May 26 (GMM) The reaction has been mixed since F1 announced it is heading to Austin, Texas, for 10 consecutive United States grands prix beginning in 2012.
Britain’s Sun newspaper quoted Williams chief executive Adam Parr as saying: “We are a global sport and not having a race in America has been a big hole in the calendar. Our partners will be thrilled.”
But the announcement was short on detail, including where in the Texan capital the venue will be built, and why Austin can succeed where the likes of Donington failed.
McLaren’s managing director Jonathan Neale said in a teleconference on Wednesday: “I’d say it is fantastic news if it turns out to be true and if we can make it happen.”
One sceptic is Kevin Eason, correspondent for London’s The Times.
“This is one old formula one dog who was once bitten by Donington and is twice shy.”
And a blogger at former US GP host city Indianapolis’ Indy Star newspaper read: “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
The German news agency SID said the news had triggered “joy and doubt”.
Even the major Austin daily American-Statesman found the surprise news, which came hot on the heels of claims New York was closing on a deal, hard to swallow.
“Monte Carlo. Istanbul. Barcelona. Montreal. Austin? Maybe,” read a report.
The report added that “significant details” are yet to come, including the cost, the source of the funding, “and why would an Austin project succeed where others haven’t?”
The fabled Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted F1 between 2000 and 2007, and spokesman Fred Nation said: “Some years we had the largest crowds of the year for formula one.
“From a spectator point of view, it was a success. At the end of the day, we could not make a business deal that made sense to us.”
The promoter of Austin’s F1 race is Tavo Hellmund, whose company Full Throttle Productions is largely unknown outside of Austin, and he admitted that land has not been bought but three sites are being considered.
A local race venue owner thinks Hellmund’s task is a huge one.
“I can tell you this facility cost about $250 million,” said Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage, referring to the venue used for NASCAR races.
“(An F1 track) would exceed that,” he added.