|Fernando Alonso of Ferrari won the last Formula One grand prix in Bahrain in 2010 [GALLO/GETTY]|
Formula One will race in the United States next year after organisers of a new grand prix in Texas reached a deal with commercial supemo Bernie Ecclestone on Wednesday.
“Mr Ecclestone received his check today,” Red McCombs, a founder of the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, said in a
That race, and the Bahrain Grand Prix which had to be cancelled this year due to civil unrest, had looked doubtful
ahead of a meeting of Formula One’s governing body in New Delhi but both were given the green light.
“The 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar was confirmed as previously published,” the International Automobile Federation said in a statement.
Construction work was halted at the 5.5 kms Circuit of the Americas, which will be the first purpose-built F1 facility in
the United States, last month amid wrangling over fees due to Ecclestone.
The 81-year-old Briton had handed organisers a contract ultimatum of this week.
Track officials in Austin said the 10-year deal was back on and building work would resume immediately for the November 18 race.
Bobby Epstein, another founding partner, said: “Our investors have believed all along that this project has tremendous benefit for our region, and provides a strong economic engine for the future.
“We’re glad that Tavo’s vision of bringing F1 to the people of Texas will become a reality,” he said, referring to the
original promoter Tavo Hellmund who has now stepped aside.
Ecclestone had doubted the US race would happen when asked at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix last month.
“The truth is they’re not complying with the terms and conditions of the contract,” he said.
“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 Formula One since Indianapolis in 2007.
“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”
President of Circuit of The Americas Steve Sexton
Another US grand prix is scheduled for New Jersey, on a street circuit against a backdrop of New York’s Manhattan skyline, in 2013.
“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,” said Steve Sexton, president of Circuit of The Americas, in the statement.
There has also been uncertainty about Bahrain’s race, cancelled this year due to civil unrest that continues to trouble the Gulf kingdom, although Ecclestone has consistently said the grand prix will go ahead.
Bahrain has an April 22 slot on the calendar, later than this year’s cancelled race which was kept on the 2011 calendar and then rolled back until 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 on Sunday, causing no casualties.
A majority of the Formula One teams are British-based.