Hellmund: I’m willing to leave Austin project

Tavo Hellmund has admitted that he would be willing to drop out of the Austin project and has been in negotiation with his COTA partners over a buyout.

Given that his Full Throttle Productions company no longer actually holds a contract with Bernie Ecclestone to run a Grand Prix, his position would seem to be weaker than it once was.

Hellmund was keen to deny suggestions that he had turned down a significant sum.

“I have personally been a little bit bothered with some of the rumours that I’ve heard, that Tavo is holding out for money,” he said today. “I had a national reporter call me today and tell me that I walked away from $39m. I’m not money oriented.

“If I had been offered even less than 10% of that you wouldn’t be seeing me today, I would be in Tahiti working on my tan. I’ve spent six or seven years working on this and made a decent salary for one of those years, and I’m hoping that we can all get this back on the road.

“As recently as last night I’ve offered my services to try to fix this, but I don’t want anyone to question my motives.”

Hellmund admitted that after the dispute began, he offered to buy the other partners out, and they not only declined but then offered to buy him out. He said that it had been an “ongoing negotiation that really has nothing to do with whether F1 and Bernie bring the circus or not.”

Later Hellmund began to explain that he had agreed to a buyout before his attorney grabbed the microphone and said that no resolution has been reached.

However Hellmund added: “Let’s just say that there’s been a difference of philosophy, and for the good of the project, I’m willing to do whatever it takes to go forward. That’s the truth.”

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