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
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.