Top FIA man Craw pleased with Austin progress

Craw, Hellmund and Tilke partner Peter Wahl are happy with progress

Preparations for the US GP in Austin took a step forward this week when FIA Senate President Nick Craw visited the site and met with promoters and officials. Also President of ACCUS, Craw is a close associate of Jean Todt, and his stamp of approval is a major boost for the project.

“It will be great,” said Craw. “This has some of the most interesting, exciting and different features, drawn from other successful venues around the world. It is a very strong team they’ve assembled here. I think it’s a very good plan and a very solid business model. They’ve set the bar pretty high.”

Accompanied by Tim Mayer, Craw also met with various public officials, including Austin mayor Lee Leffingwell and Susan Combs, the Texan Comptroller who has authorised state backing of the event, albeit not the construction of the venue.

Promoter Tavo Hellmund commented in a statement: “We were pleased to have Mr Craw and Tim Mayer, alternate FIA delegate, visit the facility site and meet the incredible team assembled to build and operate what we believe will be one of the premiere racetracks on the circuit and a world-class venue. Our team is committed to building more than a race track, we are thinking far beyond the expected and are developing an environment that will provide an entertainment experience for both participants and spectators alike.”

Meanwhile in the light of the dramas in Korea there is talk of the FIA enforcing the 90-day inspection rule. With the first race expected to run in June 2012, in conjunction with the Canadian GP, that would give Austin barely 15 months to finish the project from the planned start of construction in December.

Craw said: “That probably protects everybody’s interest a little better than running right up against the event,” but apparently he added that he would lobby against it if the Austin organisers so desired.

Hellmund commented: “While we would love to have the luxury of having a completed track 90 days in advance of the event date – the schedule, much like the construction schedule for the last five grand prix track developments and races added to the schedule, will potentially not afford us this opportunity. All of these events have been successful in their own right and it wouldn’t make sense to invoke a 90-day mandate now, that would affect only one track in the world – ours.”

However the 90-day rule would also presumably put pressure on India, where the first race is scheduled for October 30 next year.

10 Comments

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10 responses to “Top FIA man Craw pleased with Austin progress

  1. Peter G

    Why do these guys sit there and look so stupid giving the……… ” Thumbs Up ?”

    Shoot the photographer, I think .

  2. This is the same Nick Craw who “blessed” the USF1 programe , even after a vist to the factory!
    What does he actually know about racing?

    • The US F1 connection is a little unfortunate, but Nick is a very experienced guy. With US F1 I think he wanted it to happen, like most American racing insiders, and gave them the benefit of the doubt until things started to really go off the rails.

      • Jonathan

        These people are nuts. This is never gonna happen. It’s almost hilarious that people who like F1 are convinced it’s all gonna go ahead as planned.
        F1 has no place in the US until it’s a soundly viable financial proposition i.e. will make real money, not just have a perceived value.

  3. I guess we have to wait for the next WMSC get together before we find out any more

  4. Tony Dowe

    Adam, please! Nick Craw’s sole responsebility was to make sure that as the head of ACCUS the USF1 company was ready and fiscally sound enough to represent the USA on a world stage! The same goes for quite a number of well placed media, both US and European, that were made to look stupid for blessing such a ponzi scheme!
    Wanting a programe to succeed and doing one’s job are very different situations.
    Did Mr Craw check contracts and ensure that Red McComb is able to follow through with all of the financial reqirements when he was visiting Austin? No, he went to Austin so that they could “kiss the ring” and make sure that he was not left out of anything, because no one had asked him in. Did Austin really need Nick Craw to approve a Bernie/Tilke circuit?
    Returning to USF1, the FIA sent Deloitte and Touche to look at the USF1 books and the FIA still allowed the mess to continue, so what chance do you think the American public has of seeing a “proper” GP take place? This is the same guy who when asked about in-acting a 90 day rule he said he would, unless the organizers did not want it!
    Now that is a politician. He knows zero about racing, so why would anyone take notice of what he is giving the “thumbs up” too!

  5. tom baker

    Actually I think that the timing could be perfect for F1 in the USA. Indy Car is a shambles. People are getting bored with Nascar. F1 could catch on if it is promoted properly and early enough.

  6. jeremy

    Right on, Tom about indy car. Personally, I am excited about F1’s return to the U.S. and having a proper track to run it this time. As much as I love indy and the fact that I only live a few hours from there, it was never really suited in my opinion. Bring on Austin!

    All that being said, indy is moving away from that dreaded spec car in a year or so so hopefully innovation will come back to that series albeit it would be light years behind an F1 machine…

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