Circuit of the Americas promoters are facing a lawsuit from former partner Tavo Hellmund, in yet another twist to the story of the U.S. Grand Prix in Austin.
Hellmund was previously the public face of the race, which is set to signal the return of Formula 1 to the United States this November, but his involvement in the project was believed to have ended last year amid a dispute with Bernie Ecclestone over the contract. However, according to a report in the Austin Statesman newspaper, Hellmund has now filed a lawsuit against project investors Bobby Epstein and Red McCombs, plus other companies involved in the grand prix.
The suit does not make reference to the damages he is seeking, but mentions a potential buyout option that was supposed to have taken place – and a $500,000 salary per year he was supposed to have received for the next 10 years.
The Statesman quotes the lawsuit as stating: "With the relief requested herein – namely, access to the company's books and records and declaration that he cannot be removed as a manager – Hellmund hopes to steer the now-teetering circuit back on track and determine how best to proceed, if at all, to acquire Epstein's remaining interest in the company."
Hellmund was unavailable for comment over the weekend, but Epstein said: "This is just a latest step in a pattern of behavior. Mr. Hellmund uses negative press to try and create an advantage for himself at every turn. The fact is, he has been found to be in breach of contract by Formula 1 and he has not fulfilled his agreements."