I’m very concerned about the feast or famine extremes I have recently witnessed at Circuit of The Americas (COTA). Ten days ago I was SO very pleased to see hundreds of COTA track workers’ trucks in their parking lot. This was true witness to me that building & track construction was ramping up at a furious pace. Here’s a panorama shot from Piland Triangle Road. (Click to enlarge…)
Another indicator of progress, growth & potential was the reclaiming of private land for future entrepreneurial use. At the right angle corner of Piland Triangle Road, the previous homeowners mobile home had been removed, and signs of investment opportunity were put up. Again, to me these were signs of positive belief in the progression of COTA construction.
Here’s another shot, looking north across to COTA, as witnessed by my trusty steed, Karlino.
Then comes today’s bombshell from COTA, e-mailed by Hahn, Texas Communications, the PR firm working with COTA. I’ll let their words suffice to explain:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 15, 2011
Circuit of The Americas(TM) Suspends Construction
Pending Race Contract Delivery
Readiness for Formula 1(TM)
United States Grand Prix(TM) Not Yet Affected
AUSTIN, Texas – November 15, 2011 – Organizers of Circuit of The Americas, a premier motor sports racing and entertainment venue being developed in Austin, Texas, are suspending further construction of the project until a contract assuring the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix will be held at Circuit of The Americas in 2012 is complete. The race contract between Formula One and Circuit of The Americas has not been conveyed to Circuit of The Americas per a previously agreed upon timetable.
While construction at Circuit of The Americas has progressed as scheduled with over 300 workers at the construction site daily, all work will suspend immediately. The delivery of the Formula One Grand Prix race contract will allow construction operations to resume.
“We have spent tremendous resources preparing for the Formula One and MotoGP™ Championship races, but the failure to deliver race contracts gives us great concern,” said Bobby Epstein, founding partner of Circuit of The Americas. “We believe the United States is vital for the future of Formula One and its teams and sponsors. Given the purpose-built Tilke design, creating a unique fan experience and iconic challenge for drivers, we hope that Texas will not be left behind. More than 100,000 fans have expressed an interest in purchasing tickets for Formula One alone.”
“It is in the best interest of all parties to reach a timely resolution,” said Red McCombs, chairman of McCombs Enterprises and founding partner of Circuit of The Americas. “Local businesses, fans and the State of Texas are counting on us.”
My first reaction is… although the folks (& their investors) at COTA have a LOT on the line… Bernie Ecclestone could probably care less. If his past history is any indication, this immediate work stoppage will not help things to move forward at all! He’s already mentioned the possibility of maybe delaying the race till 2013…
To say that I’m concerned is an understatement! Racing Ready wishes that everyone could all just get along. Unfortunately, when big money is involved, playing nice goes out the window. We will all need to closely follow where this goes. Later today, Full Throttle Productions, Tavo Hellmund’s company that got this all started, put their 2 cents in…
Full Throttle Productions Statement
Regarding Suspension of Construction
at Circuit of The Americas
Nov. 15, 2011
Austin – Full Throttle Productions released the following statement today regarding the suspension of construction at Circuit of the Americas:
“After years of effort in getting F1 to Austin, Full Throttle Productions and city, county and state officials have done all we could. It is the responsibility of Circuit of the Americas to bring it across the finish line. For the sake of everyone, we are hopeful that they can reach an agreement with Formula 1.”
I’m sure Wild Bubba is concerned, as well, but will still put on the greatly anticipated “Wild Bubba’s Meet, Great & Eat” event this coming Saturday evening. Blogged details here! I hope to see you there supporting the continuing building & eventual arrival of the Austin USGP at Circuit of The Americas next year!
We WILL move this forward, & Bernie, you’re invited! 😉