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Construction Delays With Formula One Race Track

f1.jpg
Photo by Nathan Bernier for KUT News.
A map shows where the F1 site will be in relation to the airport. Construction officially began in December.

Construction of the proposed Formula One track complex in Southeast Travis County is slowing down, at least that is what some drivers and neighbors are reporting. Organizers broke ground on the 970-acre tract of land last December. The first race is scheduled for November 2012. It was pushed back from an original June date. Jacob Dirr is a freelance writer who covers Formula One development in Austin. He says the holdup could be stemming from a change-up in management.

“I think a lot of people are concluding that that is why construction has slowed down remarkably because they are still waiting to work through whatever ownership changes might take place. ”

The Austin-American Statesman reported Thursday that some rights to the races have not been secured yet.

On Monday, promoter Tavo Hellmund called state Comptroller Susan Combs asking whether a change in management or promoters would affect the circuit's eligibility for money from the state Major Events Trust Fund. The state has pledged $250 million over 10 years from the fund. Combs said the race would still be eligible for the incentives in a letter Tuesday to Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone. Combs' letter revealed that major investors in the track, including Texas billionaire Red McCombs, haven't secured the rights to hold the race. Ecclestone bestowed the rights to Hellmund, but he has not transferred them to his partners in Circuit of the Americas, according to Combs' letter.

The racetrack is estimated to bring $300 million in economic stimulation to Austin each year. Austin has an agreement with Formula One to play host to races until 2021.

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