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US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
US Grand Prix shock: Race to be held in Texas in 2012
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 May 2010   |  6:50 pm GMT  |  219 comments

Tonight the official F1 website has announced that the United States Grand Prix is to return to the calendar in 2012 in Austin, Texas.

The deal runs through to 2021 and the promoters are going to create a purpose built facility to host the event. Austin is a thriving “It” city in the USA with a strong technology sector and a dynamic reputation.

F1 has been hunting around for years for a purpose built track in the USA, along the lines of what we see in Bahrain, China or Abu Dhabi. Recently there has been a lot of chatter about a US GP returning with New Jersey being touted and more recently Monticello in upstate New York. It seems that Eccletsone has had a lot of irons in the fire hoping that one of them would come good.

The Texas deal flies in the face of the received wisdom that in order to succeed in the USA a race needs to be held wither near New York or in California, close to fans of European cars or large expatriate communities, especially Italian.

In addition to the promoter Full Throttle Productions, the event seems to enjoy some backing from state government, possibly along the lines of the “shared risk” business model which has worked well in Singapore where a local government works alongside a promoter and underwrites the major expenses, to the point at which it becomes profitable.

The announcement indicates that this project has been underway for “several years” and Austin appears to be the first past the post.

A US Grand Prix is considered essential for a sport which considers itself truly global. For many of the manufacturers and companies involved in the sport it is the number one market.

There is a major push to bring the USA under the F1 umbrella. The failure of the USF1 team was an embarrassment, but now it seems that there are efforts to resurrect the idea of an American team and You Tube founder Chad Hurley is still linked with this.

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo has a better idea, he believes. He said in an interview today that he dreams of a third Ferrari in the stars and stripes colours.

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there are plenty of great tracks in the USA already!


I'm with you 100%. The visionaries have a vision but this one seems very odd.
It is probably the only way to put Austin on the international map.

On the other hand, Spa, Suzuka, Silverstone, Hungaroring, even Monza aren't exactly in the city. And those I know. But in my view best race on the calendar is Montreal, and I kinda hoped they would replicate it in NJ Liberty State park. Surely Bernie had his heart set on that one.

Nika Wattinen

I agree, Montreal is a great race weekend. I'm so glad that it's back on the calendar this year, as the atmosphere in the city is brilliant. Austin is one of the most vibrant cities in the US, and will certainly rise to the occassion far better than Indianapolis ever did. I'm really looking forward to going.

I would have liked a Liberty State Park race, or even better a race on the streets of West New York, NJ, which is right across the river from midtown, and the waterfront would have provided plenty of spectator viewing capacity.

Mark D. Johnson

All of which are not up to Formula One standards. Even the Indy course was bogus. The amount to bring Watkins Glen up to standards is probably what it cost for a new facility. The racing infrastructure has been crumbling in the US. The Daytona 500, delayed by potholes? I mean, come on already.

A new facility is what is needed.


Laguna Seca is close to standards, I believe, and it is an incredible circuit. Even Road Atlanta is pretty close to standard...

So many great circuits, all passed up. I just hope Tilke doesn't design this one...


would also like to see an f1 car race on ovals. just to see how the racing would be


i agree. there are so many great tracks in america why not sue one. what a waste of money this will be. china comes to mind!

i hope there are no huge tarmac run offs. i want to see grass line the track, also barriers and fans close as possible.

hope the powers in f1 read every1s response!!


um, you're dismay is ruining my right hand side menu? Would you mind awfully putting a space every 20 o's next time? Thank you ever so much!


Ha, your comment made me laugh Matt!

I agree with the original post, there are plenty of great tracks all ready in America, but, having F1 back in the states - i couldn't be happier. I'm not from America, nor do i live there, but anything that boosts the health of the sport we all love has to be a good thing!


Any enthusiasm I had for this has disappeared now that it has become apparent that Herman Tilke is designing the track...

Not that i have anything against Tilke, I think he has made some great tracks and corners, but I really wish that F1 would give someone else a chance to show us their vision and maybe mix things up a bit.


If Montezemolo wants a US Ferrari, why not pull a Toro Rosso and start a second team: US-based and Ferrari-powered/engineered?

Prisoner Monkeys

Because Ferrari want influence over the new teams, which they see as a hangover from the days of Mosley.

Jay Doubtfire

Wasn't expecting this news....I think I might just have to miss the British Grand Prix in 2012 and use the money saved to get tickets to the US Grand Prix.

I'm pretty excited at the prospect.


"...along the lines of what we see in Bahrain, China or Abu Dhabi."

Oh, joy. Just what F1 needs, then. Not.


Will they learn from there mistakes and manage to build a new track, where the race isn't dull? I suspect not. But hope i'm wrong.



Tilke at least got a few tracks right, for example Singapore, Turkey and Malaysia are all good fun from a driving point of view. Granted you can’t overtake at Singapore, but at least it’s a proper street circuit with bumps, barriers, etc… It has to be said though that none of these tracks even come close to likes of Suzuka, Silverstone, Spa, Monza, Interlagos or Montreal.

Bahrain and Valencia are (in my opinion) the worst circuits on the calendar. China is pretty uninspiring but at least the long back straight and weather conditions provide some decent racing & excitement from time to time. Hockenheim has been butchered a bit, but we can hardly blame Tilke for that - the decision to do it came from higher up. I’m still a little bit undecided about Abu Dhabi and no idea how this Korean track is gonna turn-out.

All in all if Tilke is involved we can only hope for something as decent as Turkey and pray we don’t end up with another Bahrain. Sadly, the chances of a Suzuka or a Spa in this day and age are next to impossible.


My thoughts exactly!!

what a great way to guarantee there'll be no US grand prix a few years later...

Stephen Kellett

My thoughts exactly.

We need a *good* racing track, not a boring Tilkedrome.




I just hope that Tilke will not be involved in this project.


It would be much cooler in Monticello, NY, than in Austin, Texas. That is "cooler" as in less hot, temperature wise. 🙂 I hope Tilke does not get the design for this track, too. Maybe they could give it to the driver's to design. They know what is needed for passing.


or if he is, that there's more than 1 overtaking spot on the track. one of the great disappointments of abu dhabi


One of many great disappointments! Such an anti-climax to a fantastic season last year.


Austin? Really? Well, it's an interesting choice, to be sure. Are they going to build a track there or is there something in place?

Actually, that's not an awful choice since I've got family and friends there (ergo, a couch to crash on).


Tilke, get lost! Stay away from this yet to be built track.

How about building a track with the monaco tunnel, eau rouge, becketts complex, 130R, indy banking, Turn 8, montreal 'hairpin to chicane straight' and the corkscrew..... all in one!


Hear hear NO MORE TILKE CRAP CIRCUITS I'm running out of paint to watch drying!!


Turn 8 is Tilke's brainchild... but yes no more car parks please.


no huge run offs, no tarmac run offs


Possibly we are looking at 2 Grand Prix in the US. This one and one in the New York area.


I do like the sound of having a US.GP plus a America's GP that could float anywhere from Canada to Argentina.


Any word on the race fee for this race? I can't believe that Bernie found someone to pay his typical sticker price, did he?


James, any whispers on the grapevine about who will be designing the circuit?


I think Formula One Management insist that Tilke is used. Anybody have any ideas why ? Surely a child could design a track more interesting than he can.



James please start a campaign


I agree. James, think of the children!

(so that the children grow up in a world where classic racing circuits are preserved and emulated, rather than emasculated and ignored) 😉


Of all the places is US it had to be Austin???

And it will be designed by Tilke no doubt?

And what about the time differences? Since great big lot of f1 fans live in Europe, what kind of a race would it be? day or night or dawn or whatever else?


Austin is the tech capital of the southwest, so why not? Considering 7 hours time difference, a regular race start at local 2 p.m. would put the race into European prime time TV, so I guess this is kind of an obvious choice.


Probably early morning. 😛

We've had to get up for 8:00 AM starts for years, at least let us sleep in a little for bit!

But seriously, a 1:00 PM start there will translate to a 8:00 PM viewing for most in Europe. 8-10 is not a bad slot at all for Europeans, although the Aussies, Japanese and their neighbours will have a tough time!




On the embarrassing failure of USF1... was any punishment or fine ever handed out by Bernie? He's always pretty quick on the money front.

Or, now I think about it, any fine or punishment of Donington Park?


What's happened to Peter Windsor? He seems to have disappeared?


He's busy trying to recoup costs by selling 30,000 toasters. 😉


LOL. A "a third Ferrari in the stars and stripes colours"???

Is he trying to push for a third car for the team there - and sell of the branding rights separately - or trying to promote the idea of a customer car that "Ferrari (US) Inc." can race instead.

He's really got this "3rd car" bit stuck between his teeth, hasn't he? Is there *anyone* in F1 land who agrees with him?


thinking about it now, i would rather see 3 ferraris, red bulls, mclarens, mercedes than 2 hrt, virgin and lotus'.


The key to this new attempt to bring F1 to the US will be the price of the tickets. What CVC/FOM should do is charge the promoters a nominal fee to keep the ticket costs right down to keep the punters happy. What I fear will happen is that they'll charge an incredibly high rate and push the ticket prices through the roof. I've been having a little look about and NASCAR tickets seem to cost upto $60, so it's imperative F1 tickets are the same or lower.


$60 ?! I can't begin to imagine Silverstone tickets being sixty quid let alone dollars! Bernie's always been greedy with the money, and this will no doubt drive the ticket prices up for the USGP. Unless of course it's being heavily subsidised by a government scheme, which seems unlikely in these economic times.


agreed. silverstone needs more grandstands as they will always be able to fill them. china and turkey have got some spare!


This will be great (as a Brit living in Tucson) if it comes good. Now, who will design the track...?


Texas Motor Speedway has high acclaim as an oval, I certain;y hope this track can equal that, or better yet approach Yaz Island, which is now the ultimate benchmark of a quality circuit. 2 years is a tight schedule, I hope most of the infrastructure has already happened.


This news has just made my day, as a Brit living in Dallas - Texas, Austin is a mere 3 hours away!

And as they say, everything is bigger in Texas, so hopefully, this is going to be the venue of all venues.

Has anyone seen the new Dallas Cowboys stadium? The largest and most expensive football stadium in the world? We know how to do it here in Texas!


Spot on Cupra! As a Texan living in Dallas-Fort Worth, actually just minutes from Texas Motor Speedway, I am thrilled by this news! I've seen the Indycars at TMS many times, but have been hoping for years for a new U.S. Grand Prix. I even considered writing to Texas Motor Speedway suggesting a worldclass road coarse to add to their great facilities, but a purpose built circuit in Austin will do me just fine. I have a ton of college friends in Austin and will definitely go the race if they can make it happen!


Adam, I actually live about 8 miles from Texas Motor Speedway, in Keller!

I can't wait to head down to Austin and party all weekend, go to practice, qualifying and the race. Austin is a great place to visit!

I was very surprised at the announcement yesterday, as it seems like a somewhat 'odd' choice, but then again, no different then some of the 'newer' locations, and I am loving the fact that it'll be a purpose built track for the occasion!

As for TMS, it would be very convenient to host the race there, being about 8 miles away, and there is plenty of land around there, but unless it was a stand alone track, I think it would be just as tough to integrate the race there, like they had issues in Indianapolis.

I think a bespoke track is the way forward, and for there to be a 10 year deal is awesome!

Now people might stop looking at me so funny here in Texas with my 'Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes' decals on my Jeep!!! 🙂

Ian Blackwell

I must say I agree. As a Brit living Houston, Austin is just a 2 hour drive away. This will save me the trouble of going to Silverstone every time I wish to watch a Formula 1 race live. The Texans certainly seem know a thing or two about building extremely complicated highway interchanges. Some of the asphalt spaghetti we have here is Houston would be out of place on a F1 circuit. Here's to hoping the 2012 US Grand Prix is a success.


I've spent a lot of time in Houston (business related) and I can vouch for the "asphalt spaghetti".


i think u'll find wembly is the most expensive stadium anywhere in the world.

Zobra Wambleska

Sure do, as long as it comes with BBQ sauce.


Great news!!! Even though I live much closer to NYC than Texas, I am still thrilled to hear the news. Hopefully the event is a complete success! But the one thing I am thinking is that it gets pretty hot in Texas in the summer (See: Dallas Grand Prix: 1984) so I wonder if the night race concept that we heard tossed about with Jersey City could make a return?


No chance. It will make for awful TV timings for the rest of the world unless the race is on a Saturday night. In Europe it will already be the middle of the night and in Asia it would basically be the next day....


I'm guessing this will be timed like Montreal - mid afternoon in Texas so that it's in the 8pm-midnight range in Europe. If they're going to do that, the race needs to be May or October, however I assume it's going to be "paired" with the Montreal race to keep down the travel costs so there's probably a small window where the weather in Texas isn't too hot but the snow has melted in Canada where they could do the two in one or two weeks.

Stephen Kellett

A night race in Texas would mean it would happen when Europe is asleep. That is 100% the opposite of what Bernie wants.

Not going to happen.


Austin is 6 hours behind the UK, so could work


The race would need to start at around 2 or 3 in the morning, local time, for that to work out...

Abdul Ahad Jajja

F1 finnaly returns to USA.Sad for Indianapolis as it hosted some great races.A night race is looking probable.


any idea if this is going to just be a new tilkedrome??

also I give the thumbs up to Montezemolo's idea, on the basis that we were to get a Bianchi or even a Rossi in the seat, rather than some underachieving american kid because he'd be more 'commercially viable'...


If you take a guy like Alex Rossi, who earns his stripes, he'll be more than deserving.....


good racer

Patrick McLaughlin

Typical Bernie !! Just when we all thought F1 would be in New York, he pulls this out of left field.

I ll be very interested to the outcome of Austin' s efforts. At least F1 is back in the States. Although I want to see it at Laguna Seca.

Well done again James on keeping us up to date. The BEEB should take note.


I second that! Laguna seca would be awesome. Imagine Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso starting at the back of the field and pulling of the "The pass" maneuvers..

I think F1 is missing a trick here, we have so many of these new tracks without any history associated with them, whereas there are so many Historical race tracks in the US which would make for so much better viewing and excitement


Laguna Seca is one of my favourite circuits in the world, but I don't believe it's big enough (pit wise and access wise) for F1 without a lot of work and a re-design. Joe Saward gave an interesting break-down of the options state wise for a GP a month or so ago on his blog.

I did love the New Jersey option with Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty in the background.

My worry is whether the interest would be there (for the Austin GP that is).

I've seen some comments from excited ex-pats living nearby on this blog. Can I ask will the locals go for it?

After the way F1 seems to be cursed with anything US flavoured I'm a little pessimistic. And add in the 'Tilke-factor'...


Thanks Ian, that's kind of what I thought. My own experience of Texas is sitting on the runway in Houston for ten minutes! The argument for moving it to the East Coast was the link with the car markets, whereas the Southern US already has NASCAR.

It can succeed if the circuit is good (not hugely likely) and the fans are treated well (decent ticket price, good access with teams giving them some attention). F1 is notoriously shabby in the latter department and Americans who do have other options wont stand for it and vote with their feet (quite rightly).

Having been to Le Mans a couple of times I can see the attraction of NASCAR, the fans seem to make their own party most of the time, regardless of what is going on track. Plus they get close to the stars and the cars. Lets hope if F1 is staying in NASCAR territory that it learns a few lessons from it.

Ian Blackwell

I've only been in Texas for the past year(spent a lot of time in Chicago before that) and my impression is that the locals are definitely auto mad. Whether an interest in driving around a city center in a pickup truck the size of Belgium translates into an interest in Formula 1 is a completely different issue. NASCAR seems to be more their thing which I think is more a cultural interest than any interest in the actual racing. There are however, a huge number of Brit, Aussie and South American expats in Texas who would probably be interested. Austin is not like the rest of Texas and the people there are less likely to be interested in the racing but more likely to be interested in it as a global spectacle.


Daft idea, and sure to be F1's latest failed foray into the US market. The perceived wisdom is right, but it has nothing to do with "fans of European cars" or "large expatriate communities". Take a look at a US population map, and you'll see that Bernie's put this race just about as far away from most of the US population as it's possible to get, without sticking it in a field in Wyoming.

Personally, I'm in east Tennessee, and it's going to be a 17 hour drive from me. For most population centers around the country, it's going to be significantly further. To get there will mean air travel for almost everybody -- and if you're going to waste a day flying in either direction, why not just go somewhere out of the country, and make a trip of it?

I'm expecting a short initial spike like that of Indianapolis, followed by a long tail-off of mostly empty grandstands for most of the contract. All we've really guaranteed today is that F1 won't catch on in the US until the next decade at the earliest, because the race has been stuck in a relative backwater with no glamour or anything else to particularly recommend it. I can't see the US getting a second race, so with Austin as the sole race, what's the hook to bring new fans in?

And sorry Luca, but I have no interest in seeing three-car teams. It's already a rarity to see anybody outside the top three teams make it into the podium. With three car teams, we'll see the same three teams on the podium at every race year-round, and indeed with modern reliability, it'll be an achievement for the middle of the pack to even break into the points.

Knoxpectoration Scrooge

Harumph, harumph. Blah blah blah. I'm bitter, and have an enormous hangover.

I'm in Tennessee, and yet I have the gall to call somewhere else--ANYWHERE else--a "backwater". I mean, really, do any of them F1 fellers have ANY idea how many times my mules gotta stop, rest, eat, drink, pee pee and poop on a 17-hour drive? Is Hermann Tilke gonna have hitchin' posts available for we knoxvillians? I don't think so. Besides, my corns, carbuncles, excrescences, hemorrhoids, and ingrown toenails are all hurtin' mighty bad.

I'm angry because F1 is predetermined, predictable, and prezactly the wrong thing for a goofy ol' cow town like Austin. Them dad-burned cowboys, or, longhorns, or...whatever...they can't even play football, 'cause they couldn't beat that danged Crimson Tide. Either.

All that aside, I don't like Ferrari, because their team's big important head dude has a hard-to-pronounce moniker. I've given the matter copious quantities of cogitation, and I've come to believe that there's a reasonable possibility that his first-and-a-half name AND his last name are but pseudonyms.

Oh, the mirth...if you've the stomach for that sort of rot.

Speakin' of rot, I'm also angry because with the recent lack of reliability from my tummy, I am mid-pack in my 6 cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon, and I'm already gettin' the gut ache.


Actually, I didn't mean none of all that. I'm still a little tender about the whole state of affairs with our football team. That, and I'm sore about folks who don't understand that "rubbin' is racin'".

Can't they just put some bodywork around the wheels so's the drivers can do a "bump and run"?

Goodness. It's late. I've done got further than midpack with this beer, so I'll hafta break into the points, uh, I mean PINTS...at the gas station/feed store/liquor store.

I'm so angry.

All is lost. F1 will never work out for the USA. I'm gonna skip the beer, and I'm gonna go and just drink the kool-aid, instead. It's the only logical choice for a discerning and disillusioned backwater dweller such as myself.


Yeah, buddy -- play up to the stereotypes.

Fact is, I'm not native to Tennessee. I've spent most of my life living in Europe (from where my family hails), and Asia (where I was born and raised).

Childish, personal attacks aside, not a single one of your stereotypes even remotely applies to me.

My points about Austin are valid, and you'll see them borne out in a few years -- if the race ever actually happens in the first place. (That's seeming increasingly unlikely given the news that a parcel of land hasn't even been secured before the announcement was made.)

Knoxpectoration Scrooge

James, please have just a little mercy on this ol' guy. Don't shoot me. Let me explain. I don't want us to take ourselves TOO seriously, and I figured I could maybe bring a little levity to what seems like a hate mail convention toward Austin. I mean, come on, is it really THAT bad?

Let's take a deep breath. Austin's a beautiful place. Been there many times. They really COULD do a Spa-like track with the elevation changes found there. It's different. It's daring. Where's everyone's sense of adventure? If some guy wants to walk a tight rope while bullfighting...blindfolded...in a thunderstorm, then watch. And be glad it ain't YOU up there.

If it doesn't work, then at least I won't--nor will most of us here--lose any money on the deal.

I wish them well.

When we get too dang fussy, we just start sounding a bit silly. That's all.

If Luca wants a third car, then more power to him. We ARE his biggest market. Will it actually have anything to do with the USA. Who knows? Who really cares, since it seems unlikely.

Now, just laugh. It's not THAT bad.

Please don't have me killed, James. I meant no real harm. 🙂


i doubt tilke will use the elevation changes, if he has to put the track where there are hills he will flatten them 1st!. i do hope he proves me very wrong


See, you just don't get people like that in Britain. True cultural juxtaposition-ing.

Good times folks! 🙂


There are 20 Million people within 2.5 hours drive of Austin, Texas. Double check your maps.


...and a hell of a lot more than 20 million people within a similar distance of venues on the East and West coasts. Check your own maps.


Luke G: 1,700 miles isn't close enough to drive from either coast, as I've already pointed out. (Even if you average 70mph, which is unlikely without significant speeding, you're still talking two twelve hour days of driving **in each direction** before you even consider rest / gas / food breaks.) Realistically, it's 4-5 days of driving just to get there and back, for most of the US population.

So driving's out, which means flying is the only option. If you're going to fly anyway, you're only going to shave two hours off the trip versus flying from one coast to the other. Less, if you're not near an airport with direct service to Austin.

Austin's location is a major disadvantage for most of the country by road, and it isn't much of an advantage in terms of air travel either.

As you note, a Grand Prix in Austin would be easier to travel to for many Mexicans than it would be for the average American.


And in the middle of the country with 1700 mile proximity to east and west coasts is Austin. Also close to Mexico. Lo Seinto New York.



I lived in Tennessee for 30+ years and have been in Texas for the last 14 years. I think you may have a misconception about Austin. Austin is a modern and vibrant city. It's located within driving distance of some of the largest cities in the US (Dallas, Houston and San Antonio). It's also centrally located between the east and west coasts. Flight tickets into Austin or San Antonio are very reasonable.

Give Austin a chance . . . I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.


Hi Tim

Typically typed out a detailed reply, only to have the site not take it. Briefly though, I'm not knocking Austin -- I'm sure it's a lovely place. My problem with it is entirely based on its location.

Look at a US population distribution map and you'll see what I mean. Add together the metropolitan statistical area populations for the whole of Texas, and the New York MSA alone is still 1/3rd bigger again. A race on the East or West coast would be within driving range of a significantly larger percentage of the US population. Texas might be halfway in between, but that's not really an advantage in a country of this size - driving there and back will take four days for most Americans, and flying there would only save a couple of hours each way versus flying the whole way across the country.

A race in Texas would have good attendance from Texans and Mexicans, but attendance from most US states would quickly taper off simply because it's not convenient.

Like I said, no knock on Austin as a place.


That makes no sense because people would fly to NY or CA anyways. TX is in the middle of the country.


I concur Tim, it is a modern and vibrant city... and F1 needs a location, somewhere it can call "home" on a regular basis, in the US.

Phew! It'll be hot though, especially if they go in the height of summer.


Great news. I pray Hermann Tilke has nothing to do with the new track design.


Gee Tilke gets a rough time here. I suspect he is brilliant at what he does, but his hands are largely tied.

To me the worst feature of his tracks are the excessive run-off areas - a track will never look exciting with a carpark at the exit of each corner. Turn 8 in Turkey is famous but over-rated in my opinion - you couldn't hit the wall there if you tried. But I'd say the run off areas are at the FIAs request, not Tilkes preference.


It's not run off areas that are the problem it's that his circuits are almost impossible to overtake on. In a word they are BORING.


Every one of his tracks has at least one specifically designed overtaking point. You can't say that it's impossible to overtake at Turkey, Shanghai, Malaysia or even Hockenheim. Compare that to the likes of Barcelona and Hungary, and other 90's era tracks, which are really poorly designed.

But one thing his tracks don't have is character. For that you need hills, trees, fences close to the track and some corners that actually have an element of danger to them. In short, Interlagos, Spa or Suzuka. A stunning grandstand and pit building does not make character - someone needs to tell the FIA that.


I'll believe it when I actually see a track with F1 cars racing on it.

Does anyone really expect that a new track will be funded, designed, and built in just 2 years? Not gonna' happen! After all this is a State that has been one of loudest anti government spending voices in the country while also being one of the top recipient states of federal government welfare. Yet the government is going to convince the locals that they should cough up millions of dollars so some foreigners and their elitist ways can come there once a year and parade around?

Who's designing the track? Where in Austin will it be built? How much will it cost? Can it be profitable? This isn't the best economic climate to be asking for loans, going into debt, building highly expensive venues for a one off race because it will need many different 'big racing series' to compete there every year to be profitable. No NASCAR because they race at Texas Motorspeedway as does the IRL, there isn't any touring car series that will bring in a crowd and MOTO GP already has 2 events in the US.

I don't think this is anymore realistic than the British GP moving to Donington was.


"Luca di Montezemolo has a better idea, he believes. He said in an interview today that he dreams of a third Ferrari in the stars and stripes colours."

He wants to turn F1 into a1gp

No thanks Monty


Austin, Texas??? Granted it's a city with a different culture than the rest of the state but an F1-purpose built track? Is there enough interest to make this even close to profitable? Somebody wants to lose a bunch of money


Look at it another way: in North America, at least, track-days are huge. Circuits are cutting back on the number of races they have because they can make more money by renting out to rich business-people with expensive cars. What better way to promote your track-day business than by having a Formula One race on that track?

Even if they take a small loss on the F1 race, they're still gaining loads of exposure, and all sorts of fans are going to want to jump at the chance to drive their 911, Boxster, 430, 360, Vantage, etc, on a real Grand Prix circuit.

Remember, their business strategy doesn't just hinge on the one weekend; that one weekend could be viewed as a form of advertising for the rest of their activities year-round (and being in Texas, they could have track-days year-round).


again, there are 20 million people within 200 miles of there.

Thats as many people as in ALL of Australia. There's plenty of a population to draw from.

Plus Texas is actually relatively central, you'll get more people from the west coast than if the race was in NY, and more people from the east coast than if the race was in California.

Zobra Wambleska

I agree, most of the car nuts in Austin that I'm aware of are into hot rod Model A Fords or NASCAR. Zero interest in F1.


I had to check the date of this blog to make sure I hadn't somehow fallen on something written on 1st April!

Austin? Really? Hardly an easy destination to get to, nor one with a racing history that would attract peripheral industry and fans.

On the other hand it hasn't be abused by the Bernie Machine yet so it might be an interesting choice.

Good luck now y'all!


Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the US Grand Prix would come back to a city even remotely close to me, nevermind my favorite city in the country, nevermind the city that I live in! This is amazing news.


Regarding the third Ferrari in Stars and Stripes colours, why not bring back a version of NART, and run a second team? It could be similar to Toro Rosso's relationship with Red Bull, and this way instead of merely running a third car, they'd get a fourth as well!

Of course, the problem would be that this American team would also have to construct their own chassis, but I am sure a lot of designs could be shared, along with engineering information.

Glynn Harrold

Bit of a surprise location this, but glad to see that there's going to be a USA GP. Now, they just need to make sure the track has some overtaking opportunities and does not resemble some of the recent new tracks which either look the same or lacking in excitement (or both). We need a bit of character and hope Austin can deliver.


Austin, TX is a very cosmopolitan city because it is the home of the University of Texas and Dell computers. However, most US fans will have to fly in. The only major possible fan bases within driving distance are Dallas and Houston, as well as northern Mexican cities. Many American fans attend the Canadian GP but Montreal is closer to New York, Washington D.C., Chicago than Austin, TX. Anyway, the financial success will probably have to come down to TV rights if one of the major U.S. networks purchase the rights.


I just hope the track layout does not end up becoming another boring Tilkedrome. Emphasize passing as that is the one thing most U.S. race fans wants to see. Perhaps even a 3/4 oval with a twisty infield. The U.S. should have something a bit different and a partly oval track connects to U.S. motor racing heritage.


Since everything is bigger in Texas, at least this time there will be lots of space for a proper F1 track, which is neither a big oval nor a mickey mouse go-kart track in a hotel car park.

One can only speculate on how much extra "razz" the Americans will inject to F1.

Fireworks, cheerleaders and marching bands perhaps, in between the quali sessions.


Well, as a Brit living in Austin, this sounds like a splendid idea ... a complete surprise. Austin is used to hosting major musical events, and a huge motorbike rally, each year, so I am sure the infrastructure can cope.



I agree . . . a splendid idea indeed in choosing Austin. I lived in San Antonio for many years and now live in Dallas. If Texas Motor Speedway can attract 50,000 - 60,000 for an indy car race comprised mostly of the local Dallas population, I have no doubt that attendance will not be an issue.


Any idea what the track will be like? If they plan on racing in 2012 they better be pretty close to finalizing the plans.


Texas is a MOST unfortunate choice.

I am from the US, and I assure you the only Americans

who have affection for Texas are those who live in Texas.

The rest of us, especially those of us who have spent time

anywhere outside of Austin, are happy we are not in Texas.


Sam, it's people just like you who have helped keep F1 out of the U.S. Instead of being happy we finally have a grand prix again all you can do is belittle the location. If you actually spent some time in Austin you might change your tune. I don't know where you are from, but I am quite certain it isn't any more exciting than Austin. I'll admit I am a Texan and like all Texan's proud of my state, but think twice before you offend a state with a population of nearly 40 million and 4 of the nations 10 largest cities within driving distance of this proposed and exciting new site.


So have you spent time in Austin? Doesn't sound like it. "The only Americans who have affection for Texas are those who live in Texas". You are a moron.


Fine....stay away from Texas, we only like friendly people and if you hate it that much STAY AWAY. More Texas for the rest of us to enjoy.


"Fine….stay away from Texas, we only like friendly people"

The irony in the above sentence is so thick you could cut it

with an axe. Texans are READY to be hostile if you disgree with their "Texas is best" worldview.

I _have_ been to Texas, and this "stay out" character's

reply is unfortunately all too typical of the locals, who can be quite hostile if you simply don't agree with their "Texas is best" mindset. Texas is overwhelmingly populated with rednecks. Many of those rednecks believe violence is the best way to solve any dispute. These are not the sort of people I want to spend my money to be near. Of course, some of you might relish the idea. In any case, despite the suspicions of the posters who concluded that I "must have

never been to Texas" I most certainly have been to Texas.

I've spent some time in Austin, and I've been to most of the bars on Sixth Street in Austin. There are some great musicians there. But unfortunately ... it's in Texas. And Texas is the 4r$eh*le of the United States.


Texans are the friendliest people on the planet. Australians are close behind, followed by maybe the Brits, Hawaiians, Malaysians, and so on.

If your time in Austin was spent only at the bars on 6th street, I encourage you to get out and meet people. Even if you tell them how much you hate Texas, they will disagree with you politely and see you on your way.


Totally agreed. The only americans who love texas are texans.


ok, good news that F1 is coming back to America. bad news that I have to go to texas to see it. we all have to make sacrifices I guess...

Manny Rodriguez

Peter, you're going to love Austin. Not quite the Texas we mostly hear about. Never a dull moment. MR


I've actually heard good things about Austin Manny. just hope it's not right after the canadian gp in june when it will be 110 in the shade..


This is a very strange place to have a GP, Just what is wrong with Laguna Seca? If it's good enough for Moto GP bikes then just some paddock facilities for the teams and extra safety for the drivers and bob's your uncle.

Plus the added bonus of 24(ish) F1 cars going through the corkscrew!!

Manny Rodriguez

Laguna is gorgeous, but there is so much elevation on track. Not sure the grandstands would accommodate todays F1 sized crowds either.


the only track worthy of hosting a us grand prix is Road America. it would need significant upgrading, but the length & layout are perfect.


Second to the Road America comment-- Been there for Indycars, Lemans and historic grand prix. Very big track with amazing vantage points. Definitely not F1-level facilities, though. Sigh, dream on.

Mark D. Johnson

Nah, much too narrow. The layout is great though; just need to widen it, pave the run off areas, build garage and paddock facilities (Remember, this is a flyaway race, so you need about 30 little cabins behind the garage for the teams), and top it off with a big grandstand. About the same as would be for a new facility.

Manny Rodriguez

Definitely one of my favs as well! Hope Austin can build a track worthy of this caliber race. They have the room to grow - hope it doesn't end up at Austin Bergstrom Airport!


Trouble with Laguna Seca is that it's all about the corkscrew. Take that out and it is a 'nothing' track IMHO.

Having said that the corkscrew is one hell of a piece of race track! I'll never forget Rossi & Stoner going at it a couple of years ago!


I disagree. There are at least four excellent passing opportunities, and two more if the drivers get creative. Beyond that, the corners would be challenging in an F1 car, and you would really get to see them working.

Of course, they would have to be ok with 55 second laptimes, or extend the circuit further.


It is much too short.


As an expat brit living in Austin - this is fantastic news, I can't believe it!

Austin is a great city (a cultural island in the sea of texas) - the city will do the F1 circus proud! (assuming it doesn't collapse in a heap of false promises and missed deadlines)

Robert Powers

Let me be the first to welcome you all to my home.You are going to love this GP.It will become a favorite right away.We know how to throw a party and we love this particular circus.In fact I love it more than anything.I deserve this,and this is the best news EVER.The only bad news is..when Monday comes..back to work.But only till next year.Time is just about standing still.Two long years ahead.Then it will be all better...

Manny Rodriguez

Please tell them Robert! I spent 10 years in Austin and loved every minute of it. I'm sure you used to wake at all hours of the night to watch F1 live. Are you listening F1... Texas has real fans!


Yes it does, and I'm one of em!


Finally! Not having a US GP was one of the worst mistakes for f1. Unfortunately it is only one of many mistakes but at least a step in the right direction. James - any reason why a thrilling circuit like laguna seca wasn't in the running?

Apurva, Boston


too short and narrow is laguna seca. probably not enough $ either.


So was the Monticello Motor Club story just a positioning move by Bernie to help close the Austin deal ?


I reckon you've got it in one.

Same thing with New Jersey - that was never going to happen.

Apurva Thanju

Oh what joyous news! My only concern is that it is going to be one of the Tilke-like circuits that don't promote overtaking and are merely processional (nothing against Tilke by the way, he does an excellent job with what the restrictions he is up against).

James -- Any idea why a world-renowned circuit like Laguna Seca in California wasn't in the running?


Bernie never ceases to keep amazing us with his surprises ; )

Alberto Dietz

Congrats, Alex Jones!


! I bet Luca di Montezemolo would want another 25 Ferraris, and also no competition, given the chance.

Not convinced about Texas, but there are a lot of petrol heads out that way, and the people love a show.

We'll see. Money has done a lot of the talking I expect?


On the up side, at least the fuel will be cheap! 🙂

Manny Rodriguez

Granted NASCAR rules in Texas, but there are many, many die hard F1 fans in our midst. Austin is a fantastic host and I'm willing to bet that the surprises will all be good!



Seems like it's getting a massive thumbs up from the Texans on this site 🙂 Who's gonna argue with that many Texans? 🙂 Sounds like a good thing! Better than a 'not so bothered' New York.


This is good news. Even if the new circuit is rubbish, this is good news.


"This is good news. Even if the new circuit is rubbish, this is good news."

If it's in Texas AND the circuit is rubbish, it's still

good news ?

Boy, only a Texan could say something of this sort. What's next ? "Mission Accomplished" ?


It's good and shocking news.

Please, for the love of God, tell me it will not be another souless Tilke-o-dome. Make it an exciting and fast circuit. We don't care if there's a UFO shaped hotel next to it.


It would be nice to see some turns like Ruskenhoek, Ramshoek, and, yes, the corkscrew.

Look up the first two. They're at Assen. Primo stuff. And FAST. Ramshoek (pronounced "Ram's Hook") even has a slight DIP in the middle. Truly PRIMO...

Ruskenhoek is now a 3rd/4th gear chicane-ish turn/section, and Ramshoek...well...as far as that turn is concerned:

Think of the teams doing suspension setup for a FIFTH gear left-hander...with a small dip in the middle...leading up to a tight R/L chicane that takes you to the Start/Finish. Talk about a patently NON computer-generated track...

I'd donate my OWN money to a fund sponsoring THAT kind of "real man's" section...

And as far as the CORKSCREW... 🙂


Hear Hear

Midnight Toper

Based in nearby Houston I am very excited with the news. Austin is a great 'party' city and far enough from the coast to mitigate against the hurricane season which runs from June through to November. There also seem to be a glut of Ferarri's here in Texas and the economy is growing at a enviable rate when compared to Cali and NY.

The only shame is that F1 is relatively unknown. I mentioned it to my colleagues (degree educated guys, not hicks) and it seems they know very little of F1 indeed. In fact most had never heard of Schumacher. Texas driving also leaves a lot to be desired, despite having 8 lanes on the freeway here I often find myself being cut up even when traffic is sparse.

Sounds like a permanent US home is much needed if they really want to crack the US. Good luck to them.


"I mentioned it to my colleagues (degree educated guys, not hicks) and it seems they know very little of F1 indeed."

Simply because someone kept his nose to the grindstone

long enough to get a degree doesn't mean he is educated

beyond a vocational training level. In fact he could still be

a hick in any sense that matters.

Plenty of people who have degrees are culturally illiterate,

especially with respect to phenomena which are not centered in their own countries, as in the case of F1 relative to the US.

Midnight Toper

I was merely trying to add context to what is a largely based UK readership.

I am sure you are right, attaining a degree merely involves spending more time at college, the education on offer is purely vocational and that plenty of graduates are culturally illiterate. Chip on shoulder perhaps?


I agree; I know a few hicks with degrees. I also know many kids that stayed in complete study-bubbles and had no idea that there was a world around them when they were in university.


I hope they get someone other than Hermann Tilke to design the circuit, all the new tracks that he designs are bland.

William Keller

Austin TX, not New York?? This is great for the F1 community in the central part of the US. If the track is near the airport, it will be easy to reach from Dallas, San Antonio or Houston. It may also be close to rail service (though Amtrack is awful compared to any Eurorail system), and the airport provides good service. The Austin area is a great place to visit. I hope they build a track that true F1 fans can love. Bring it on!!


For those who don't know much about Austin:

- yes, a lot of the spectators will almost certainly be from outside the City, but there are direct flights to Austin from most parts of the US including Boston / New York / South Forida / the Mid West / LA / the Bay Area / San Diego / Arizona etc. so there's a huge cachement area for fans. I also wouldn't be surprised to see people coming in from Mexico and other parts of Latin & Central America which I suspect is part of the reason the race is here

- you don't need to fly from San Antonio, particularly if the circuit is to the S / SW of the City - it's only an hours drive and then you have the delights of the Alamo & the Riverwalk and more Hotels

- forget trains in Central Texas

- Bergstrom Airport can probably handle much of the freight - FedEx uses DC10's and I've seen C17's here so I guess 747's will work as well. Plus there's San Antonio an hour away, Houston is 150 miles and Dallas is about 200.

As far as the circuit design goes, I think it would be wonderful if it used the edge of the Hill Country and exploited some natural elevation change. Maybe they'll be able to do it so you can see much of the circuit from the main grandstand which would be a big plus.

Overall this is great news for some of us - I only hope it thrives!


If ever there was a US city that could hold a street race Austin has some WIDE roads downtown. Could you imagine a night race running up this avenue at 200mph? *mouth waters* http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4062/4363181418_142568d280_o.jpg


I hope this deal comes good and doesnt fall behind in its tight schedule. This would be more bad press that F1 cant afford on american shores. Michelin-gate, USF1 gate to name a few.

Manny Rodriguez

As an Austinite of 10 years I can tell you that this city knows how to entertain for world class events. I can barely contain my excitement. My prayers have been answered. Bernie you are my new hero.


Right with you on that one Manny! I never thought I'd love a decision Bernie would make, but I actually do now!


I am concerned about the number of races expanding too much. We don't want F1 to become like NBA do we whereby one race doesn't mean much because there's an enormous number of games/rounds?

The title of "Grand Prix winner" should be of great merit I think and that may be diminished if we have upwards of 20 rounds a season.


Then tell Bernie to drop Valencia, which no one cares about and has a bad track to boot.....

Jose Arellano

i think they should stay in 20, but have a a lot of different venues and alternate them year and year.


Great news for another expat in Austin. Cant wait to see an F1 car heading down Congress for some kind of warm up event! Already covered by the natives posted before but Austin is a great party kind of city with good transport links to Houston Dallas and SA. 6th street on F1 weekend will be sweeeeet, roll on 2012


"...along the lines of what we see in Bahrain, China or Abu Dhabi."

Well it's in a desert and in a country where people don't really give a damn about F1.

Now all they need is to hire Tilke to come up with his trademark "style over substance" kind of track and their goal is reached.


just add in half empty stadiums and its complete

Stephen Kellett

James, you need a poll:

"Should Tilke design the new USGP circuit in Austin Texas?"

o Yes

o No

o Over my dead body


Don't split the "no" vote! haha. 🙂

Options should be:

o I love Tilke's tracks!

o Over my dead body!



If Bernie and the F1 crowd thought Indianapolis was the "wrong place and wrong crowd," they'll just LOVE Austin, TX. Maybe the race will be held in August also.

Stephen Kellett

Having just watched a video of Road America I have to wonder why the race isn't being held there. Looks like a great track.



Better video, with McNish in an Audi!



This is amazing news,

As a brit who goes to the SXSW festival in Austin every year I can tell you it's one of the greatest cities in the world. It has a laid back cosmopolitan vibe that will suit F1 to a tee. I imagine the atmosphere will be one similar to the Oz GP. It's an inspired choice as it really will offer something truely American whilst also having an international feel something i think only it and New York could pull off. I don't say this often... but nice one Bernie!


Like Donington, I'll believe it when I see it. Still with a nine year contract at a track that will cost several hundred million dollars, in a country where F1's never really taken off, at least the ticket pricing's bound to be cheap...


I guess if you think about it, bernie has put the race right smack bang in the middle of the American continent - so huge potential catchment area.

Also, New York is too close to the existing Canadian GP.

On a slightly unrelated note, why is Bernie so keen on a GP in rome? They should get rid of Valencia too and go to Russia or South Africa instead of doubling up in some countrys. I think Ferrari are pulling the strings with the Rome GP idea.


I am glad to see F1 back on the US too but a shared risk with government? Where is the government money from? Aren't all states on high debts and the derivative monster is coming to the States after finishing off Europe and the UK?


I think its great news! Im Australian and last year went to the Monza race for the first time and would love to time a trip to the US around a visit to Austin for this race in 2012. I am surprised to not see the race in New York or surrounds but you can bet Texas will put on a huge show to introduce this race. Should be fantastic


Texas BBQ...mmmm. I've been to Austin once, and will admit the people there know how to have a good time.


It is the height of stupidity and arrogance to hold the USGP in Texas. Texans are not interested those european folk. They like their nascar and they aren't going to go to an F1 race, they aren't interested in the kind of crowd that follows F1. This race will be exactly like Malaysia, in the US.

Malaysia, in the US. Indianapolis is a much better venue - there are actual racing fans there.

Why not Monticello? The organizers of the Austin race will lose a LOT of money. Unless Bernie capitulated, in which case he will make no money.


It's good to see that USF1 has had some positive impact on the sport, despite it's failure it seems to have put North America back on the agenda


In order to stage the race, presumably some level of government had to kick in a huge subsidy. The level of subsidy would have been so large that only a desperate city would have been prepared to do it. This naturally brings me to Austin. It will be very difficult for this event to be successful for the simple reason that no one and i really mean no one in Texas really cares about F1. Furthermore, the people that really do care about F1 are not likely to be very keen to spend a weekend baking under the hot sun in the most gun crazed state in the union: Texas. A better choice would have been Elkhart lake. Road America is on par with the best European venues and is one of the most romantic road course settings in the world - a natural fit for f1. My second choice would have been in Calfornia - its the West Coast or Miami. But instead we have Austin ?

Jose Arellano

and no tillke please!!!



Afraid I'm an old die hard cynic who just can't see this coming off and see it as one of Bernie's media outbursts to appease the board or a global sponsor.

Lets face it F1 must, must, must be in USA if its to have a proper impact on the marketing and advertising strategy of global company - and with the audience of F1 it must target the global players. The Board of F1 knows it must target the global aspect for the future.

The difficulty is that F1 does not easily and readily admit American drivers as its a big change and challenge for them to come to Europe. American sponsorship is happy with just America thankyou and therefore they happily race in the own great series in the States.

When a decent American race driver is in F1 then I fully expect there to 500 great circuits all lining up to host a GP. Till then the crowds will be low and interest in a European, highly expensive, minimal passing race will be low.

Don't get fooled people. I think this is pure hype.


The problem is that there needs to be drivers actually good enough to compete in F1. There is no point letting someone in just for hype alone. MotoGP has competitive USA riders, who ride for their love of the sport. They are good enough to be there.

The money is so big in NASCAR and Indycar that they need to sacrifice that, which obviously they won't. Which means that they need to plant the seeds of their F1 drive by impressing in the junior categories and moving to Europe at as young age as possible. Australian drivers have a harder time then USA drivers, but somehow seem to manage the trip over there. Daniel Riccairdio and Brandon Hartley (NZ) are both Redbull junior drivers from the other side of the world.

F1 is incredibily tough for anyone to make it, regardless of the country they are from. Need money behind them, and talent. Talent is the overriding factor. Part of the blame can be put onto F1, because it's elitish and dull, and everybody puts their own interests ahead of those for the sport as a whole.

However it doesn't help when Indycar organisers call their races the best in the world, when it's obvious that it consists of F1 rejects, or people who would fail in F1, if they were given the chance. There is plenty of blame to go around for everyone.

A successful NASCAR driver isn't going to switch and I don't blame them. The change needs to come from grassroots, you need father and young boys wishing they could race in F1.


Great news...but was hoping it would be Miller Motorsports Park. Beautiful surrounding mountains and easily upgradable to F1 spec.


Texas? Is there a full business case study on the viability? Bernie has appeared to be more interested in stocking the coffers with misplaced new venues in second choice locations because they will pay his coin or royalties. The result maybe initial interest but not long term f1 fan base. The teams should have a say at the table when venues are being discussed. I think f1 needs Bernie to retire and have a new CEO with a fresh vision. Much like Todt is doing succeeding Max.


F1 will benefit greatly (especially for the true fans) when Bernie is gone.

Surley it can't be much longer now he's in his 70's and long hours disintergrated his marriage?!


Well it sounds like a good idea, but on the other hand it could just be another Dallas. Having said that, I'm willing to be open minded and give it a chance because I hear great things about the city...


I lived in Houston Texas for 5 years and I can tell you that the majority of Texans are not even aware of Formula 1 never mind interested in it. To be honest they're not interested in anything outside of Texas let alone anything outside of the U.S. Texas is a big state and Austin is hundreds of miles from other big cities like Houston and Dallas. I can't believe they'll get large numbers at the race so I predict lots of empty grandstands.


Thats a shame and seems like a waste of an event then... I really hope not...


I agree with RickeeBoy,

This won't happen,


Folks, please read the 2 online Austin, Tx papers, "statesman" & "Austin Business Journal" re: this matter. Then let's have Bernie lay down on a couch and he can talk to someone and get this all out of his system.


Apart from Americans this must be great news for the manufacturers . Toyota , Honda ,BMW would be sad . Ferrari, Merc delighted !

As with so many of the fans here I hope its not another boring Tilke design .

Robert Powers

Austin will bring in fans from all Texas cities across the board.Don't know if any other Texas city could do that.

Austin is an international city,because of the University of Texas.It has a population from all over the world,like large US cities do.

Austin has some of the best golf courses anywhere.The hill country,along with the highland lakes have no equal.

To build this track and create this event will be a cinch.To host this particular brand is no problem-F1 belongs in Texas,and we will set new standards for the rest of the world.

One new standard will be set as soon as the first race day arrives-the top paddock and grid girls of the year,every year.


A few small thoughts after reading some comments..

- The USA vs Euro snobbery is an aspect of our societies, and it rear it's ugly head a little in these comments, but thankfully only by a small number of people.

- Tilke gets a bad wrap, because it's the cool thing to do to bash his name. How many people criticising his tracks have actually driven them, or driven them in sims? The cars are the reason for overtaking, not the tracks. Most of the tracks are fine, good even. You don't judge a track by it's runoffs, you judge it by it's corners. They are very technical challenging, and fun to drive circuits. Except Valencia.. Valencia is absolutely awful in every way. The main reason for the runoffs is FIA safety standards, not the track designer.

- People saying what about tracks like Laguna Seca, don't understand F1.. at all. Yes, I agree it's a fantastic track, and I love love love it. It works for MotoGP, but F1 cars to too big for it. It could never work for F1 cars. Kyalami (modern version) is another track I love, that's just too small for modern F1 cars.

I'll be honest, the only time I had heard of Austin was because blues guitarist Eric Johnson is from there. I'm sure it's a great place. I agree with those who say Texas is a strange choice for the race, you would have thought it would be closer to California or NY, but it could work out quite well.

I am very happy F1 is returning to the USA, but absolutely cringe when hear Luca talking about his stupid 3rd cars again. Putting American flag colours on the livery, can his idea get any worse?

Maybe next year in the NBA, LeBron James can where English flag for his jersey, to see if more Brits will watch the NBA.


Answer this: why are races at Spa, Monza, Suzuka, etc, so much more interesting? Even just watching a F1 car by itself on these circuits is justification alone that they are better than Tilke's circuits, irrespective of overtaking.

I have always judged Tilke's designs by the corners. One or two corners aside, almost all of them are constant-radius, 2nd gear corners (or would be 2nd gear in most cars, maybe 3rd in an F1 car). There are long straights and tight corners. There is hardly ever any flow, from what I can tell from the outside. It's just the same thing, over and over. Monza, even with all of the chicanes, is still an epic circuit. Suzuka, with all the various shapes and profiles of corners, has this magical presence (and watching an F1 car go around there is magical too!). With Spa, there is no explanation needed.

Dull corners designed in CAD, then executed so that each particle of asphalt is in its exact place, will result in a dull circuit. What they need to go back to is hand-drawn designs on a big sheet of paper (doesn't Newey still hand-draw his designs?), and then roughly plot out the circuit, and pave. That's the only way that you'll get the little idiosyncrasies that give a circuit character.


Add Interlagos and Silverstone to the list of awesome tracks. Minor brain-fade on my part for not including them in the original list. 😉


"Tilke gets a bad wrap, because it’s the cool thing to do to bash his name. How many people criticising his tracks have actually driven them, or driven them in sims?"

Your priorities are mistaken. The important thing is making sure the fans enjoy watching a race. If a race isn't enjoyable to watch then people won't watch it, which is exactly what the organisers don't want.

Apart from Malaysia, I don't really enjoy watching races on any of Tilke's circuits- I would much rather watch a race on any of the "traditional" tracks. This, means that I dislike Tilke tracks, end of- the drivers' opinions dont't affect my enjoyment.

"Except Valencia.. Valencia is absolutely awful in every way."

Oh, do tell us about the time you drove on the Valencia circuit then.


James, please can we have a huge campaign to stop any Tilke involvement in this circuit. Although the cynic in me is saying that the ink's already dry on his contract.


I just hope this circuit has one or 2 'insane' sections, like Turkey's Turn 8, a long straight, and plenty of elevation changes.


My guess is there will never be a race in Austin. To me it is a pure fantasy. From what I read elsewhere, it makes no sense at all. Bernie just found a group of suckers to cash in.

Manny Rodriguez

One has to wonder what kind of deal was struck. This race will need to be developed from the ground up, race fans included. Austin is a very optimistic city, and I have to say, one of the best in the US. Hope the stars align for this one!


Not read all the comments so apologies if I'm repeating someonelses view but.....

....does this remind anyone else of the Donnington Park agreement?


If Hermann Tilke gets the design job I'm going to slash my wrists.

James, I know your site is held in high regard by the powers that be, so is there any chance you could prod them towards these comments? Bernie needs to know how much the fans loathe Tilkedromes


While slashing wrists is a tad extreme (perhaps you are a more hardcore follower than I), I do agree.

Bernie needs to see this, and then take one of two actions:

1) Leave Tilke in charge of the infrastructure around the circuit (they do look amazing), but get another firm to design the circuit layout.

2) Force Tilke to take on a committee of consultants, including current and former drivers, as well as whoever designed the modification of Spa in the 80s and whoever has designed some of the newer circuits in North America.

Prisoner Monkeys

Bill, the problem isn't Tilke - it's the rulebook. Tilke has to follow it to the letter for the circuit to receive accreditation from the FIA. The rule book is incredibly restrictive in many respects, and so changing the designer will not change anything. The only other firm I know of that develops racing circuits to a standard the FIA would accept is Apex Circuit Design, and I'm told they have a bad reputation - there's a circuit near Domodedovo in Russia that I'm told is a year behind schedule and over-budget.


It sounds like people in Austin are excited, and they're proud of their city, but it's not exactly a place where other Americans would choose to go for a vacation. I'm just not believing this has a chance in hell of happening, especially once the reality of paying for it sinks in.


Charles, then you haven't read some of the comments in the local paper's story announcing this deal. Yes there's some excitement but there's the usual cast of NAMBYs and other doubters.

In addition this Hellmund guy has zero connections to F1 he's a stock car guy. And, this is big to my way of thinking, Hellmund told the local paper no land has been purchased for the track, only that he's "looking" at three locations.

How do you get running in two years considering all the environmental concerns, studies and the like, AND with this coming out of the blue so to speak virtually no public debate about it.

Manny Rodriguez

Austin is great, and you make a good point. It is a very entertaining city that doesn't possess the entertainment that many US vacationers are seeking... beach, mountains, amusement parks, etc. But if you love a great night out, or appreciate the outdoors, then you'll love this place.


James, if you can use your powers to help with this project, see if you can get Alan Wilson's name put forth for track designer!


I've driven on two tracks of his. One was an upgrade and slight reprofiling (Le Circuit Mont Tremblant) and the other was a clean-sheet design (Calabogie Motorsports Park). Both tracks are amazing, and very well-designed.

If you can, try to slip his name in to someone with power!

Thanks. 🙂


Nothing against Austin- its a nice small well rounded city. Having traveled half a million miles in the past few years across US I can say this:

- Getting to Austin can be expensive for fans. Couple of airlines have a monopoly and very few direct connections from east or the west. I will start saving now for the air ticket 🙂

- Marketing wise, F1 needs a big push in the initial years if it wants to remain after the initial couple of years. Proximity to hollywood and silcon valley would have been a big plus or Wall Street in the east coast.

- in my opinion Vegas would have been perfect

Well its too late now, I only hope Bernie would have considered more than just commercial aspects.

Robert Lastings

Texas?? Obviously Bernie and his European crew have no idea of what the USA is really about. I will NEVER work in hicked out, lame, racist, conservative Texas. Just watch what happens when an F1 driver is caught speeding in Texas.


Forgive me for not reading all of this, as time is tight, but wouldn't it be great to see them racing at Laguna Seca??

Now we just get another Herman Tilke look-a-like track I expect, low on character, even lower on racing.


Great news. A first visit for a contra dance wkend there last year, liked all about it. I can see it being a success. Austin one of the most attractive US cities I've been in anyway.

Steven Selasky

No disrespect to Texas. I am sure Austin is a wonderful ciy with wonderful people.

I however, cannot see it happening using Donington as an example. In today's tough credit market who is going to come up with the money?

Why not Watkin Glen. Oh, for sure it does not meet "F1 Standards"... Yeah, what does F1 standards mean? Can anyone tell me. Do you really need all the amenitities to hold a GP.

An upgrade Pit garage should all that is needed. Oh, I know... if we lower standards ... then the other tracks would have a problem...

It is all a house of cards....


Alex Nikiforov

I'm sorry to be the bearer of potentially bad news, but as per AP/Sports Illustrated and the words of mr.Tavo Hellmund, managing partner of Full Throttle Productions:

the German firm Tilke GmbH firm had been hired to design the venue

"Fans should expect the craftsmanship Tilke is famous for, with a priority placed on green building and a track similar to the great Grand Prix tracks of previous generation"


I really hope that something good will come out from the German engineering precision of Tilke with the American way of making everything bigger - hundreds of thousands of seats, hot dogs and Mexican light beer under the scorching sun...

I agree - Tilke's tracks can be a bit boring most of the times on TV when it's not raining, but when you give the Chinese GP a try behind a wheel in a simulator game you can see why drivers love it... i guess the same goes for Istanbul, but that's about it

As for the place - Bernie goes where the money goes... remains to be seen if we will ever witness the 2012 US Grand Prix sponsored by Dell, Austin Texas

See you in Montreal James, your website is the first page that opens on my iphone every morning! great work....


This seems to sum it up from Austin Business Journal

'Meanwhile, city of Austin and Austin Chamber of Commerce officials were unfamiliar with race organizers’ plans and do not appear to have been deeply involved in the deal, according to city and chamber sources. Although Mayor Lee Leffingwell was cited in the news release on the Formula 1 website, a staffer said the mayor was not informed prior to the announcement.'

No land found yet, city officials don't know much about it and complete the track for the first race in 2012, yea... right...

Seth Williams

Yes! I couldn't be more excited about this! I have been fired up to see F1 make a return to the states, and I've heard nothing but amazing things about Austin! This is going to be fantastic! Can't wait to see this brand new track!


Stay out of the the USA Tilke. Your sterile track designs are not welcome here!


Curse. Swear. Shout. Rant.

Tilke's doing the Austin track.

Great. Just great.


Should have been in Chicago along the lake front then down the mag mile


Being a foreigner, and also not living in the states, all i can say is if you get it right, your city and state will see the benefit, and believe that you are the envy of many countries and cities around the world. In some ways im lucky being in europe as we have so many choices of races to visit but the cost of tickets is ridiculous, where as with the spectators set up the way it is in america tickets will be significantly cheaper. all i hope is that this track is better than Tilke’s other efforts, which are quite dull, but to be fair he has to work to modern safety constraints – barrier placement, sufficient run off’s etc – that other older tracks such as spa francorchamps never had to worry about when they were built / designed. so once again, support it and enjoy it as if it works and you get behind it you will see the benefit that F1 can bring

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