Tavo Hellmund promises ‘amazing’ US Grand Prix venue

By Gareth Llewellyn
bernie ecclestone
Ecclestone - the US should have a greater influence in F1 (Photo: Silverstone Circuits)

bernie ecclestone

Race promoter Tavo Hellmund has promised F1 fans that the new circuit being developed in Austin as the new home of the US Grand Prix will be “amazing”.

When asked how the circuit for the new US Grand Prix will look, Hellmund said: “Amazing! I have conveyed my ideas to Hermann Tilke and Peter Wahl who are the most established racetrack architects of our times.

“The area has natural elevation differences, which promises a fast track with difficult corners. But the most essential thing is that has to be a masterpiece in its suitability for fans. Spectators have to be able to see large parts of the track from wherever they are.

“The layout is just about to be finished and we will present it to the FIA in September.”

Circuit architect Hermann Tilke’s company are beginning to arrive in Austin, with a local newspaper reporting his firm will have a local office for 20 people in the city during development.

Tilke’s US executive Christian Epp confirmed the circuit design is almost complete, but questions about the auxiliary buildings are still being answered.

“We have to figure how many buildings and access roads are needed, how in detail to manage the water supply, drainage and power,” said Epp.

“It’s like planning and building a complete new city.”

Construction of the 900-acre purpose-built grand prix facility will commence in December 2010, with completion due in the summer of 2012, just weeks ahead of the first race which Formula 1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone said will take place “somewhere in June”.

Ecclestone has also recently said the US should have a greater influence in the sport, at the same time aiming a shot at the numerous American motor racing championships, and former Toro Rosso driver Scott Speed.

The Californian-born driver competed in 28 F1 races in 2006 and 2007, scoring no points, before being dropped in controversial circumstances after publicly criticising the team.

Speed was replaced by BMW Sauber reserve driver Sebastian Vettel, who had impressed the paddock by finishing eighth at the US Grand Prix while standing in for Robert Kubica. Vettel would go on to finish fourth for Toro Rosso at the penultimate race in China.

“Regarding an American driver, we have tried that lately but obviously what’s missing is the right attitude,” said Ecclestone. “You can race successfully in the US without the huge effort you need to succeed in Formula One.

“But to have someone like [female driver] Danica Patrick in F1 would be a perfect advert.”

Patrick has been linked with a move to F1 before, with a test for Honda scheduled before they pulled out of F1 in 2008. The stillborn USF1 team claimed to be in talks with Patrick for a 2010 drive, something she later denied after insisting she was not interested in a move away from IndyCar at that time.

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