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Bernie paid, US GP back on

2011-12-08 08:52

CIRCUIT CRASH: The US GP track in Texas seemed doomed, but Bernie Eccelstone has confirmed the race is back on the 2012 F1 calendar.

Alan Baldwin

LONDON, England - Formula 1 will race in the US in 2012  now that the organisers of a GP in Texas have reached a deal with commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone.

Red McCombs, a founder of the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, said: "Mr Ecclestone received his cheque today."

Ecclestone confirmed: "Yes, there will be a race there. We hope it will be for 10 years."

The US race and the Bahrain GP looked uncertain ahead of a meeting of F1's governing body in New Delhi but both were given a green light. The International Automobile Federations said: "The 2012 F1 World championship calendar was confirmed as previously published."

Construction of the 5.5km Texas track, the first purpose-built F1 facility in the US, was halted amid wrangling over fees due to Ecclestone, who handed the race's organisers a contract ultimatum. Track officials in Austin said building would resume immediately for the November 18, 2012 race.

Bobby Epstein, a founding partner, said: "Our investors have believed all along that this project has tremendous benefit for our region as a strong economic engine for the future. We're glad Tavo Hellmund's (the original promoter who has now stepped aside) vision of bringing F1 to the people of Texas will become a reality.

"Ecclestone is a masterful negotiator. He fights hard for his company's best interests."


Sources at the World Motor Sport Council meeting said calendar changes, published at the end of August. 2011 with only countries rather than specific venues mentioned, were not discussed.

Ecclestone doubted the US race would happen when asked by Reuters at the 2011 season-ending Brazilian GP. He said then: "They're not complying with the terms and conditions of the contract and, as we make the contract, we will award the event or not award the event."

The race will be the first in the US for F1 since Indianapolis in 2007. Another US GP is scheduled for New Jersey on a street circuit against a backdrop of New York's Manhattan skyline, in 2013.

That Texan circuit's president, Steve Sexton, said: "We have a substantial number of fans who have expressed interest in buying tickets and hospitality, so today is a win for all of them as much as it is for Circuit of The Americas."

Bahrain's April 22 slot had been called into question by some in F1 because of civil unrest that continues to trouble the Gulf kingdom, although Ecclestone has consistently said it will go ahead. The race was only removed from the 2011 calendar when events on the ground forced organisers to admit defeat.

A bomb placed under a vehicle exploded near the British embassy in Bahrain's capital Manama. There were no casualties.

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