Rejoice American racing fans- the Formula One circus is set to return to the U.S.A.
The sport’s supremo Bernie Ecclestone has today confirmed that Austin, Texas will play host to Grand Prix racing beginning in the 2012 season, ending a four-year American absence from the calendar.
The last race held on American soil was at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 2007, where Lewis Hamilton claimed victory for McLaren . But today’s announcement- which has come as something of a shock to many- will see F1 cars race on a brand new track rather than utilising an existing one.
“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,” Bernie said of the deal, adding that this will be the first time a circuit is designed “from the ground up specifically for Formula One in the US”.
The event is to be promoted by Full Throttle Productions (good name guys), who are headed up by Tavo Hellmund, a racer in a variety of small-scale series himself. “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,” said Hellmund today.
It is almost certain that the race will be held immediately before or after the Canadian GP, with team bosses recently complaining that traveling to just one North American event was more trouble than it was worth. The new circuit will presumably be built by F1’s resident circuit designer Herman Tilke, and means F1 is likely to feature at least 20 races for the 2012 season.
This could also play a big part in which team is chosen to fill F1’s 13th grid slot for next season. At least two American outfits are keen to join the sport, and their chances must be boosted by the return of a U.S Grand Prix.
It’s still early days, so keep an eye out for more news of the new U.S Grand Prix as Badger gets the full details.