USGP organizers shoot down race doubters

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U.S. Grand Prix organizers are shooting down rumors that the race will not happen in 2012 due to a host of local complications, including a lack of infrastructure.

In doing so, they’ve confirmed the power that is Martin Brundle.

Brundle mentioned after the Singapore GP this weekend that he’d heard the race wasn’t going to happen. There wasn’t much credible follows (from our lookings around), but it seems Brundle on the BBC is enough to warrant an answer.

The BBC has it:

But Formula 1 United States spokesman Adam Goldman told BBC Sport:”Tremendous progress is being made on the circuit in Austin, Texas.

“The project team and community look forward to hosting the F1 United States Grand Prix in 2012.”


“We are working with the State of Texas, City of Austin and Travis County to break ground on the project by the end of the year,” he said.

The biggest issue at this point seems to center around a report by the Austin American-Statesman suggesting there is no way that needed road work could be done in time for the race. Here’s a bit:

Clearing fans from a planned Formula One racetrack southeast of Austin within three hours would take as much as $15 million in major road improvements which even in the best case could not be completed by the projected 2012 opening date, according to an analysis of the site performed by Travis County planners.

Consequently, for the first Grand Prix races, “we’re looking at minor improvements to the existing system” and “intensive traffic management,” said Joe Gieselman, manager of Travis County’s Transportation and Natural Resources Department.

The county’s presentation Tuesday coincided with local promoters’ second visit to the Travis County Commissioners Court seeking permits to site and build the estimated $200 million facility east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport.

During his initial presentation two weeks ago, Full Throttle Productions attorney Richard Suttle fielded sharp questions from commissioners about the F1 organizers’ lack of traffic studies and other basic information that county officials said they needed to make even preliminary decisions about the project.

On Tuesday afternoon, Suttle apologized for the slow start and promised to work closer with Travis County to get the plans approved.

“We heard (you) loud and clear,” he said. “The information flow is going to open up.”


With an estimated 120,000 fans descending on the track on the race weekend’s busiest day, county officials said they anticipate 35,000 vehicles and an additional 15,000 people arriving by bus. To clear the facility after the race in three hours — the average time it takes race fans to get out of Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth — Gieselman said several lanes would have to be added to FM 812 and Elroy Road.

Taking into account the time needed to purchase rights of way, move utilities and lay pavement, “two years is not enough time to put in the infrastructure needed to get down to three hours,” he said. “I would not look for the major improvements to be done by the first race.”

So, there’s your current “best-case scenario.” Now, I suspect we all will be willing to deal with a three-hour exit (Negative Camber leads terrific sing-a-longs, so the F1B staff will be entertained), but what about the partially interested fan? I wonder how the worry of this traffic might affect the size of the crowd.


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