Austin’s Formula One project looks set to collapse, with Bernie Ecclestone saying the event will fall off the 2012 calendar “for sure”. With the Texas state funding also in jeopardy and track construction halted, the main problem is a disagreement between Tavo Hellmund – who held the original race contract – and the separate company that is building the Circuit of the Americas.
Asked by the Press Association if the impasse means Austin will be erased from next year’s race schedule at the World Council meeting next month, F1 chief executive Ecclestone admitted: “Yes, it will be, for sure.”
He insisted: “We’ve done everything we bloody well can do to make this race happen.”
Ecclestone explained that the circuit cannot simply negotiate to have the contract transferred from Hellmund, because “we’ve cancelled Tavo’s contract as he was in breach”. And “these other people haven’t got a contract,” he said. “All we’ve asked them to do is get us a letter of credit. If people don’t have the money they find it difficult to get the letter of credit, and so we don’t issue a contract.”
He told the Independent that if the Circuit of the Americas gets its act together, it could sign a new contract for “10 years from 2013”.
But the Daily Express quotes Ecclestone as saying: “I would be surprised if it happened.”
The local Austin American Statesman reports that the heavy machinery and “even the portable toilets” were being removed from the site on Wednesday.