Austin GP 'still on schedule'



Austin F1 promoter Tavo Hellmund insists that everything is still on schedule for its debut race in 2012.

Bernie Ecclestone recently made some mischievous comments to the effect that Austin would face a financial penalty should it not be ready in time to stage a US Grand Prix.

“We’re not going to spend time building a facility and not have a GP,” said Hellmund. “Of course we don’t want to run a month or two behind. Everyone worries about the deadline. But what’s the downside? There’s a penalty. We’re still building the place.

“The Tilke people have been in Austin pretty much non-stop, and have met with our architects and contractors. We’re hammer down.”

Hellmund led a delegation of 12 people from the Austin project on a visit to the British GP. They included Texas state comptroller Susan Combs – in effect the chief financial officer – who sanctioned a $25 million payment that will in effect be Ecclestone’s annual fee.

Justifying the support she said: “It’s going to put Texas and Austin on the global map, and it will brand Texas as the home of cars.”