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Thanks to a last-minute financial deal that came through to secure the $25 million in sanctioning fees needed for the new Circuit of the Americas to part of next year’s F1 circus, the US Grand Prix is back on track for 2012.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, had given the consortium that’s constructing the track in time for next season, until December 7th to come up with the money, otherwise the Circuit of the Americas risked being withdrawn from the 2012 racing schedule.
Ecclestone had said that providing the money upfront, as well as assurances that the required funding would be available for the race over the next 10 years, was necessary for the deal between F1 and the Circuit of the Americas to go ahead, even though previously, the Texas state comptroller said that the $25 million in public funds necessary for sanctioning wouldn’t have been made available until the start of the race next year.
Now that the money has been secured, work on constructing the circuit (which had been on hold since November 15th) could resume. The 2012 US Grand Prix is slated to take place on June 17th, one weekend after the Canadian Race in Montreal.
[Source: KXAN news]
With the construction well underway in Austin, TX for a purpose built F1 track, you could be forgiven for thinking the US-F1 deal is settled for the next few years at least, but you’d be wrong.
According to reports from The Wall Street Journal, New Jersey could come in the picture and host a second race in the United States.
The project, which was previously put on hold due to activists opposed to holding such an event in the Garden State, just across the Hudson from the Manhattan skyline, is building up steam again. A new proposal is in the works to have a race hosted in the townships of Weehawken and West New York. The project’s backer stressed that all expenses for this event will come from private money, and not from taxpayers.
If all goes to plan, US could once again be hosting two Formula 1 races a year. Back in the 1970′s, East and West Grand Prixs were held back to back, one at Watkins Glen, NY and the other at Long Beach, CA.
There’s a reason they call Formula 1 “The Circus.” Not only are race days a dramatic spectacle that draw thousands of fans from thousands of miles away, but also they can pretty much demand anything they want from cities for the right to host races. These “sanctioning fees” are anywhere from $25 million to $50 million per year, just for the right to have a race.
Although New York had been gunning for the world’s most glamorous racing series to return to the state after a 30-year absence, it seems as though Austin, Texas won (ahem, *bought*) that race, and the right. Now about those sanctioning fees…..
We’ve learned that the $25 million in taxpayer fees that were supposed to go to local governments to help support the race is actually going directly into Formula 1′s pockets for the sanctioning fees. A state law that was changed last year indicates that the state’s “Major Event Trust Fund” can use its funds for whatever it sees fit, including “attracting and securing eligible events.”
What that money isn’t going towards is the roughly $250 million needed to actually construct the facility and surrounding infrastructure, or actually supporting those local businesses. Where that money will come from, as of now, is a mystery.
[Source: The Statesman]