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      05-25-2010, 02:11 PM   #1
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F1 returns the United States - Update: Over 700 acres. To be designed by Tilke

And the winner is... Austin, TX

Formula One World Championship Limited and Formula One Administration Limited (together, the F1 Commercial Rights Holder) and Full Throttle Productions, LP, promoter of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™, announce that a historic agreement has been reached for Austin, Texas to serve as the host city of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ for years 2012 through 2021.

“We are extremely honoured and proud to reach an agreement with the F1 Commercial Rights Holder. We have been diligently working together for several years to bring this great event to Austin, the State of Texas and back to the United States. All parties involved have a great amount of trust and confidence in each other and are committed to establishing the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ in Austin, Texas as a prestigious global event,” stated Tavo Hellmund, Managing Partner of Full Throttle Productions, LP.

Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of the Formula One Group stated: “For the first time in the history of Formula One in the United States, a world-class facility will be purpose-built to host the event. It was thirty years ago that the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ was last held on a purpose-built permanent road course circuit in Watkins Glen, NY (1961-1980), which enjoyed great success. Since then, Formula One has been hosted by Long Beach, Las Vegas, Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix all on temporary street circuits. Indianapolis joined the ranks of host cities in 2000 when they added a road course inside the famed oval. Lewis Hamilton won the last Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ in 2007, signalling the end to eight years at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This however, will be the first time a facility is constructed from the ground up specifically for Formula One in the US.”

Mr. Hellmund added: “This is a case of the right timing in the right place. As many Americans know, Austin has earned a reputation as one of the ‘it’ cities in the United States. Austin features that rare combination of ideal geographic location and beauty. Its fine dining, world-renowned hospitality and excellent transportation infrastructure make Austin ideally suited to host and manage an event of this magnitude. Few cities if any in America could rival the connectivity of all the key elements needed for hosting a Formula 1 event as well as Austin. Now, many people around the world will have the opportunity to experience a world-class event, facility and city.”

“We are pleased Texas has the opportunity to be involved with Formula 1 and that an event of this magnitude is coming to Austin,” said Susan Combs, Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts. “It has been a pleasure working with Full Throttle Productions, LP and Mr. Hellmund on this project. Their tradition of producing successful major events coupled with a thirty year relationship with Mr. Ecclestone has us looking forward to this worldwide event and the benefits it will bring, including local job creation, increased tourism and a significant economic impact added to our state economy. The visibility and prestige of this event will spotlight our state on an international stage.”

Texas Governor Rick Perry conveyed his enthusiasm for the project, explaining “Texas’ relatively strong economy continues to draw both national and international attention and I commend Comptroller Combs for her work in bringing this exciting event to the Lone Star State.”

City of Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell continued the positive sentiments, adding "The City of Austin will be proud to host this magnificent event and I look forward to welcoming the participants and fans of Formula One to our City."

Full Throttle Productions, LP acknowledges with great appreciation the efforts of all parties involved including Bernie Ecclestone, President and CEO of the Formula One Group, and the local and state officials of Texas.

“It has been a shared vision and monumental task to reach this agreement. We realize that over the last 30 years there have been one or two missing pieces from the previous editions of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™. We have a tremendous opportunity at hand to do it right - to feature Austin as the backdrop and produce the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ as one of the great sporting events in the world,” stated Hellmund.

In addition to the State of Texas being the 11th strongest economy in the world, it has more Fortune 500 company headquarters than any other state. Key features of Austin include:
- State capital nicknamed ‘Silicon Hills’ for being one of the most important regions in the US for the Technology Industry;
- USA’s 15th largest city and is located 145 miles from Houston (4th largest US city), 70 miles from San Antonio (7th largest US city), and 180 miles from Dallas (8th largest US city), population in this triangle is over 22 million;
- perfectly located geographically for North, South and Central American visitors;
- over 130 daily departing international flights within 180 miles;
- over 250,000 hotel rooms within 180 miles;
- desirable year-round climate, with an average annual temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 Celsius);
- geographically located in the Texas Hill Country, easily the most beautiful city in the State, and considered one of the most in the US;
- hotels/downtown/Formula 1 circuit/airport located within close proximity of each other, which is nearly impossible for any other large city in the US;
- world class night life entertainment along renowned ‘Sixth Street’; and
- large film industry presence - many movies filmed in the area.

Austin’s National Recognition
- Known as “The Live Music Capital of the World”
- Voted “Greenest City in America” (MSN)
- Voted “Least Stressful Large Metro” in the United States (Forbes)
- Voted Top Two “Best Cities” in the United States (Money Magazine)
- Voted Top Three “Hippest Cities” in the United States (Forbes)
- Voted Top Five “Safest Cities” in the United States (Forbes)
- Voted Top Ten “Sports & Fitness Cities” in the USA (Sports Business Journal)

Full Throttle Productions, LP is an Austin, Texas, special event and sports production company that provides event conception, event project management, day of event oversight, staffing and volunteer services, venue planning and logistics support.

More information on the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ will be forthcoming shortly. In the meantime, all queries should be directed to
Update 1 - 5/26/10:
Austin-area site obtained for US Grand Prix

By Jim Vertuno, AP Sports Writer
AUSTIN, Texas — Race promoters say they have secured a site and designer to build a track for the new Formula One United States Grand Prix to be run in Austin, beginning in 2012.

Tavo Hellmund, managing partner of Full Throttle Productions wouldn't disclose Wednesday the location of the Austin-area site nor its price, but said it's "more than 700 acres."

Hellmund also said the German firm Tilke GmbH firm had been hired to design the venue. Tilke has built racetracks in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Shanghai and Istanbul among other cities.

Formula One officials made the surprise announcement Tuesday of the revival of the United States Grand Prix, which hasn't been run since it was last held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2007. The officials also announced the Austin track would be the first in the United States built specifically for a Grand Prix event.

So far, Hellmund has not released details on how much the Austin racetrack is expected to cost, other than to say it will be built with private money and not with any public funds.

In a statement from Full Throttle, promoters said the course would be "one of the finest permanent road course facilities in the world. Fans should expect the craftsmanship Tilke is famous for, with a priority placed on green building and a track similar to the great Grand Prix tracks of previous generations."

Formula One president Bernie Ecclestone said the race in the Texas capital would mark the first time a course would be built specifically for an F1 race in the United States.

Before its run in Indianapolis, Formula One had been hosted by Long Beach, Las Vegas, Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix and other cities on city street circuits. The race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway was run on a road course built inside the oval track. Watkins Glen, N.Y, hosted a Grand Prix from 1961-80.

Austin seemed an unlikely destination for a Grand Prix event on a circuit that includes stops in Monte Carlo, Sau Paulo and Singapore. But with a metro area population of about 1.7 million, Austin is a 3-hour drive or less from Dallas, Houston and San Antonio.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Update 2 - 5/26/10
Tilke designing Austin track, site already purchased

Veteran circuit designer Herrman Tilke will be responsible for the Austin F1 track, promoter Tavo Hellmund has confirmed to this writer. Hellmund also says the project is also much further along than has been assumed, and the track has already been drawn.

“This has been long in the works,” he told this blog. “Everything is in place.”

Although the former racer told local media yesterday that three possible venues were still under consideration, that suggestion was apparently a smokescreen.

While several alternatives were under consideration, one site was settled on some time ago, and the land – over 800 acres – has already been purchased. Not only that but initial permissions for amenities such as water and waste, which are usually time consuming affairs, have already been granted.

Although Hellmund has yet to divulge details of what he calls a “killer location”, he confirmed that the site is to the east of the city, a few miles from the airport. It is said to be in hilly countryside that has provided Tilke with a good starting point for a design.

The German has been asked to create a fast circuit with challenging corners that resemble those of classic established circuits such as Silverstone, Hockenheim and Spa. It will be over 3-miles in length.

Tilke first sent a representative of his company to Austin around two years ago, and has made personal many visits since. He is currently looking for office space in the city in which to base the project.

Hellmund is adamant that Austin is an ideal location: “Other than New York or LA, which already have 10m people, where are you going to find a place that within 150-mile radius you have three of the top 10 largest markets in the United States? That is the wonderful thing. Our position between Canada and the United States, North, South and Central America, is unbelievable.

“You take that into account, you take into account the draw that Austin is, it’s the state capital, it’s in the hill country, it’s got a huge, huge vibe and tag of being the coolest place.”

As reported previously, the race is set to benefit from the ‘Texas Major Events Trust Fund,’ which is intended to reimburse cities for costs they face when hosting big sporting events.

However, that relates only to specific events and does not have an impact on the cost of building the facility, which is apparently budgeted at $200m. The track build is being financed by private investors, and when completed the venue is likely to be named after either Texas or Austin.

One of the key elements that has helped to generate funding is that aside from F1, the circuit will be used to help develop alternative fuels.

Tavo has known Bernie Ecclestone since he was a teenager. His father was involved in promoting Indycar and TransAm races in Mexico City, and also helped to bring F1 back to the country in 1988. Hellmund Sr was also involved in the 1986 soccer World Cup and in organising music events.

While the Austin project was greeted with some scepticism, Hellmund’s enthusiasm for it is infectious and he certainly makes a credible case for it. It will be fascinating to see what happens next.

Last edited by lib; 05-26-2010 at 10:46 PM. Reason: Updates