Tilke to design USGP circuit

Veteran F1 circuit designer Herman Tilke is slated to design the new purpose-built F1 circuit in Austin Texas which will be the home of the US Grand Prix. Supreme scoopster Adam Cooper had a pleasant phone call with Tavo Hellmund, the gentleman of Full Throttle Productions and host organization of the USGP, regarding his plans for he future.

As Cooper points out, there were three possible locations considered but apparently 800 acres has already been purchased and infrastructure approval has been given. It seems that Hellmund has been working with FOM boss Bernie Ecclestone for some time to secure the rights to host the race in the US. It also seems that Hellmund’s father is a long-time promoter as well as you will see in Cooper’s article.

According to Hellmund, Tilke will design the new circuit:

The German has been asked to create a fast circuit with challenging corners that resemble those of classic established circuits such as Silverstone, Hockenheim and Spa. It will be over 3-miles in length.

Many have offered praise for the return of a USGP but equally there is a lot of concern that Tilke’s effete designs are losing their glossy outer shell and that while press and luxury accommodations are well planned, racing is an after thought. If there is another track like Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, China or Malaysia a mutiny may ensue amongst F1 fans.

The call for safety is certainly understood but a twisting, turning circuit folding in on itself as to resemble an oval is something F1 fans are sickened by. If asked to provide Tilke with a blue print of what he USGP circuit should look like, most every fan would scream Spa, Canada, Australia, Monza, Japan and the mighty Silverstone. Why is this a difficult concept to grasp for such a brilliant man?

One can argue that the design should be modern but many have offered the opinion that the real reason F1 has become stale is that the tracks are too sterile. Too perfect and safe. Too characterless to hold charm or staying power (stickiness) for fans to want to return. The beauty in Spa, Silverstone and Monza is their imperfections not the asymmetrical turns on flat ground.

The location is east of Austin and while no one could be more excited about the return of the USGP, I am alarmingly reticent of Tilke’s creation. Tragically I know he is capable, intelligent and motivated to do his best but Hellmund must demand something more than the last 4 circuits Tilke has designed. Something globally unique that will make the USGP a must-see event no matter where you live.

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