2012 US GP crisis deepens

Austin’s Formula One project continued to collapse this week, with news that construction of the Circuit of the Americas has been halted. Bernie Ecclestone cast doubt on the health of the project last weekend in Abu Dhabi, prompting the Texas comptroller to question whether state funds should be released.

The next domino to fall was the organisers’ instruction for workers to down tools and not pick them up again “until a contract assuring the (race) will be held” in 2012.

“The failure to deliver race contracts gives us great concern,” said project partner Bobby Epstein.

Comptroller Susan Combs also linked the turmoil with the recent announcement that a privately-funded grand prix will be held in New York in 2013.

“Additional races have the potential to reduce the number of attendees to a Texas race, thereby decreasing the economic impact,” she said.

“The ongoing controversies are a concern and we will continue to monitor them.”

The project began to fall apart recently when it emerged that promoter Tavo Hellmund, of Full Throttle Productions, was turning his attention to other projects.

“It is the responsibility of Circuit of the Americas to bring it (the US GP) across the finish line,” Hellmund’s company said in a statement.

“For the sake of everyone, we are hopeful that they can reach an agreement with formula one.”