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SBD/November 16, 2012/Events and Attractions
Austin F1 Race's Short- And Long-Term Success Uncertain; Track Gets Rave Reviews
Published November 16, 2012
WEEKEND WITH BERNIE: F1 CEO Bernie Ecclestone said, "I think the circuit itself is absolutely fantastic. Everything they've done is unbelievable, everything we asked for they did. I think everything is fantastic. Everybody seems happy." He added, "I think America can probably last without F1, and I suppose F1 can probably last without America. But it's good to be here" (SPEEDTV.com, 11/15). The AMERICAN-STATESMAN's Maher in a separate piece notes Ecclestone on Thursday "toured the Circuit of the Americas facility, met people, asked questions and gave his stamp of approval to both the facility and those who made it happen." Ecclestone said, "They should all be really proud, because I am" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 11/16). Speed TV commentator David Hobbs said, "They've done an absolutely magnificent job" (MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL, 11/16). In London, Tom Dart writes Austin "is a curious choice for a sport that many Americans consider obscure and alien, if they even have an opinion on the subject." But Austin has "long been a counterintuitive kind of place, instinctively welcoming the unconventional" (LONDON TIMES, 11/16).
BEATING THE ODDS: The AMERICAN-STATESMAN's Maher in a separate piece wrote under the header, "Against All Odds, F1 Track Has Been Built, Ready To Host Race." For almost two years, the "project has bumped and lurched through doubts and delays." Even last week, race workers were "still scrambling around the massive site to complete a critical access road and finish fan amenities." But the "track has been built, and both the design and workmanship have been drawing raves" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 11/11). REUTERS' Steve Keating writes the race will provide a "spectacular stage for what could be a dramatic finish to the season and the start of a new era for the glamour series in a market it is determined to conquer." After getting a "first look at the circuit the two words most commonly used to describe the twisting track were, 'challenging' and 'interesting'" (REUTERS, 11/16).
BITTERSWEET WEEKEND: The AMERICAN-STATESMAN's Maher in a separate piece notes Former COTA Managing Partner Tavo Hellmund, who "first envisioned F1 racing in Austin plans to be at the circuit this weekend." When Austin’s first F1 race has "a winner and a conclusion, the clock will strike midnight for Hellmund." His "connection to the United States Grand Prix and the track, however limited that tie is now, will be completely severed." Hellmund said that he is "already working on another project, bringing Formula One back to Mexico." Hellmund said that he is "working with CIE, the massive Mexican entertainment company, which has a lease to a track" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 11/16).
ALL EYES ON ME? REUTERS' Keating in a separate piece wrote while Sunday's race "could be the pinnacle of the F1 season, American motor sports fans do not view the U.S. Grand Prix with as much anticipation." NASCAR "is king and it is likely more eyeballs and television remotes will be focused on Homestead, Florida where the Chase championship will also be decided on Sunday" (REUTERS, 11/14).