SBD/December 1, 2011/Events and Attractions

F1's Ecclestone Again Pushes Back Financing Deadline For Austin Track

Ecclestone has extended the deadline three times in hopes of saving the race
F1 Management Chair Bernie Ecclestone “gave Circuit of the Americas officials another week to prove they have the financing in place for the F1 race scheduled for Nov. 18 of next year” in Austin, according to John Maher of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. Previously, Ecclestone had said that the deadline was yesterday, and before that “he put the cut-off point at the end of last week.” Ecclestone's most recent deadline, however, “does not appear to be one that can be renegotiated.” It coincides “with a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in New Delhi on Dec. 7, when the 2012 race calendar will be officially ratified.” While F1 races “can be dropped after that date because of problems ranging from construction delays to civil unrest in the host country, races would not be added to the schedule” (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 12/1).

WHAT EXECS ARE SAYING: The future of F1 racing was discussed at the Motorsports Marketing Forum in Las Vegas, and the situation in Austin was a main topic. JMI Founder Zak Brown said, “You have people involved that have not put on events. The numbers don’t add up.” He said that when one looks at the heavy infrastructure and start up costs around the event, the financials didn’t make sense. Brown: “You really only have one form of revenue and that is the gate. … The sponsorship and the numbers don’t add up.” Octagon Exec VP Mark Coughlin, on whether Austin can get the event back on track: “I think it’s a very tough situation for anyone to tie up that amount of money for a long period of time. … They are running out of time. It’s not happening in 2012, and they are pushing it now to 2013, and they have an awful lot of work to do” (THE DAILY).

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