttle. The $4M was never paid. The guaranteed $250M ($25M x 10 years), arranged by Hellmund, was lost.

~ “the F1 Contracts could not be assigned until the Company:
(1) paid the $23 million sanctioning fee (which could no longer be paid from the METF),
(2) provided verification of binding commitments for construction funding (specifically $190 million which was now 4 months overdue), and
(3) provided a revised construction schedule.

Epstein/McCombs did not pay the sanctioning fee, never provided verification of the
funding (even after they claimed to have raised the $190 million six months after the deadline), and did not provide a revised construction schedule”

~ “Epstein/McCombs' refusal to pay the sanctioning fee under Hellmund's
F1 Contracts resulted in the termination of those contracts and new and more expensive contracts for the Company. The new F1 contracts required additional guarantees for future races, something not required in the original F1 Contracts. Additionally, due to Epstein/McCombs' substantial delay in paying the sanction fee, the Company owed late fees to Formula 1.
77. During Epstein/McCombs' well-publicized standoff with Ecclestone, it IS no
surprise Comptroller Combs announced that the State would not advance COT A any METF funds and would only consider releasing funds after a race occurred.
78. Again, Epstein/McCombs' gamesmanship (or lack of experience) destroyed
significant benefits for the Company- they lost the committed METF funding while having to ink a new, more expensive Formula 1 contract.”

~ COTA construction was underfunded from the start, and suffered repeated delays due to lack of funding & mismanagement by COTA investors. The entire project has been delayed & endangered by this underfunding and mismanagement. The investors also concealed the lack of funding from Hellmund.

~ “With no construction funding in place, Epstein/McCombs repeatedly entered and amended limited contracts with the construction company to proceed in small phases based on short-term personal guarantees. Epstein/McCombs concealed from Hellmund these construction schedule changes and the lack of funding.”

~ Attempting to secure construction loans, Epstein & McCombs attempted to leverage Hellmund's own asset (F1 race rights) for construction loans without using any of their own assets.

~ Epstein misled Hellmund regarding the nature and soil quality of the COTA land and the size and nature of natural gas pipelines running beneath it.

~ COTA investors agreed in writing on September 29, 2011 to an $18M buyout of Hellmund, relieving him of his position, his stake in the company, and of the F1 rights and rights to the MotoGP race at Circuit of the Americas. They have since refused on multiple occasions to honor the agreement at scheduled closings and have not paid Hellmund his salary.

~ “Hellmund has not quit, nor has he been terminated. In fact, he continues pursuing the Company's best interests as Chairman and has actively sought - but has been foreclosed from - more involvement.”

~ Epstein & McCombs attempted 3 times in 2 months recently to illegally remove Hellmund from his position as Manager, but “No matter how many notices they sent or meetings they held to attempt the same unlawful removal, EpsteinlMcCombs failed every time for the same reason: the Company agreement requires Class C member approval and they never had it.”

~ Epstein & McCombs have repeatedly refused Hellmund access to financial records, despite written requests.

~ Allegations, even an admission that at least one or more associates of Epstein’s repeatedly & maliciously tampered with Hellmund's Wikipedia page in an attempt to discredit & marginalize him.

~ Hellmund turned down an offer to lead the New Jersey F1 Grand Prix of America effort

~ “Hellmund offered to buyout Epstein to salvage his dream. Although agreeing that a buy-out of one of the members might be necessary, Epstein responded: "There is no . . . way I'll let Tavo Hellmund buy me out."

~ Hellmund has invoked a buy/sell clause in the agreement, apparently desiring to buy McCombs’ share of the company.
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tim wood
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Re: Trouble brewing for Austin's F1 circuit?

Post by tim wood »

This SportRider article confirms what I thought. COTA has not secured the MotoGP race rights. I hope they do so soon!

http://www.sportrider.com/news/146_1203 ... index.html

Tavo Hellmund, the racing promoter credited with envisioning and then creating the framework for the Austin F1 race through his contacts within the racing industry—including F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone—has filed suit against his former financial partners in the Austin venture...

...his longstanding motorsports contacts that enabled him to land a contract for a Formula One race in the Austin area (in addition to MotoGP and Australian V8 Supercars races in 2013), was pulled out from under him via “an improper and unlawful takeover” by McCombs/Epstein “withholding…promised funding.” The suit states that Hellmund offered McCombs and Epstein 75 percent of the venture in exchange for financial backing, but when they failed to pay Ecclestone the required $23 million fee for the original F1 race contract in September of last year, that contract Hellmund negotiated was cancelled (this theoretically put McCombs and Epstein in the driver’s seat for a new contract that wouldn’t include Hellmund…but it ended up resulting in a protracted stalemate with Ecclestone, who is a longtime friend of Hellmund’s, that was only saved at the last second).

...the significance of this brouhaha in Texas is that Hellmund still holds the MotoGP contract that was announced with much fanfare back in April 2011. Thus with this latest move, unless he signs it over to COTA or someone else in much more favor with current COTA management, the chances of the 2013 debut of MotoGP in Austin are pretty darn slim.

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killem2
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Re: Trouble brewing for Austin's F1 circuit?

Post by killem2 »

Hey tim, you seem to be really connected or something down there, I was curious, if you know, (or anyone really) the ball park cost for someone to stay down there for say 4-5 days to attend/sight see the austin area. (excluded f1 tickets)

I don't have a lot of dough, but if it is really extreme, i MIGHT be able to get my bro-in-law to let us stay at his place he's only 30 miles away. :clap:
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calvins48
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Re: Trouble brewing for Austin's F1 circuit?

Post by calvins48 »

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Re: Trouble brewing for Austin's F1 circuit?

Post by LewEngBridewell »

I really hope that it is completed on time, and everything runs smoothly. As we know, the circuit has been purposely designed to try and include some great corners from other circuits. Looking at the circuit map, the esses are sort of reminiscent of those at Suzuka, while David Coulthard commented that the first corner is like Turn 1 at the Red Bull Ring (A1 Ring).

However, it's the fact that circuit is far from flat that gets me going, and there seems to be overtaking opportunities aplenty. With Austin only 8 miles away, the crowds should hopefully be pouring in.
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calvins48
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Re: Trouble brewing for Austin's F1 circuit?

Post by calvins48 »

LewEngBridewell wrote:I really hope that it is completed on time, and everything runs smoothly. As we know, the circuit has been purposely designed to try and include some great corners from other circuits. Looking at the circuit map, the esses are sort of reminiscent of those at Suzuka, while David Coulthard commented that the first corner is like Turn 1 at the Red Bull Ring (A1 Ring).

However, it's the fact that circuit is far from flat that gets me going, and there seems to be overtaking opportunities aplenty. With Austin only 8 miles away, the crowds should hopefully be pouring in.


The first corner being so steep uphill is interesting, but it would've been cooler if it was the last corner and the cars came downhill onto the pit straight!

COTA has always sounded promising since I saw the first circuit map for it. Let's just hope it can stage the event for years to come. Bernie will eventually rotate COTA and the Port Imperial Street Circuit (PISC), I can see that happening.

Also, the USA likes their abbreviations. :P
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Lewis Hamilton: The BEST overtaker on the grid since '07.
Lewis Hamilton: The ENTERTAINMENT on the grid since '07.

Respect to ALL F1 drivers. Felipe Massa to a lesser extent. :P