Hellmund Willing To Drop Out Of Austin Project UPDATE
“The real reason that we’re having this press conference today, instead of announcing a huge sponsor, which I hope we can do in a couple of weeks, is the simple fact that we don’t have a contract with F1. And the reason we don’t have a contract with F1 is that as a project we have failed many times over to fulfill our financial obligations to F1. It’s literally that simple."
“I was encouraged today to see some news reports that the door is still open for us to be able to fix that, and I’ve also been encouraged in recent days to see that apparently all the funding’s in place. And so with that being said I’m really optimistic and hopeful that we’re going to get this done and we’re going to have a Grand Prix next year.”
“Right now we should be praising Mr. Ecclestone. We were in breach on multiple issues since as late as May. He sent numerous requests and letters that we were all aware of, of how to fix it, and we failed to do that.
“More than anything this project needs to meet its financial obligations to F1. It’s just that simple. We can put a spin on it... Other people can point fingers at who’s to blame. I don’t want to do that.
“The project has been underfunded, and that’s not a surprise to anybody. I don’t think there’s any shame in that. If you budget for $150m or $200m and the project’s $300m, it’s a considerable difference. But again, I’m not party to that.
“I think the thing that’s disappointing is that the timing was just barely off. Mr. Ecclestone gave us opportunities for three months, literally, and I like to think that my relationship with him, although strained and tested now, allowed us that flexibility. When they ask you for payment and you don’t do it repeatedly, over and over and over, eventually...
“And even as recently as the now publicized meeting three weeks ago he told us you can pay this now and we’ll continue with the current contract, or we can tear it up and issue a new one, or we’ll just cancel the whole thing. We didn’t for whatever reason choose to remedy the one that was in place, and to my knowledge there was another one sent that hasn’t been executed yet, but maybe it will.
“There’s a solution. If Mr. Ecclestone and FOM get their money, there’s a Grand Prix next November. It’s that simple.” speedtv.com11/18/11 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 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 rumors 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.” Speed.com