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F1 Boss Extends Payment Deadline To Wednesday

Photo by KUT
Construction has been halted on the Circuit of the Americas track in southeastern Travis County amid a contract dispute between local organizers and Formula One boss Bernie Eccelstone.

Formula One’s president and CEO has extended the deadline by which Austin race organizers must finalize their contract to ensure the race can proceed.

In an interview with Autoweek, Bernie Ecclestone said he doesn’t feel the people he’s now working with are “as reliable as they should be.”

Ecclestone says organizers have until Wednesday to come to a deal - or next year's race won't happen.

F1 race promoter Tavo Hellmund held the original contract for the Austin race, but Ecclestone canceled it after it became apparent that Hellmund would not be able to come up with the $25 million required to seal the deal. Construction on the track being built in southeastern Travis County was halted in mid-November.

“I was disappointed insofar as [Hellmund] had what he thought were partners that could finance the business and wouldn’t let him down,” Ecclestone told Autoweek. “Really, they let him down and they’re trying to steal from him, get him out of it, and do the whole thing themselves.”

Circuit of the Americas, which still boasts a “confirmed” race date of November 2012 on its website, issued a news release on Thanksgiving Day saying that Ecclestone’s revised contract was “unrealistic and unfeasible.”

However, in the Autoweek interview, Ecclestone doesn’t appear ready to budge.

“This what these people don’t understand, they’re sitting there on their own, thinking about their race, buying something that they can’t afford, thinking the world is going to change for them. Which it isn’t,” he said. 

Nathan Bernier is the transportation reporter at KUT. Got a tip? Email him at Follow him on Twitter @KUTnathan.
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