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Latest F1 news in brief - Tuesday
  • Formula E - the forerunner of things to come
    McLaren to supply engines for electric series
  • HRT sacks staff, seeks buyer to avoid closure
  • 2012 finale could be title fizzer - Webber
  • Glock always beats Vettel - at chess
  • 204 fewer pitstops in 2012 - analysis
  • 'Double DRS' was wrong turn for Mercedes - Brawn
  • New deal shows team still believes - Vergne
  • Force India in 'no rush' to decide 2013 driver
  • Sauber and Chelsea to announce joint sponsor
  • Caterham F1 Team Gets $9M Loan From Malaysian Investment Bank
  • Schumacher Partners With Door Systems Producer
  • London's Olympic Park To Host First Formula E Race
  • McLaren puts itself at the heart of Formula E
  • Is Sunday's F1 race weird enough for Austin, Texas?
  • Power boost for Lotus in Austin
  • Austin: Drivers get extra tires for Friday practice
  • F1 Returns to U.S. this Week on SPEED
  • Airport customs expands as F1 fan arrivals loom New

McLaren to supply engines for electric series
(GMM)  McLaren has signed up to supply engines to the FIA's new electric series 'Formula E' in 2014.

Already the supplier of standard electric control units to every formula one team, McLaren Electronic Systems will provide Formula E's engine, transmission and electronics, the company announced in a statement.

The cars will be built by a company called Spark Racing Technology.

HRT sacks staff, seeks buyer to avoid closure
(GMM)  HRT has revealed that it is pushing to sell the Spanish F1 team.

Before the official confirmation, it was reported by Spain's El Confidencial on Monday that the struggling team had dismissed 32 employees, and needed a buyer before December to avoid closure.

HRT, owned by Thesan Capital since last July, swiftly confirmed that it is "in talks with a number of groups interested in buying the team".

The media statement said Thesan wants to complete a deal within weeks, adding that "the time has come for the team to continue growing with new financial backing".

The new owners would be HRT's fourth since the team's inception in 2009.

2012 finale could be title fizzer - Webber
(GMM)  Mark Webber has warned that the 2012 championship finale may not be as spectacular as some are expecting.

The Australian's Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel, and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, are separated by just 10 points with only the Austin and Brazil races now to come.

But Webber told WA Today: "They may not even see each other on-track -- that's the way it turns out sometimes.

"It's a bit like an FA Cup final or the rugby league grand final -- sometimes it doesn't live up to the hype."

Indeed, while Ferrari is pushing hard to improve its F2012, the latest rumor is that upgrades tested at Idiada recently failed to deliver the expected speed boost.

Even Felipe Massa admits Red Bull is the favorite going into this weekend's US grand prix.

"It's a new track, and I might be wrong," he told Brazilian reporters this week, "but from what I've seen on the simulator, it's similar to Korea and India.

"We were reasonably competitive on those two circuits, but Red Bull was very strong," said Alonso's Ferrari teammate.

Glock always beats Vettel - at chess
(GMM)  Reigning back-to-back world champion and 2012 points leader Sebastian Vettel has admitted that F1 backmarker Timo Glock always beats him -- in a game of chess.

Switzerland's Blick newspaper reports that Red Bull driver Vettel only discovered his love of the famous board game in the past few weeks.

So far, the German has played mostly against his countryman Glock, who drives for Marussia.

"Timo is the only one who is giving me real problems this year," laughed Vettel.  "Because he always wins!"

This weekend will be Vettel's 100th grand prix, where in Austin the 25-year-old could theoretically wrap up his third consecutive drivers' championship.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that Lewis Hamilton's latest pastime is recording music in a $2,400 per day London studio, the Sun newspaper reports.

"He's very passionate about music and wants his work to be of good quality," said a source.  "He's got the cash, so why not?

"But he has no intention of becoming a pop star."

204 fewer pitstops in 2012 - analysis
(GMM)  There have been 204 fewer pitstops this year compared to the same period in 2011, an analysis by the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport shows.

The report showed that, in the first 18 races of last year, there were 1,058 pitstops, compared to 854 so far in 2012.

"Pirelli is playing it safer," journalist Michael Schmidt surmised.

The conclusion is that while Pirelli's compounds are generally softer this year, the Italian marque is now often more conservative when it comes to choosing the compounds for grands prix.

Paul Hembery admitted: "The tires were probably too hard for India and Abu Dhabi," said Pirelli's motor sport director.

"This will be corrected next year."

Another factor, Hembery said, is that "the cars are generating more downforce, and the teams have learned how to deal with the tires".

'Double DRS' was wrong turn for Mercedes - Brawn
(GMM)  Ross Brawn has admitted Mercedes took a wrong turn by focusing too hard on its 'double DRS' innovation this year.

As the German team slumps ahead of Lewis Hamilton's arrival in 2013, boss Brawn told Italy's Autosprint that he has some regrets about the development direction of the 2012 single seater.

"Yes," said the Briton.  "One of the conclusions we have reached is that while the double DRS was valid, it held us back in other areas.

"Today there is a lot of, let's say, smart technology around the front wings.  But we had our system, and our wings were designed around this concept.

"When it became clear from what others were doing what the potential was of another philosophy, maybe we should have taken a step back."

Brawn hinted that Mercedes' 'double DRS' meant the team was not able to explore some of the latest trends, like flexible or bendy noses and wings.

"As you say, there are some 'structural' considerations that we have seen this year," he said, "but this will disappear next year -- or should disappear."

New deal shows team still believes - Vergne
(GMM)  Jean-Eric Vergne thinks his paymasters still believe he has what it takes to perform in formula one.

The 22-year-old Frenchman's debut season with the Red Bull junior team Toro Rosso has been mixed.

On the one hand, he has out-scored his slightly more experienced teammate Daniel Ricciardo, but on the other he was ousted from the initial 'Q1' qualifying segment on no fewer than 8 occasions so far.

Still, Toro Rosso has signed him up for 2013.

"It gives me a good boost," Vergne is quoted by France's L'Equipe.

"It also demonstrates that the team believes in my ability to become even stronger.

"That is what I feel at the end of this season; I feel I can do much better, and the team as well.  I'm confident for next year."

Team boss Franz Tost said it was "always" the intention to field Vergne alongside Ricciardo for at least two full seasons.

"It takes time to settle into formula one, to get to know all the tracks, to get to know the whole team," he told F1's official website recently.

"Remember, these are all very young guys who have to swallow a lot of new things in a very short time to even get started.  That is why you have to give them two years."

Red Bull team boss Christian Horner recently suggested Vergne and Ricciardo are still candidates to replace Mark Webber in 2014.

Vergne: "Anything can happen.  But we are in 2012 and there is another full season with Toro Rosso ahead.  I am not even thinking about 2014."

Force India in 'no rush' to decide 2013 driver
(GMM)  Force India will wait until the end of the season before announcing its driver lineup for 2013.

It is, however, an open secret that Paul di Resta is staying put, after his 2012 teammate Nico Hulkenberg penned a deal to switch to Sauber next season.

The list of candidates to replace German Hulkenberg is long, ranging from Toro Rosso's former Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi, ex-team driver Adrian Sutil and reservist Jules Bianchi.

"We have traditionally waited until the end of the season to confirm our lineup and I expect we will stick to this schedule," team owner and boss Vijay Mallya said.

"With the state of the driver market at the moment there is no rush to make an announcement."

One more candidate for the 2013 seat is 23-year-old Brazilian Luiz Razia, who recently tested for Toro Rosso in the young drivers' test in Abu Dhabi.

"The day after my test was announced, Toro Rosso confirmed its (current race) drivers!" Razia laughed to Jovem Pan radio.

"But there is still a vacancy at Force India and the smaller teams like Caterham.  I think Sauber is already locked with Hulkenberg and probably Gutierrez," he added.

As for Force India, Razia - who will be in Brazil next weekend for talks - said he has done his "part and now it is up to them to decide".

"Sutil is pushing for the vacancy, he has scored a lot of points with them and has sponsors who pay his salary, so he's (a) strong (candidate)," he said.

Sauber and Chelsea to announce joint sponsor
(GMM)  Sauber is set to announce a joint sponsor with its partner Chelsea, the English premier league football club.

Earlier this year, the Swiss F1 team announced the "new and innovative partnership" with Chelsea, in which the sports teams wear each others' logos.

Now, the Daily Mail reveals that Sauber and Chelsea are poised to announce their first joint sponsor.

"The first commercial joint venture will be announced in two months' time," said Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay.

"You are going to see some results of the partnership very soon."

The Daily Mail also reports that, amid the Gerhard Gribkowsky corruption affair, premier league chief executive Richard Scudamore is on the list of potential candidates to replace Bernie Ecclestone.

"But it would need a considerable offer to tempt Scudamore away (from football)," admitted journalist Charles Sale.

Caterham F1 Team Gets $9M Loan From Malaysian Investment Bank
The Caterham F1 team has "received a financial boost at the eleventh hour," according to Christian Sylt of PITPASS.com. The boost comes "in the form of a £5.7M ($9M) loan from Malaysian investment bank CIMB, which earlier this year was named as one of the backers of the stalled £6.3B ($10B) flotation of F1 itself." It gave the loan to Caterham on Sept. 18, and it is "secured on the team's factory in Leafield," England. This means that "if the team fails to repay the money it could lose its base of operations." The team lies in 11th place and only has two races remaining in which to improve its position, "otherwise its prize money will fall to a fixed fee of £6.3M ($10M) from the estimated £22.9M ($36.6M) it received for finishing 10th last year." Caterham needs to do whatever it can "to regain 10th place from Marussia." For a team like Caterham £5.7M is a lot of money, and it "needs the boost now more than ever before." This season has been Caterham's "worst since it joined F1 in '10 as it has finished 10th for the past two consecutive years, which qualified it for a share of the sport's profits rather than the £6.3M fixed fee." PITPASS.com

Schumacher Partners With Door Systems Producer
Mercedes F1 driver Michael Schumacher, who will end his career at the end of the season, will be a brand ambassador for the German-based Hormann Group. The most successful F1 driver of all time and one of Europe's most-successful producers of doors has now agreed on a long-term cooperative partnership. From the beginning of '13, Schumacher will seek to make the Hormann brand even more popular as the representative of the globally active family-owned company. Hormann Group's personally liable partner Martin Hormann said, "For years, Michael Schumacher has stood for success, ambition, experience, enthusiasm for technology and family values -- and therefore goes perfectly with a family-run company such as Hormann." Schumacher said, "I have known the Hormann brand since the start of my motorsport career. Even the industrial sectional doors at our go-kart track in Kerpen [Germany] were from Hormann, and I also see the products at many of today's Formula 1 tracks, for example in Spa, at the Nürburgring or in Shanghai." Hormann Group

London's Olympic Park To Host First Formula E Race
Starting in '14, FIA Formula E races "are supposed to be hosted on a regular basis, with an inaugural race at London's Olympic Park," according to MEIN-ELEKTROAUTO.com. London's Olympic Park is currently mentioned as a possible place to host the first-ever Formula E race, FIA's electric car version of F1, which is set to start in '14. Former U.K. Minister of Science and current Motorsport Industry Association President Paul Drayson suggested that the Olympic Park "would be a great place for Formula E races." The Formula E is supposed to be raced in the world's best-known cities such as Rio de Janeiro, Paris, N.Y., Miami, London, Berlin and many more. MEIN-ELEKTROAUTO.com

McLaren puts itself at the heart of Formula E
McLaren is putting itself at the heart of the FIA’s new adventure into electric vehicle motorsport via a deal for its McLaren Electronic Systems division to supply electric engines, transmissions and electronics to the new Formula E series, starting in 2014.

The company, which has the contracts to supply the standard Electronic Control Units to all F1 and NASCAR teams, is joining forces with Frederic Vasseur, the man behind ART Grand Prix, with whom McLaren placed Lewis Hamilton for his successful Euro F3 and GP2 apprenticeship.

Vasseur’s Spark Racing Technologies company is building the cars for the new series, which is set to race around city centre tracks in some of the world’s most prominent cities.

The Formula E initiative came out of a request in 2011 from the European Commission to FIA president Jean Todt to set up an international EV series which would have sufficient promotional assets and backing to put EV racing on the map and to engage motorsport engineers in order advance the development of technologies, which will help with road cars.

“It will be a single-seater but I want this single-seater not to be like Formula 3 or Formula 2 but to have a design which is quite visionary, a car for the future, probably with covered wheels, with a cockpit which should be different,” said Todt in a recent interview with the Financial Times.

The FIA appointed a promoter recently, Alejandro Agag and he and his backers are putting together a calendar of events starting with Rio de Janeiro (below) in 2014.

Todt said, “The promoter at the moment is working on a calendar. I know that a lot of big cities in Europe, in America… Big interest in America. I know that New York has been contacted, Washington DC has been contacted, Miami has been contacted, Los Angeles has been contacted.

“In Canada Vancouver has been contacted. A lot of European countries. And the idea, the promoter will come with a kind of big package to implement in the cities to organize… You know, it’s a bit like the circus. They will come and build the layout in one existing part of the city. The great thing is that it’s electric power and electric power has only for me a future in the cities. I don’t believe at all in one electric car going from Paris to London.” James Allen on F1

Is Sunday's F1 race weird enough for Austin, Texas?
As the Texas capital prepares to host the first Grand Prix in the United States in five years, some in laid-back Austin say this weekend's glamorous race clashes with the city's soul.

In this environmentally-conscious college town of 800,000, where the bumper stickers say "Keep Austin Weird" and there are no professional sports teams, there is widespread opposition to the Formula One race.

Some skeptics have come around, embracing the race and the sleek parties that come with it, while others are still shaking their heads over fears of clogged streets, noisy helicopter traffic and a negative impact on the environment, all for a ritzy event they say is simply un-Austin.

"Many opponents said that this is kind of the wrong image - frivolous emissions, carbon and other pollutants into the air just for amusement purposes - for a city that wants to be seen as the most sustainable city in the United States," said Tom Smith, director of the Texas office of Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group.

Officials at Circuit of the Americas, which owns the new racetrack, say they're working to minimize the environmental impact of the event and point out that F1 innovations lead to more efficient passenger cars.

Texas Comptroller Susan Combs touts the economic impact of the event, which she says will generate some $220 million for the state.

And many Austinites are thrilled about the race at the 3.4-mile (5.5 kilometer), $400 million track facility southeast of town, as well as a downtown fan festival and concerts by Aerosmith and Enrique Iglesias.

"It's just another thing that makes Austin weird," said Julie Loignon, a spokeswoman for Circuit of the Americas, adding that F1 was too shiny, too chic for Austin, more of a Dallas-type thing.

"Austin is very European, with its politics, its progressive thinking. People are going to come here, buy their boots, let their hair down, and they're going to have a lovely time."

F1 has not raced in the U.S. since 2007, when the Grand Prix was held at Indianapolis, and teams are eager to return to a country that is a key market for sponsors and car manufacturers but one that the sport has found hard to crack over the years.

A second Grand Prix was planned for New Jersey in 2013 but has been postponed until 2014.

F1 is expected to race for a decade at the 20-turn Austin track featuring a steep climb to a hairpin Combs has called "that extraordinary drive up into the heavens."

The fact that the race is in Austin is due in large part to Tavo Hellmund, an Austin-born former race car driver who has a close relationship with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.

After working to bring the race to his hometown, Hellmund eventually parted ways with Circuit of the Americas, and there were such serious struggles among race organizers that in late 2011, construction on the track was halted prompting speculation the race may not happen.

"For a lot of us longtime Austinites, Formula One is hard to swallow," City Council Member Chris Riley wrote in the Austin American-Statesman last year. "We're not that big on fast cars; we're more into hybrids, electric vehicles, bikes and public transit."

Since then, Riley has warmed to the idea, mostly because the city and Circuit of the Americas signed an environmental agreement that calls for purchasing carbon offsets, limiting traffic, providing access for cyclists, planting trees, recycling and composting, and allowing electric vehicle research at the track.

The City Council's support of the project was needed to qualify the event for $25 million in state subsidies that race officials can seek after it happens.

"If this were just another race car venue, well then, that would detract from our character," Riley, who plans to bike to the race, told Reuters recently.

"On the other hand, if this site becomes known as being the most sustainable racetrack in the world and that's here in Austin, Texas, that's a lot closer to the character of the city that we love."

Edgar Farrera was brought on at Circuit of the Americas in January as what he believes is the first circuit sustainability director in the history of Grand Prix.

"We're not trying to tell people, ‘If you want to do something to save the planet, go drive your car very fast,'" Farrera told Reuters.

Rather, he said, he's constantly thinking about how to minimize the impact of crowds, whose traffic and waste will have a bigger environmental impact than the two dozen F1 cars, each of which races on a single tank of gas.

And he delicately pointed out that it doesn't much matter to the environment whether crowds arrive for a sporting event or a music festival.

Austin, which calls itself the Live Music Capital of the World, proudly hosts the Austin City Limits Music Festival and the South by Southwest music, film and interactive conferences.

Smith of Public Citizen said the track's environmental initiatives don't go far enough.

"This is a heavily greenwashed race," Smith said. He added: "As you can tell, I'm not real happy."

State Senator Kirk Watson, a Democrat who is a former Austin mayor, said F1 is just another way the city brings different people together.

"In the old days, it might have been rednecks sitting next to hippies," Watson told Reuters at an opening ceremony for the track.

"In this day and age, though, it's people from all over the world coming to enjoy the spirit of the town." Reuters

Power boost for Lotus in Austin
After taking its first grand prix win for four years with Kimi Raikkonen in Abu Dhabi, the Enstone, UK-based Lotus team is expecting to have more power for the first US Grand Prix to be held at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas this weekend.

Technical director James Allison explained: "Since we upgraded the car with the Coanda exhaust system in Korea, the E20 has actually been pretty decent. It maybe didn't look that way in Korea and India as we were trapped behind other people, but the pace of the car in the races has been strong.

"In Abu Dhabi, Kimi was making very confident sounding noises before the race as he was happy with the car. What we needed was an adequate result from qualifying to give us half a chance, then a good start, and we got both. It was the first time for a long time where we could run the car in free air near the front of the grid and, hey presto, we won the race.

"We are still experimenting with the latest evolution of our Coanda system. This delivers the same downforce as the one we introduces in Korea and used in the Abu Dhabi race, but does not sap as much power from the engine. We trialed this evolution in Abu Dhabi but opted to go for the known quantity of the Korea spec.

"No that we have the young driver test behind us, we are confident that this evolution will assist with around an extra 6bhp for the last two races of the season. We also have a small aero upgrade to the front wing."

Although providing additional downforce, especially in low and medium speed corners, the original Lotus Coanda exhaust was estimated to cost around 12-12bhp.

Austin: Drivers get extra tires for Friday practice
Sole Formula 1 tire supplier Pirelli will be bringing an extra set of its Hard compound rubber for use in Friday practice at the Circuit of the Americas, aiding the drivers as they attempt to get to grips with the only new venue of the season.

Usually, eleven sets of dry weather tires (six Prime and five Option) are available to each driver for a Grand Prix weekend. One set of Primes must be handed in after first practice, as well as a set of the Option tires after second practice. However, in Texas, the teams will get seven sets of the Hard compound tire to begin the event, with one set being given back to Pirelli after each 90-minute session. For Saturday and Sunday, the usual limit of four Prime and four Option sets will be in place.

The silver marked Hard tire and the White marked Medium tire will be used throughout the Austin weekend, the most conservative selection available to Pirelli.

F1 Returns to U.S. this Week on SPEED
SPEED, the American television home for Formula One racing since 1996, plans an expanded programming slate from the Grand Prix of the United States, the penultimate event on the 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship circuit, highlighted by live race coverage Sunday, Nov. 18 at 1:30 p.m. ET from Austin, Texas.

Hosted by Bob Varsha, with analysis from David Hobbs and Steve Matchett, and pit reporting from Will Buxton, SPEED’s live coverage of the inaugural event from the newly built Circuit of the Americas begins Friday, Nov. 16 with the opening practice session on the 20-turn, 3.427-mile track at 10 a.m. ET.

“Our F1 team has had this weekend circled on the calendar for quite some time,” said SPEED President Scott Ackerson. “It’s tremendous to have Formula One racing again on U.S. soil, and SPEED’s expanded coverage will match the enthusiasm F1’s passionate fans have for the return.”

Earlier in the week, SPEED will air a 30-minute special entitled Building the Circuit of the Americas: F1’s Return to the U.S. (Nov. 11, 6 p.m. ET).

Former racer Sam Posey, who competed in the 1971 and ’72 U.S. Grand Prix events at Watkins Glen, also will provide his unique perspective.

In addition to coverage of all on-track action, SPEED.com enhances each broadcast with streaming video from four on-board cameras for each session -- two Mercedes-sponsored cameras, one Formula One Management (FOM)-produced feed and one “producer’s choice” feed. All will include natural sound.

SPEED.com’s comprehensive online and social media coverage of the Austin weekend also will include exclusive reporting from veteran F1 journalist Adam Cooper, commentary from the SPEED on-air team, event-specific video content and expanded photo galleries. SPEED also will expand its social offerings with the F1 Social Garage, live chats & polls, votes and fan interaction via the Formula 1 on SPEED Facebook account (www.facebook.com/formula1onspeed) and Twitter (@Formula1onSPEED).

SPEED.com’s popular live timing and scoring app -- SPEED GP Racecast -- is sponsored by Degree for the Austin event http://www.speedtv.com/formula-1-racecast/.

Broadcast schedule for the U.S. Grand Prix on SPEED (all times ET and subject to change):

Sunday, Nov. 11
Building the COTA: F1’s Return to the U.S. (6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.)

Friday, Nov. 16
Practice Session One (10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., LIVE)
Mobil 1 The Grid (Noon to 12:30 p.m.)
Practice Session Two (2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., LIVE)

Saturday, Nov. 17
Practice Session Three (10 a.m. to 11 a.m., LIVE)
Qualifying Session (1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., LIVE)

Sunday, Nov. 18
F1 Grand Prix of the United States (1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., LIVE)
The All-American Victory: Dan Gurney Wins the Belgian GP (4 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.)

Airport customs expands as F1 fan arrivals loom
With an influx of international race fans set to begin arriving Tuesday, workers have completed an expansion of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport’s customs facility that will double its capacity.

The city’s Aviation Department, working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, on Friday finished a project to increase from four to eight the number of processing stations at the customs facility on the airport terminal’s east side. The facility also was redesigned to allow arriving passengers on international flights, who previously had to clear a customs checkpoint before and after getting their luggage, to pick up their bags first and go through only one line.

The changes will allow agents to clear 150 to 170 passengers an hour through customs — flights with predominately foreign nationals on board take longer to process, officials said — up from 80 to 120 an hour before the expansion.

Airport officials said a fourth security checkpoint will open early Tuesday. That station — east of the ticketing lobby — will have two security lines Tuesday, airport spokesman Jason Zielinski said, and another two by Sunday when race fans begin to depart.

Fifty-eight international charters and private flights will be coming in over the next few days for the Formula One weekend, airport officials said.

“Traffic will start picking up Wednesday,” said Richard Mendez, the Austin port director for the federal customs agency. “Our biggest day will be Thursday. We’re all ready.”

The airport expects one international private flight Tuesday, six Wednesday, 19 Thursday, 21 Friday, four Saturday and one Sunday, airport officials said. Permits for six more in the two days after the race have also been issued, or are pending approval, they said.

The airport issued 240 permits for charters and private planes in the coming days, Zielinski said, including the 58 originating from foreign airports. Some of the 182 domestic flights could be planes that began their trips overseas, landed and cleared customs elsewhere in the U.S., and then came here.

The bulk of the foreign flights will be relatively short hops. More than two-thirds of the foreign flights are from Mexico, according to figures from the airport, and the rest are from such places as Canada, England, Spain, Switzerland and Guatemala.

Most of those planes will be small private flights with a dozen or fewer passengers, and customs likely will process many of them at the two fixed-based operator terminals on the south end of the airfield belonging to Atlantic Aviation and Signature Flight Support, officials said.

The expanded facility in the main terminal will handle several larger charters, as well as the regularly scheduled flights from Cancun, Mexico.

Mendez expects a few planes with as many as 150 passengers. He said his agency will temporarily post additional customs agents to Austin to handle the load.

The customs facility expansion, which cost about $250,000 and took only a couple of months, likely will be in place for about three years. The Austin City Council in October approved a $6.3 million design contract for what would be a four-story, 40,000-square-foot addition to the terminal — construction should cost another $40 million or so — that would permanently expand the customs capacity to 350 passengers an hour or more.

That project, Austin officials hope, could draw regular European airline flights to and from Austin, but would also speed the handling of F1-related arrivals in future years. http://www.statesman.com/news/news/transportation/airport-customs-expands-as-f1-fan-loom/nS486/

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