Tag Archives: FOM

Formula 1 to return to USA in Austin, Texas

Austin, Texas, the location for the USGP from 2012 onwards

Austin, Texas, the location for the USGP from 2012 onwards

Bernie Ecclestone has announced that from 2012 to 2021, Formula 1 will race in Austin, Texas, as the host of the United States Grand Prix. A brand new facility will be built for the event.

While more details will be announced, the circuit will almost definitely, lets be honest here, be designed by Herman Tilke. Full Throttle Productions, the promoter of the United States Grand Prix, said:

“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.
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.”

Bernie Ecclestone explained further:

“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.”

Well, that was quick wasn’t it? The fact that it is in Texas surprises me, but Austin doesn’t seem too bad a location. What we do know about the circuit so far is that it will be in close proximity to the hotels, downtown and the airport. It will also be well located to accomodate North, South and Central American visitors. 250,000 hotel rooms are available within 180 miles, so it seems that spectators won’t find this location a problem.

The Austin skyline at night

The Austin skyline at night

Austin itself is regarded as the Live Music Capital of the World, the Greenest City in America (MSN), and Least Stressful Large Metro (Forbes). It is also considered to be one of the most beautiful cities in the United States.

So, the city looks good, the only worry will be regarding the circuit. If Herman Tilke is designing it, then we can only pray that he doesnsn’t throw in 90 degree corners everywhere. Formula 1 has raced in Texas once, back in 1984, but only on a temporary circuit, and the sport never visited again.

Rome Grand Prix confirmed for 2013

Formula 1 commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed that there will be a Rome GP from 2013 onwards. This will see the F1 calendar expanding to 20 races, the highest ever.

Last year, it seemed that Ecclestone was drifting away from the idea of having a street race in Rome, but a deal seems to have been made, according to Ecclestone:

"Rome will come into the programme for 2013. We will have 20 races 
and the teams will be happy with it."

Another street circuit, oh goody. That was Monaco’s idea, now we already have 4 imitations (Canada and Australia technically count), and there’s another one on the horizon. Only 2 of these races are any good, and Ecclestone doesn’t seem to like either of them. I’m sure you’re wondering will this circuit be able to match Canada and Australia, and here’s your answer: It’s being designed by Herman Tilke. You know what that means.

Even if the tifosi come out in force (almost definitely), I can’t see this circuit having any heart in it, and I’m saying this a year before we will even see drafts of the track design.

But, there’s a much more serious problem. The organisers of this race, and many others, seem to be implying that this is an attack on the Monza race. I can’t find a link for this, but I will add it as a separate post in due course. In summary, the organisers want only 1 Italian Grand Prix,and of course it’s the Roman one. I’m telling you now, if Monza if thrown off, Ecclestone is a dead man. Not by me, of course, by the thousands – millions, even- of livid Italians living in the north. This will hardly end well.

F1 to be filmed in HD

The BBC has confirmed that the F1 2010 championship will be filmed in HD this year.

But, before you get too excited, this HD feed is not being made available to broadcasters until at least 2011. The BBC’s head of HD, Danielle Nagler, wrote on her blog:

The events are being filmed in HD (as far as we know) but they are
not made available by F1 to broadcasters in HD.

Lee McKenzie, part of the BBC F1 team, has previously said that F1 broadcasters will be offered the chance to show F1 in HD from 2011 onwards, but it is unsure who will take up the offer. Let’s be honest though, the BBC will definitely be one of the first to sign up.

Still though, it seems like a waste of time filming it in HD and not broadcasting it. Maybe FOM wants to get experience first, then broadcast it when they’re ready. Hopefully the end-of-year review will have HD clips instead.

Meanwhile, this year’s NASCAR championship will be the 6th year of being broadcast in HD. F1 is well behind.

Silverstone confirms “Arena” circuit for 2010

Silverstone's layout for 2010

Silverstone's layout for 2010

The “Arena” version of Silverstone circuit has been approved by Formula 1 Managment, meaning the new layout will host the British Grand Prix in 2010.

Silverstone is currently undergoing redovelopment to coincide with the new circuit, and will be completed in the next few months. It is believed that it was the redevelopment of the facilities of Silverstone that convinced FOM to allow the circuit onto the calendar. We all know that Ecclestone has been complaining about Silverstone’s poor facilities for quite a while now, so he must have been eager to take up this opportunity. However, the new paddock and pits will only be completed for the 2011 race.

As I have previously stated, the corners Bridge, Priory, and Abbey, replacing them with two straights separated by a slow corner. There will be 17 corners, instead of the previous 18, and there will be probably 52 laps instead of 60.

Last year’s pole position was set by Sebastian Vettel, a 1.19.509. It has been predicted that this year’s pole lap will be around 1.23.130. This is mainly because of the increasing of the track’s length from 5.14km to 5.9km.

The managing dorector of Silverstone, Richard Phillips, said:

“The new sections of circuit were initially brought in to comply with Moto GP safety regulations, but the ‘Arena Complex’ was always designed with both two and four-wheeled racing in mind. We have been very careful, working closely with drivers and riders, to make sure we are improving and enhancing what Silverstone already has to offer – from a drivers, riders and spectators point of view.”

“Some will miss not seeing modern day F1 cars accelerating through Bridge, but we have to move with the times and continue looking at ways to improve the overall experience. The new layout will bring an extra dimension to Silverstone, a new challenge for the drivers, and will enable fans to get closer to the action. We have a very exciting year ahead of us, with F1, MotoGP and World Superbikes all coming to Silverstone, and I can’t wait to see how the drivers and riders tackle the new circuit.”

The overall cost of the redovelopment of Silverstone is estimated at around £5m.

Silverstone close to using “Arena” circuit

Silverstone's proposed layout for 2010

Silverstone's proposed layout for 2010

Silverstone is getting closer to a decicion that will see them decide on whether they will use the Arena circuit for their F1 race or not.

The managing director Richard Phillips said that, while he is hopeful that the circuit would be used, the final decicion rests with Bernie Ecclestone.

“It’s yet to be decided,” he told AUTOSPORT during a site visit to the Silverstone works. “We need approval from three sides. So far two have said yes and one [Ecclestone] says maybe, so we’ll work on that.”

“Allsport [F1’s corporate hospitality company] has said yes. And while the FIA needs to homologate the new track of course, it is happy with the plan in principle.”

As long as the FIA stays happy, which they probably will, there is little to stop the circuit from being approved as an F1-suitable event. However, Ecclestone makes the final decicion, as his Formula One Managment (FOM) company has the authority to decide on the layout of the F1 calendar.

At the moment, the circuit is undergoing construction work. A new infield circuit is being constructed (not related to the Arena circuit), and mojor changes to grandstands and spectator facilities.

The Woodcote to Copse grandstand (to the left of the start-finish straigh) has been torn down, and will be moved further back, so as to allow the start-finish straight to be widened. The new grandstand will still be nearly as close to the track as the last one. As part of this upgrade, 180,000 tonnes of earth have alrady been moved, and 8,000 tonnes of asphalt have already been laid.

The only loss of the Arena circuit will be the the exclusion of the corners Bridge to Abbey (known as the Complex). Since this is a very tight series of corners with no chance of overtaking, I’m not sad to see it go. Not that it was bad, but it was slow and boring, a complete contast to the rest of the circuit.

The road replacing the Complex will consist of a right, instead of a left, before Bridge, then a straight, followed by a right jink, wide hairpin, and another straight to rejoin at the Woodcote corner.

The 2010 British Grand Prix is scheduled for the 11th July.