US GP site might not be ready for 2012 debut UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'strong' today. In an unexpected move, the City of Austin finally released an e-mail containing specific plans from Tavo Hellmund, the man behind bringing the F1 Grand Prix racing series to Central Texas. The document, obtained through a public information request by the "Austin Business Journal" and posted online, lists the anticipated track construction time as 24 months.
KXAN Austin News confirmed its release and contents with a Formula 1 spokesperson Monday. Previously, the developers said construction would take about 18 months, starting in December for a June 2012 opening date. On Monday, an F1 spokesperson said developers are sticking with that 18-month time period.
Because of copyright laws, the City initially told the media it could not copy the documents but instead allowed a 30-minute glance to take notes only.
The F1 spokesperson said the documents contained trade secrets developers did not want to share for business reasons.
The spokesperson, who alluded to the City’s possible “glitch” in releasing the documents, also said the mentioned 24-month timeframe probably included the months of planning before the December construction start date.
Hellmund’s May 18 e-mail came a week before the date's announcement, verifying the City knew - before the announcement - about the plan to bring Formula 1 to Austin at a later date. The Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau said the City never made CVB staff aware of the Formula 1 possibility.
The State Comptroller's Office said the State and City found out about the move sometime in the week before the May 25 announcement.
Meanwhile, New York and Indianapolis had also tried to attract the series there. WXAN.com
11/02/10 (GMM) New information casts doubt upon whether organizers of the 2012 United States grand prix can prepare the Austin site in time for its inaugural race date.
Construction is set to begin in December, but an official document – obtained by the Austin Business Journal – shows that the expected build time for the bespoke circuit east of the Austin-Bergstrom international airport is 24 months.
According to the local KXAN Austin News, the news was confirmed by a spokesman for F1, who said the 24 month timeframe could include months of planning before the December start-date.
Earlier in 2010, Bernie Ecclestone warned that organizer Tavo Hellmund risked penalties if the inaugural race does not go ahead in 2012.