Amid a week of questioning regarding whether or not the United States Grand Prix would occur due to contract reasons, and a construction shut down at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, it has officially been confirmed that the U.S. Grand Prix will happen, just not until 2013 – a year later than expected.
The drama began Tuesday when construction at the Austin, Texas-based Circuit of the Americas shut down because of contract issues. While the Circuit of the Americas was being built for Formula 1’s U.S. Grand Prix, the contract to hold that race was held by Full Throttle Productions, which is run by Tavo Hellmund, an old associate of F1 head Bernie Ecclestone, according to U.K.-based The Independent.
According to the Austin American-Statesman, the contract that Formula 1 held with Full Throttle Productions was canceled because it was in breach. According to the American-Statesman, Ecclestone told the Press Association that, “Everything was signed and sealed, but we kept putting things off like the dates, various letters of credit and things that should have been sent, but nothing ever happened.” Ecclestone also reportedly said, “We’ve waited six months for [Hellmund] to remedy the breach. He knows full well why we’ve canceled. He’s happy.”
That led to the Circuit of the Americas’ owners looking to negotiate a contract with Formula 1 to hold the race. Unfortunately the owners of the Circuit of the Americas weren’t able to procure a letter of credit to present to Formula 1 to inherit Full Throttle Productions’ contract, and that left them negotiating directly with F1 for a new contract to hold the race on November 18, 2012.
The Independent reported today that though the owners of the Circuit of the Americas missed a deadline to stage the race in 2012 as originally planned, they had succeeded in securing funding for the race. As such, a new contract was created. Ecclestone said, “The [new] contract we proposed to them is 10 years from 2013. We said [Formula 1] would wait for them.” Circuit of the Americas President Steve Sexton said, “Funding is secured and construction is on schedule. There is no question that if [Ecclestone] wants the U.S. G.P. race to happen here in 2012, it will.”
With the United States Grand Prix now set for 2013, as it’s not likely the contract will be renegotiated for 2012, which means two American Formula 1 races will debut that year: the aforementioned United States Grand Prix in Texas, and the Grand Prix of America in New Jersey.