Austin's Return To F1 Calendar For '12 Puts Track Construction In The Fast Lane
Within hours of yesterday’s announcement that the U.S. Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas will be on the '12 F1 schedule, the "sprawling construction site southeast of Austin reopened," according to a front-page piece by John Maher of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. Over the "next 10 days, tons of equipment and hundreds of workers will pour back in to the area." Current roads "need to be refurbished," new roads and parking areas "must be developed, the crucial 3.4-mile racing circuit must be paved, and buildings and grandstands must be constructed" in advance of the Nov. 18 race. Meanwhile, promotion and event planning "must proceed, and tickets must be priced and sold." COTA investor Bobby Epstein "expressed confidence that the track would be finished on time." He said, "Our construction group said they can get it done." Utah-based track designer Alan Wilson said, "You can build a track pretty quickly. It's not different than building a campus for a university. We built a project that was actually bigger (than Austin's track) in less than a year." Maher reports the COTA grandstand "will not be built for a maximum number of spectators." The capacity will be around 12,000, as "most of the rest of the circuit's seating will be provided on temporary scaffolding" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 12/8).