Editor's Blog
May 25, 2010

The speculation is over

Posted on 25/05/2010

Back to the USA ... Bernie Ecclestone © Getty Images

For all the uncertainty where it would make its comeback, what has been a given for some time was that F1 was heading back to the USA. For all his courting new territories in Asia and the Far East, Bernie Ecclestone knew the market he was missing - in terms of profile, money and audience – was in America.

Various potential sites sprung up in the last few months but all had pitfalls. While Austin, Texas (the ‘live music capital of the world’ according to F1’s gushing press release) was not an obvious – or even an outside – choice, it has plenty going for it.

Perhaps most importantly to Ecclestone – after the financial guarantees, naturally – is that the city and the state is completely behind the venture, which is more than can be said for most alternatives. And by building their own venue rather than being tenants at someone else’s, Ecclestone and his successors can control every aspect of the venture.

There is little more to the deal at the moment than the announcement. The track will have to be built from scratch, and nobody is quite sure exactly where that will be. Judging by the high volume of feedback we have had, ESPNF1 readers will be keeping everything crossed the design is not yet again entrusted to Herman Tilke.

But whatever die-hard NASCAR and IndyCar fans might say, there is a huge audience for F1 in the United States and for them, and for the sport generally, this has to be good news.

Hopefully by building an F1 base in Austin and committing to a minimum ten-year tenure, the sport finally has a home of its own in a market it has failed to gain anything other than a delicate foothold in for six decades.


Posted by mikeo on 25/05/2010

Austin, TX has long been supportive of road racing. It had a 1.7 mile downtown street course from 1963 to 1977 as a centerpiece to its summer water festival. Also had strong SCCA and Auto-X groups. Many car clubs.

Posted by the american tifoso on 25/05/2010

This really came out of left field for me. I am happy that F1 will (hopefully) be back in the US. 2012 is some way off, and everything is subject to change (sometimes overnight) in F1. I guess Texas is as good a place as any. I'm sorry that Indy (which has so much racing tradition) can't be the host, but having a US race makes up for that. I agree that another Tilke track will only make everyone gag, but Mr. E will do what Mr. E wants to do. Thank you, Mr. E, American F1 fans appreciate this. I will be there when the lights go out.

Posted by Brian Basara on 25/05/2010

I'm excited to see the F1 circus coming back to the US. Hopefully the track will be something that encourages overtaking unlike most of the Tilke circuits. If the track is completed in time and on the schedule, I'll definitely be there in 2012!

Posted by Chris on 25/05/2010

Austin, while way off the radar of F1, is actually an excellent choice. I live nearby and know the area, and it is perfect. There is a very robust trasnportation infrastructure, and it is within a 3 hour drive of 4 MAJOR metropolitain areas, all with at least one major international airport and lots of hotels. Austin itself, as well as the surrounding area, is a fantasic tourist destination. This if nothing else will help it be more succesful that Indy. Why else would you go there besides racing? With this you can take the whole family and everyone will have something there are happy with, great shopping, world-class nightlife, lots of scenic areas, wine tasting, etc. As for the location, I can gaurantee that it will be somewhere around the south-east of the airport. First, it is close to the airport, and second it is all farmland that can be bought fairly easily (or at least easier than anything already developed.) As for Tilke, I will be amazed if he isn't designing it.

Posted by F1Champ on 25/05/2010

It sucks! NYC area should have been ideal; scenic, car loving affluent and diverse crowd (lot of European and Asian F1 fans in the area), major international airport nearby and world class facilities.

Posted by doogie on 25/05/2010

What about the article mentioning Monticello, NY? Yet I think Daytona is a perfect place. The track is good, many hotels, airport close by..it has everything they need to handle an F1 race. Yet the Catskills are a great place also.

Indy sucked. Nothing around there to do besides the race and drive through cornfields at night.

Posted by James on 25/05/2010

I never liked Indy, either. It was a boring circuit, but we could have the same problem again if Tilke designs the track. All the new circuits are stop/start circuits with no high speed sweeping complexes like Becketts or Eau Rouge; very dull. But Austin makes sense. If F1 could succeed right in the heart of boogity boogity NAS-cur country, and become popular enough, we could potentially see two US races again. How awesome would that be?

Posted by DAK on 25/05/2010

Austin has a huge airport courtesy of the US Air Force. The former Bergstrom Airfield. This is nothing more that silly, petulent Yankee snobbery.

Posted by Joshua on 25/05/2010

So glad that Indianapolis was bypassed. adding a few turns inside an oval is not what F1 is about.

Hopefully we'll see a good track with plenty of variations that will test drivers and their cars.

Maybe even a few Nascar and Indy fans will turn up and be introduced to a new concept: the right hand turn.

Posted by Starbuxx on 25/05/2010

um thrills texas.. oh boy yay.. woot.. bernie screws something else up again.. thank god i think this is the last year ill follow the sport.. i guess ill be like all the other mindless nubs who watch nasbore..or ill go race my tractor down the street...Monticello would have been nice the tracks looks nice and it was just opened so plenty of time to redo things.. but texas hasnt even been built yet.. indy may be boring to some but the track is already built michelin ruined it for the fans yrs ago for not coming prepared.. brand loyalty.. i never buy michelins

Posted by JB on 25/05/2010

Finally! Race that I can actually go to without spending a huge amount of money. Many places to arrive to and plenty of places to stay. YEEEEEEEEHAAAAAWWWWWW!!!

Posted by Elio C on 25/05/2010

This is the greatest news for all US F1 fans, (we are truly the best FANS in the world). I have been living in Austin for almost 4 years and am still shocked and excited (floating on cloud 9).

Austin is a great city and for those of you who have never been here, you'll love it! Coming from the West coast, I have been impressed with the city and its population - very passionate, beautiful place! A true F1 worthy city!

Posted by Jeff in Ohio on 25/05/2010

This comes as quite a surprise, but a pleasant one. Even though I live just 3 hours from Indy, I have to admit Austin appears to be a good choice.

Mostly, I am glad to have F1 back in the USA. And Indianapolis was a poor excuse for an F1 circuit!

- Jeff

Posted by Tim Lamkin on 25/05/2010

Way over due......and the time is good for F1 to come back

Posted by Snake on 25/05/2010

I'm ECSTATIC!!! I know people in Houston so I will not have to pay ridiculous hotel rates to go to this!! I just hope the track is not like Bahrain. I want my ups and downs just as much as I want my lefts and rights!!

Posted by Kyle W on 25/05/2010

Texas is a peculiar choice as it strikes me as NASCAR country, whereas Monticello would have seemed to cater to a more Euro audience, but any race in the US is better than none at all. It could be disastrous though if Tilke is the designer. US fans (especially ones not already F1 fans) aren't going to be enamored with boring racing like Bahrain and Singapore, and will flee pretty quickly if there isn't overtaking. Bernie has mentioned a desire for multiple US races, so I'm crossing my fingers that Monticello is still a possibility for the future.

Posted by Dean on 25/05/2010

Hope it happens, but I'll believe it when I hear how they are going to come up with about 150 million to build a new circuit with stands, track, and pay off Bernie. Makes absolutely no economic sense when Bernie takes almost everything a race can make. Good luck though, I'll be there if it's not in the summertime.

Posted by PT-ONE on 26/05/2010

AMAZING news. I hadn't even considered Austin but, after a quizzical moment, realized what genius it really is. Its central place in the country, surrounded by major metros and inhabited by progressive, high-tech citizens makes it spot-on. And the amenities and scenery? Awesome.

I know it's a bit off the radar and unknown even to some in the US. But given Austin's cultural and geographic assets, there really couldn't be a more perfect choice.

Posted by Paul the Recovering Yankee on 26/05/2010

Woohoo! I grew up in the NYC area and drove to 6+ hours to Montreal 13 times. When I moved to central Texas a couple of years ago one of my few regrets was the belief that I would probably never see an F1 race again (lack of quality pizza and bagels being the other two, but I digress...). I am beyond ecstatic at hearing this news! Austin is a great city and will be a superb host for the US Grand Prix.

Posted by Cqcumber on 26/05/2010

I live in Dallas which is 2 and half hours away from Austin, this is very exciting news. im more than 100% sure ill be going for 2012 US GP!

Posted by Daniel on 26/05/2010

This is the best news ever, after son of course. I have followed F1 since i was a teen in the early 90's. And now I will be able to go and see if up close and personal is just crazy. Hopefully...... They will buy some land from a very very close friend of mine that has plenty of it near the airport. I def need VIP down on pit row. And this will be a great thing for Austin. Plenty of big money here. Go Bernie.

Posted by BC on 26/05/2010

Austin is great as it's not like the rest of Texas at all. I only hope that the track is not designed by Hermann Tilke! Please, design a real passing track!!!

Posted by charlie sheppard on 26/05/2010

I grew up in south London, so blessed and fortunate to visit Silverstone, Donnington, and Spa all before age 7. Later, I returned to the US, and over the years, visited Indy, Montreal, Barcelona, and the life dream visit to Monaco. At 22, I am a lifelong McLaren fan, and quite honestly, reading this announcement enters the class of top 7 purest moments of my life..(along w/ visiting Monaco of course).
Despite NY fame, Austin is really perfect for this. There is so much character and culture, something that really lacked at Indy, and was impossible to forge at places like Detroit. All the practical reasons are well founded, but what makes ATX perfect for promoting F1 in the US is the progressive and "weird" nature of our beloved city..From floating the river, hiking/sports, fine dining, fine casual dining (as it is in ATX), wine country, music, art, film, bars, technology, to transnationalism...My alma mater the Univ of Texas explains it perfectly: What starts here changes the world

Posted by John B on 26/05/2010

Austin is - correct me if i'm wrong - about the same size a city as Adelaide. As someone who lives in Adelaide, I can tell you, the grand Prix did great things for our city. If this captures the hearts of the locals, then it will do great things for Austin too.

Posted by Ian Whillock on 26/05/2010

I have a sneaking suspicion that there are going to be 2 US grand prixs. One in NY and this one in Texas.

Posted by Racer_C on 26/05/2010

Estatic F1 is coming back to the U.S.!!! Glad building new track, and not going back to Indy, which wasn't a good track for F1 and too much politics. Would've preferred a track in California though. F1 and Texas is not something I would normally equate with each other. It should be interesting.

Posted by RaceCarsOnly.co.uk on 26/05/2010

A clean slate, again, we want an exciting track. Take the best of the best Think Laguna Seca corkscrew, spa, silverstone, adelaide, melourne. tight corners that open up, open corners that tighten up, undulations, slow essess, long straights. This is the chance to give the fans something really exciting. Don't screw it up.

Posted by Jep11765 on 26/05/2010

I would like to see NASCAR get on board with this too!!! Would love to see another road course on their schedule!

Posted by nascar42fanuk on 26/05/2010

Well talk about having NASCAR onboard for the race, maybe they could have a Nationwide race on the saturday before the F1 on the Sunday

Posted by Rodrigo on 26/05/2010

Good news... but please don't come up with another boring race track... we need another Spa, or Interlagos... if F1 needs more overtaking, we need to consider changing the layout of the race tracks... hopefully another city will come up with bid for a second F1 GP on a street course... in NYC would be impossible, but why not Miami or even Vegas??

Posted by Outa Africa on 26/05/2010

Well, I don't care where it is, so long as it's not H.Tilke! Please!!!

Posted by Stephen on 26/05/2010

Who do I contact to purchase tickets? I'll put my money up right now!

Posted by Eric on 26/05/2010

I'll be there for sure. Since the Mexico GP of 1992 I haven't been to another race. 12 hours driving from Queretaro, Mexico is nothing! (I do that for shopping at San Marcos -hahaha-) See you there guys. I´m so happy with the notice. I only hope that the track allows a good race, not a boring one with out overtakes

Posted by TXF1 on 26/05/2010

As a native TX living in Dallas and went to UT Austin for school, this is great news. Austin will make a great venue for F1. There are tons of activities around the city, 4 major cities within 4 hours drive of each other to draw in the crowd, and lastly Texans love cars! You cannot survive in TX with a a car, so Texans have a special affinity towards their cars. Geographical wise Austin TX makes sense as well. It's in the middle of the US and is no more than a 4-5 hour flight from any extremity of the country.

Lastly if anyone doubts Austin's ability to host F1, I say look at ACL festival, and SXSW. Austin knows how to host a party.

Posted by Eric Barnes on 26/05/2010

As a lifelong Indy resident and F1 enthusiast, (all USGP in Indy, races in Belgium, Hungary, Malaysia and this year Canada) I of course, am sorry the race did not return to IMS. What I don't get is Bernie saying "Indianapolis just did not attract the right type of people." What the hell type of people does he think are going to be there in Austin? I've been to Austin and I'm not knocking the people there. They are very similar to Indy. Warm and friendly, down to earth, typical middle Americans! I don't know what difference Bernie expects from the "people". Of course the circuit could, if properly designed, add character from the natural terrain that just can't happen at Indy. I congratulation Austin and the people of Texas, and I'll see you in 2012!

Posted by doogie on 26/05/2010

Hopefully it will be cheaper than Montreal. We go every year, I'm in Connecticut, but it gets really expensive. $300 a night for a hotel....but we pay it just to see a F1 race.

Posted by Scott on 26/05/2010

Does anyone else think a purpose-built track near Vegas could turn out to be another Monaco? Nowhere else in the US is there already an international draw. Besides, being a left-coaster I'd get to go without much difficulty!

Posted by Bernard D. on 26/05/2010

For those that doubt the City's ability to run big sporting events, remember the University of Texas football stadium has about a 100,000 capacity which is regularly sold out - that's bigger than National stadiums like Wembley in London. OK, the crowd is going to be different, with more travelling from across the Country, Mexico and maybe points further South, but Austin can handle it assuming the finances are in place.

I too would love to see Austin get the former NASCAR Nationwide race that used to be in Mexico City - that would be a GREAT addition. Don't mistake that as implying Austin is a big NASCAR City - far from it - it's WAY, WAY more liberal than that, but a virtual pairing with Montreal in both F1 and NASCAR would be a stunning combination.

Posted by Tim Wolf on 26/05/2010

Putting F1 in Texas has to be the worst idea of all time. Put it in California, Florida or NY - places that people actually want to visit. Even Americans don't want to go to Texas, let alone any Europeans. After the first event, its going to be the same old lines - no one in the US likes F1, the US is full of overweight NASCAR fans, etc. The race should be held on a coast where there is actually huge American interest in the sport. Putting it in Texas is basically guaranteeing that the race fails. Another extremely poor decision by Eccelstone guided only by money in his pocket, not the best interest of the sport or the American F1 fan. He needs to step down.

Posted by GiffT on 26/05/2010

Well there are a lot of things that have to go right, but personally I am very excited. I think Texas is a great place to have a Grand Prix. Although there should be aero changes by 2012 I hope the track built for heavy passing. If everything works out I hope to be at every race there in the future. God Bless Texas!

Posted by Neil on 26/05/2010

It won't happen - this is exactly the same as the Donington situation in the UK. A speculative developer has made loads of promises without any substance. Where is the circuit? Who owns the land? Where is the money coming from?
It's all pie in the sky.

Posted by Pete on 26/05/2010

It makes no sense, they have to buy property and invest a couple hundred million into a track when the Monticello track already has most of the infrastructure, the track, and is close to an airport. Probably some sweetheart deal for Ecclestone involving him making 50 or 60 million a year.

Posted by Bloggins on 26/05/2010

Neil's right, it won't happen. Bernie has simply given the backers, at no cost to himself, a piece of paper that they can use to try to raise financing and support. When they can't the whole thing will dry up and blow away. The US just doesn't care enough about F1 to pay Bernie's extortionate prices and Bernie isn't going to put up his money to develop the market. F1 works in Europe because enough people still care about it and in the Third World because they think it's a gateway into the First World. The Canadian and Australian races will probably go the way of Indianapolis in fairly short order.

Posted by Alex on 26/05/2010

I fear that Neil's comments above me will only prove to be far too accurate... :(

Posted by Anuj Malvankar on 26/05/2010

Like already said, the funding (or rather the lack of mention of it) is a worry. This reminds me of the hype created in India some years back when the President of Indian Olympic Committee, Mr. Suresh Kalmadi, declared that he had received a 'letter of intent' from Bernie Ecclestone. He is hardly in the F1 news nowadays. I found it all quite ridiculous.

Posted by Eduardo Souza on 26/05/2010

It would be great! I will believe it when i see the first Friday practice.After the USF1 effort failed.

Posted by Scott McClelland on 27/05/2010

This will never happen. Does anyone really believe that a "never heard of 'em before" promoter is going to build a F1 quality track in 2 years, in a city with no professional motorsports history, and then stage ten years worth of F1 races at it? At worst this is Bernie's final descent into senility. At best it is just a bargaining chip to get what he wants from another U.S. promoter, just as he used Donington to get the deal he wanted from Silverstone. The only thing certain about it is that it will be the final death knell of F1 in America for a generation.

Posted by Josh Volk on 27/05/2010

I have to say that I think the same as some of the more recent posters in that this is all just a pipe dream. Obviously, it would be great for F1 to be back in the states, but in Texas?! Never going to happen. It just doesn't fit with the whole F1 circus feel and none of the people down there give two hoots about anything that involves turning to the right at some point. F1 fits much better on either coast, and NY would be better, as it would also line up well for easy travel to and from the Canadian round as well.

Posted by Bobby White on 27/05/2010

Austin Texas! Surprising! First of all I'm glad F1 "may be" coming back to U.S. soil. I understand Austin is a rising star of a city but to host an F1 event you'd better be on your collective game.
A purpose-built track in Las Vegas would have been my choice! Indy never had the magic or anything else for that matter!
With all the desert in the L.V. area they could make it the fastest F1 track in the world.
On with the show!

Posted by Francois Tremblay on 27/05/2010

I'm very happy that finally a US race is scheduled...(but is that going to be the 20th of the calendar ?)...I'm lucky to live in Montreal where our race is a total sold-out every year with a great ambiance (exactly like in Australia), I was lucky to attend Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Melbourne this year and even if the first 2 are unbelievable regarding facilities, F1 needs GP like Mtl and Melbourne, there was absolutly no ambiance in the Middle East !!!
They are calling it a World Championship, so without the USA, its really missing a huge market
So, I just hope that it will happen in 2012 and that it will be a great party !!!

Hope to see everybody in Montreal in 2 weeks


Posted by ChrisCox on 29/05/2010

I'm originally from the UK and have been a motorsports fan for more years than I care to remember. When living in Connecticut I raced many times at Lime Rock CT and Bryar NH. I have lived in Austin for 26 years and it is a wonderful, cosmopolitan city unlike anywhere else in Texas. But there is a void - no good road race circuits. A lot of people here have come from other states and countries where they can follow racing in person and they will turn out in droves to support F1 in Austin. It is an inspired choice and is backed by the State of Texas and City of Austin. I'm guessing that most of the writers criticizing this choice of location have never lived here and are making assumptions it is exclusively Nascar country just because Texas is in the SW - not true. F1 here will draw locally from Austin, Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and N. Mexico. Plus many more will fly in from all over the US, Canada, S. America and Europe.
It will be great to have a US F1 Grand Prix again.

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