Unites States Grand Prix promoter Tavo Hellmund (left) insists that the finances are in place for the event to take place in 2012, despite the huge costs involved in putting on the ambitious project in Austin, Texas.
Formula 1 commercial rights manager Bernie Ecclestone this week announced a 10-year contract for the United States GP to take place at a purpose-built venue just outside Austin, starting in 2012. But with estimates putting the cost of building the venue at $200 million, with finances then needing to be found for running the race and paying the event fee to Ecclestone, doubts have already surfaced about whether the money can be found – especially coming so soon after the collapse of Donington Park's plans.
However, Hellmund, head of the Full Throttle Productions company that did the deal with Ecclestone, told AUTOSPORT he has no doubts about the finances.
"We've got the funding, but we don't have a billion dollars to build an Abu Dhabi," he said.
Hellmund has already attracted local government support, which includes financial backing from the state government plus the Texas Major Events Trust Fund, which was set up to help cover expenses incurred by high-profile events. Although no track plan has yet been released, Hellmund says the venue location has been chosen and work is more advanced than many people thought.
He has also defended his decision to use Hermann Tilke, the famed F1 track designer, because he claims the German is the best man for getting venues up to the right standards.
"I signed a deal with him a long time ago," said Hellmund. "They know where FIA and FOM want every plug, literally. They've already done the design – there's already a masterplan – and we have unbelievable land, a few miles from the airport. It's a killer location."
He added: "We optioned the land nearly three years ago with this in mind. We've already got the permitting for utilities, water and waste water, and those are the biggest things to get sorted. None of the land is developed, but it already has the infrastructure, roads and that kind of stuff."