Austin F1 – Dates, Votes, Expo & Site Progress

By , June 17, 2011 11:07 pm

Today it was 104 degrees F (40 Celsius) at the Circuit of the Americas track-site in Austin, and even hotter closer to town. Why is that significant? Well, today (June 17) is exactly one year prior to the FIA’s provisional date for the inaugural Austin F1 GP.

Change Race Date from June?

I think today’s heat says more clearly than anything else why Tavo and Bernie need to consider getting together to persuade the FIA to move the race back to October or November, when the Austin climate would be an asset rather than  a potentially lethal negative for the race. With track temperatures usually significantly higher than the ambient, drivers will have difficulty keeping cool and the likelihood is that scores of spectators will suffer heatstroke, despite the proposed track-side mister systems.

On the face of it, holding the race back-to-back with the Canadian GP makes sense from the perspective of keeping travel to a minimum. However, using the same rationale, the Austin GP could be moved adjacent to the Brazilian GP, which is provisionally set for November 2012 as many of the teams already travel through Dallas TX on their way to Brazil. It is a little unclear whether Tavo and the Circuit of the Americas team are supporting a change of date, but this recent link on the C oTA web site  seems to indicate that they do, although I have not heard any “official” comment.

Of course this could all be a subtle way of introducing Bernie’s “artificial rain” idea!

Austin City Council Vote & Petitions

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, we should remember that all such discussion could all be irrelevant if the naysayers on the Austin City Council vote against the race at their meeting on Thursday June 23rd. It is a little difficult to decipher the true effect of a negative vote, or even exactly what the vote will be as the motion has yet to be published, but the essence of the problem is that the track and Austin’s GP have become something of a political football in Saturday’s run-off election between Council Member Randi Shade and challenger Kathie Tovo.

Tovo has been very vocal about the fact that she thinks $4 million in annual City subsidies for the race are a waste of money, despite all of the benefits and tax revenues the race will bring. The thought that Tovo might win and create a majority against ratifying the F1 plans has led to much consternation, and the creation of at least two petitions in support of the race, targeted at City Council members. There has been some recent maneuvering to cool things down, but it is still makes the race vulnerable and so I have signed these petitions, and they would benefit from support from all F1 fans. You can find the change.org petition here and the ipetitions version here. 

Austin F1 Expo

I have had discussions and meetings with a number of parties supporting the idea of an F1 Expo in Austin. There definitely seems to be a good deal of positive momentum, and that has encouraged me to pursue the idea further. While the lack of firm date for the race may make things harder to plan, there seems to be sufficient interest to move to the proposal and planning stage. I will release the draft proposal next month, and post a copy on this site.

Progress at the Austin Track Site

So, how is the track coming along? The good news here is that the continuing drought in Austin has been good for the developers, who have been able to work pretty much non-stop since March. Here are a couple of aerial shots from earlier this week, courtesy of CoTA.

View of Whole Track Site

Track contours, tunnel walls and paddock area progressing well

 

Paddock in centre of picture, with surrounding area countors discernable

One Response to “Austin F1 – Dates, Votes, Expo & Site Progress”

  1. Luis R Avellana says:

    I would like information of events and races.
    Thanks
    L A

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