Austin meets deadline as work begins

Work finally commenced at the Austin site on December 30

Promoter Tavo Hellmund was on hand to keep an eye on progress

A picture of earth moving equipment would not normally be of much interest to motor racing fans, but these exclusive shots prove that work is finally underway at the site of the US GP in Austin.

Promoter Tavo Hellmund told everyone some months ago that work would have to begin in December in order to be ready for the first race, expected to be scheduled for June 2012.

And indeed the Austin team has met that schedule, albeit only just, as groundbreaking commenced yesterday. There’s still a long way to go, but at least the weather should be more favourable than it is elsewhere in the USA…

20 Comments

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20 responses to “Austin meets deadline as work begins

  1. D

    So their contract calls for work to start this year then?

    I smell another Donington, well ok its smelt that way since the project was first announced but its just getting stronger and stronger.

  2. Werner Berger

    I say all those mindless Donington smellers never took a proper look at the project particulars.

    I must say that Hellmund impressed me from day one with his strategic thinking. He did some very sound marketing research and got the most crucial points resolved before he pushed the button. He got a massive sponsorship by the the event fund and he selected a place which ticks all the boxes a North American race can have. It did not stop there.

    He got all his ducks properly lined up in the run up for the ground breaking. He did not even loose his cool when Bernie exposed the project to the press before he was prepared to talk about it. He just kept chipping away at it and kept it all on schedule.

    I pull my hat to the man. IMO the USGP in Austin will be a huge success. The Americans, the Texans and the US GP team deserve nothing less.

  3. Martin Collyer

    It’s a bit late isn’t it, even with Texas’s ‘can do’ approach that we keep hearing about. I read elsewhere that they have been told to be ready by June 2012, presumably to pair up with tha Canadian GP.

  4. Iain27

    I’ve lived in Texas for 18 months now (originally I’m from UK) and have watched their engineers tackle several large projects in that time. These guys really get stuff done and tall as this order may be, I believe they can do it in time.

    As Adam points out, the weather should be good for progress year-round and there will be no shortage of equipment or manpower in that area. As I live only 2 and a half hours away, I’m looking forward to 2012 and my buddies from Europe visiting for F1 Texas-style.

  5. O.R.K

    I don’t think that its too late for the work to commence as being in a part of the world where work can carry on pretty much 12 months a year with minimal effect from rain, like what was seen prior to the Korean GP, should mean that the work effort is pretty smooth and trouble free, hope it does come to fruition as I have some family friends up the road in Fort Worth!

  6. jim

    I still predict epic fail.

  7. Steve C

    It will get done on time, we Texans do have that “can do” attitude. I was out there yesterday and didn’t even notice the work being done.

  8. fieldfest

    do americans know how to make right-hand turns? maybe they’ll use foreign contractors for those parts

  9. RedLineTire

    I have to admit I’d never thought I’d see this day. They may or may not make a 2012 date in June but either way I think it’ll eventually happen.
    I just hope they serve good crow at the food stands…

  10. I really hope this happens. But most importantly they create a circuit which is not all about the facilities but about the race track itself! Have a new track designed which will help encourage racing!!!

  11. Airhog

    The track and racing facilities will be completed on time. The question is will anyone be able to reach the track on the race weekend.

  12. It’ll get done.
    We can’t be any worse than Korea. Can We?

    Ya’ll come on down. You can crash on my couch. I live 30 minutes from the track.
    Don’t be jealous.
    b.

  13. Mattw

    18 months is a tight scheadule, but I don’t see why it cannot be done. This project at least has something the Donnington project never had… somebody to pay for it.

  14. Tony

    I cant believe that you seriously think that some “posed” pictures, taken on the last possible day of December,are a sign that things are under control! Can you say USF1 !
    How many pictures were posted with machines shop and drawing office staff turning out toasters at a great rate?
    The other posts would seem to agree with this view. I suggest a “wait and see” attitude would be more fitting instead of rampant flag waving.

    • jo6pac

      Yep, I agree and with the economy going bye-bye it will be amazing if it holds a race. They should have gone to Long Beach, Calif. at lest you could have walked from your room to the track and then to dinner. Oh well another great bernie plan.

  15. Jonathan

    What a joke. Perhaps they are building some porta-potties.

  16. Stone the crows

    I would agree that this venture has what USF1 and Donnington did not, and that is capitol. Further the lessons learned from USF1 and Donnington are being applied here so that so that there isn’t another epic fail. A failure at Austin would not be a good thing for FOM, meaning Bernie Ecclestone. I think Bernie actually wants this venue and that counts for a lot. When it came to Donnington it was really just a way of getting Silverstone to mind its manners. And as for USF1 Bernie never has had much good to say about the start up teams that was all Max Mosley’s project, which also was a vain attempt to put FOTA in its place.
    It’s easy to be dismissive, as many were with the Korean GP, but they did get it done despite a lot of unexpected hindrances from the weather. But what are the real reasons that the readers think the new venue for the USGP will fail, rather than just pointing to past failures that have no connection at all to Austin or Tavo or his investors?

  17. Tony

    Why the doubt?
    How do you know that there is the amount of money needed to make this happen? Guys like “Red” did not get rich by just giving money away. Exactly the opposite. They are also not going to be long term players when they see the real returns. paying for F1 to have fun is not the name of his game.
    A failure to deliver will only be a dollar penalty that will benifit bernie. I suspect the penalty fee is already in escrow.
    Ahh, the Korean GP, a circuit that had the most dangerious pit “in” and “out” designed by the same guy as is doing Austin? I’m full of confidence he wont’t repeate the mistake!
    I am well aware of what is going on in Austin and I’m not full of the level of confidence needed to be a flag waver. Americans underestimate what the true cost to play in F1 is, Tavo has yet to deliver.
    Lets see where things are mid year.

  18. Stone the crows

    Tony,
    I wouldn’t say I’m a flag waver for the new USGP per se, but I do not understand the instant cynicism over it either. Nor do I understand what you’re saying about Red McCombs. Is it that he’s been duped by of all people Tavo Hellmund and doesn’t know what he’s gotten himself into? Or are you saying he’s too good a business man to be involved with this project at all? No, he didn’t get rich by giving his money away, he got rich by investing in ventures that were built to profitability as in his car dealerships, or that he later re-sold that had increased in value as in the Vikings franchise. And speaking of the Vikings franchise, are you saying that McCombs and the other investors didn’t do their homework on the business aspects of Formula One and don’t know what sort of a return they will get on their money? That is, are the workings of Formula One racing as a buisness somehow a mystery to Texas millionaires but its plain as the nose on our faces to the rest of us?
    As for the Korean GP pitlane, I have no idea why Tilke designed it that way, it is dangerous. Yeongam wouldn’t be the first track that had its pit lane re-designed over the years, but does that by extension mean that Tilke is going to create a colossal fail in Austin?
    I’m okay with waiting and seeing, but what are you waiting to see?

    • Thanks for some interesting comments here, sorry if some were late getting published as I’ve been slow to wake up after Xmas – also my inbox gets swamped by ‘pingback’ spam which doesn’t help!

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