Author Topic: Hope for TX F1, Moto GP  (Read 3221 times)

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Offline Centex

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Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« on: November 26, 2011, 12:27:10 am »
Many have understandably been excited about the construction of a major road-course venue in the Austin area, along with announcements of a 2012+10 year F1 series commitment, followed by a 2013+10yr Moto GP series committment.

Enthusiasm turns to growing disappointment with the following evolving news / soap opera:

Announcement of construction halting on November 15.  :o

With more in Autoweek.

Growing concern 11/16.

Bernie speaks 11/16.  ::)

Tavo talks 11/17.  :-[

Texas developers try to negotiate with Bernie 11/24.  :(

Bernie explains negotiating leverage to Texas developers.  :nananana:

If I had to make a prediction today, I'd guess:

  • Chief developer Epstein, who knows nothing about the workings of F1, is getting a steep education upon running Tavo Helmund out of he the partnership (failure to recognize what Tavo brought to the venture; failure to understand that Bernie holds all the cards and does not need Austin).
  • Epstein needs an F1 event in 2012 to make his cashflow scheme work.
  • Epstein won't get an F1 event on his terms and the whole venture will collapse (no F1, no track, no Moto GP).
 

I hope I'm wrong (the track site is about 10 miles from my house, between me and the big city of Austin, my home town).

In any case, it sure is an interesting show to follow as long as you don't have any real skin in the game.  The big business of international race and track promotion.


Congrats to the New Jersey folks for the announced F1-in-the-streets, I hope that comes-off OK!
« Last Edit: December 08, 2011, 03:35:21 pm by Centex »
Alan in Central Texas
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Offline CRocker

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Re: Fading Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2011, 03:58:50 am »
Ouch!

Offline Cap'n Bob

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Re: Fading Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2011, 04:04:16 am »
They had said last week on Speed News, that Texas pulled funding for the project. This just a short amount of time after NJ announces that they will run an F1 race in Weehawken.

Offline Centex

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Re: Fading Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2011, 04:48:33 am »
They had said last week on Speed News, that Texas pulled funding for the project. This just a short amount of time after NJ announces that they will run an F1 race in Weehawken.

State Comptroller Susan Combs has clarified that she will not make the $25 million Major Event Fund payment until after the event is held and documentation submitted to demonstrate compliance with the revenue generation requirements.  Her initial offer was to make the payment up to 1 year before the event is scheduled to occur, based on revenue generation projections.

$25 million coincides with the amount of the fee due to Bernie in advance of the event under the contract terms he had with Tavo Helmund (a "friend-of-the-family" rate that Bernie allegedly did not extend to Epstein when Epstein ditched Tavo).

While likely (IMHO) that the event would demonstrably meet the revenue generation requirements to eventually get the $25 million State money, obviously thats a fair chunk of change for the venture to float until the State makes the payment.  Epstein's undisclosed 'counter offer' made after the Comptroller's announcement suggests that he's got that amount covered, but the actual price of Bernies fee for Epstein hasn't been disclosed that I've seen. 
« Last Edit: November 26, 2011, 04:51:47 am by Centex »
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Offline Cap'n Bob

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Re: Fading Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #4 on: November 26, 2011, 02:40:51 pm »
Well now they say that they were ready to pay the sanctioning fee to Bernie for some time. But they say that F1 keeps putting extra unrealistic additions to the contract. They still say that they can do it and are awaiting the new contract! It's like a soap opera.  ::)

Offline krumgrinder

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Re: Fading Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #5 on: November 26, 2011, 11:31:17 pm »
Too bad, too bad- tough scenario to begin with in this economy, then you add in all the big egos and shifting landscapes... it's a wonder anything gets built in this country anymore.  :truce:
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Offline gnuse

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Re: Fading Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2011, 03:03:15 pm »
Too bad, too bad- tough scenario to begin with in this economy, then you add in all the big egos and shifting landscapes... it's a wonder anything gets built in this country anymore.  :truce:
I wouldn't be too down on this country building things. I have been a track owner and IMHO there are too many wealthy ego's that come in and out of racing, leaving the real enthusiasts wanting. I am a believer in the adage: "I know there is money in racing because I put it there." Not to be cynical, but it doesn't take a genius to look at the F-1 venue landscape and Bernie's checkbook balance to see who is the heavyweight. I could continue until the ink runs out on my computer with anecdotes and experiences in this area.

Offline Stewart

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Re: Fading Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2011, 05:10:49 pm »
F1 makes money for a very few people, everyone else its just advertising and fun. If you think you can make money with a track/event...good luck.

I think the NJ announce sunk the deal.
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Offline Centex

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Re: Fading Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2011, 03:33:18 pm »
Austin media all abuzz yesterday with the news that "the race is on" afterall.  McCombs and the Circuit of the America's Team apparently beat the buzzer and got Bernie the cash and contracts he needed to keep the race on the 2012 schedule.

One of many local news stories posted here.

As of yesterday afternoon they even had yellow-iron moving back onto the site for a 'construction restart photo op'.

So, the saga continues ... nothing 'final' until the checkered flag drops on 11/18/12. 
Alan in Central Texas
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Re: Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2011, 04:23:43 pm »
that's good news!  I see a trip to TX in my future!

Offline Pat and Sher in MA

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Re: Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #10 on: December 08, 2011, 06:57:20 pm »
 8) but does anyone know if MotoGP will still be coming to Austin?  :motonoises:
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Re: Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #11 on: December 08, 2011, 06:59:16 pm »
Hopefully if you build it they will come!  I can't imagine how they could stay away from such a world class facility as they have planned.  Fingers crossed!

Offline Centex

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Re: Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2011, 11:44:09 pm »
  but does anyone know if MotoGP will still be coming to Austin? 

Through all the F1 hubub no mention has been made of the other two "committed series' " (Moto GP and Australian Supercar).  Presumably with F1 to anchor the track, the other two deals still stand.

I know that Kevin Schwantz worked hard on the Moto GP deal, he lives in the neighborhood and I'm sure he'll stay committed to making it happen.

Having voiced that naive optimism, I'll revert to my more normal skepticism and reiterate that nothing is final 'till the checkered flag falls on any race    ;D
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Offline txfatboy

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Re: Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #13 on: December 10, 2011, 04:03:06 am »
This is good news... I have been fortunate enough to watch F2 cars run in anger at the Hockenhiemring in Germany in the late 70's. It was the closest thing to Formula 1 I got. I can't wait to see the F1 cars and hear that 20,000 RPM wail before they switch to turbo v-6's. The Moto GP and Australian v-8 supercar series are bonuses.
My daughter has a colorgaurd meet in Jan. 2012 so I think I'll get to check out the progress at the track. 
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Offline Pat and Sher in MA

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Re: Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #14 on: January 31, 2012, 11:15:40 pm »
Anyone in the area have any news updates on the track construction and if they are still "on schedule"
to complete the track in time? I'm looking forward to attending the MotoGP event when it happens.  :motonoises:
Pat & Sher in Ma.  04 C10 Dark Angel,  87 Ninja 600RX, 79 KZ1300 (x2)

Offline Centex

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Re: Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2012, 04:23:37 am »
The only source of info is the track website claiming all is good and taking money to get in line for preferred seats for the F1 event.

I drive by the site a couple of times a week.  Lots of activity but nothing yet really recognizable .... In other words, lots yet to do.  To heck with construction, we're very glad to have a fairamount of desperately needed rain of late.
Alan in Central Texas
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Offline smithr1

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Re: Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2012, 06:17:15 pm »
Here is the web site.  They do have LOTS to do.  I just hope they make it accessible to us frugal types.

http://circuitoftheamericas.com/
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Re: Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2012, 08:06:39 pm »
Yep....definitely looks like Texas!   :))

I gotta go do some searches to see how the Moto GP side is shaping up.   8)

Offline Boomer

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Re: Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2012, 12:02:19 pm »
Sorry guys, but MotoGP is at Laguna Seca again this year.
Maybe for 2013 they can get to Austin.

F1 is confirmed in their calendar but as we all know, that can change.

As for the F1 engines, they are limited to 18,000rpm and 2.4 litres.
At the moment all of them are V10s.

I've been to F1 races at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) many times, Silverstone (UK), Donnington (UK), Zolder (Belgium), Nurberg-ring (Germany, not the NordSchliefe), Magny Cours (France) and Monaco.
The best of those from a spectators point of view are Monaco and Spa but for very different reasons.
Monaco is such an EVENT. Hordes of dressed up lovelies everywhere and the sound of V12s (it was in the early 80s) echoing off all the buildings.
Spa is more of a "party in a field" atmosphere. Much more relaxed and views of the track are way better than most tracks.

Heres hoping that Austin delivers a great track and great racing.
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Offline Centex

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Re: Hope for TX F1, Moto GP
« Reply #19 on: March 05, 2012, 06:34:08 pm »
By John Maher AMERICAN-STATESMAN STAFF
Updated: 7:07 a.m. Sunday, March 4, 2012
Published: 11:12 p.m. Saturday, March 3, 2012
Austin's Formula One racetrack project has hit another speed bump.
Tavo Hellmund, once the face of the project, and his company, Full Throttle Productions, have filed a lawsuit against track investors Bobby Epstein and Red McCombs and various companies and managers involved in the $300 million project under construction in Travis County.
The civil suit filed in state District Court in Travis County does not specify damages but says Hellmund had an agreement for an $18 million buyout that was not fulfilled and that he was scheduled to make $500,000 a year for 10 years as chairman of the F1 U.S. Grand Prix.
The first race is set for Nov. 18.
Through the suit, Hellmund also might seek to regain management control of the project: "With the relief requested herein — namely, access to the Company's books and records and declaration that he cannot be removed as a manager — Hellmund hopes to steer the now-teetering Circuit back on track and determine how best to proceed, if at all, to acquire Epstein's remaining interest in the company."
According to the suit, Hellmund is already trying to buy out McCombs, who has about $8 million in the project — roughly a 20 percent stake, about the same percent that Hellmund claims.
Hellmund could not be reached Saturday.
Epstein said Saturday that he was unaware of the suit and that Hellmund has not worked for Circuit of the Americas for a long time.
"This is just a latest step in a pattern of behavior. Mr. Hellmund uses negative press to try and create an advantage for himself at every turn. The fact is, he has been found to be in breach of contract by Formula 1 and he has not fulfilled his agreements," Circuit of the Americas management said in a statement.
Hellmund says in the suit that the project has been hindered by misinformation and poor financial support.
For example, the suit claims that Epstein provided inaccurate information about the adequacy of soil conditions and underground gas pipelines on the almost 1,100-acre site.
According to the suit, Epstein claimed there were 2-inch low-pressure lines on the property, but those "turned out to be 20-inch high pressure lines. Those major gas lines were anything but easy or cheap to remove, costing several million dollars to relocate."
Track officials recently said 3 million cubic yards of earth have been moved during construction. As part of construction, workers dug down more than 9 feet and replaced the clay with more stable soil.
The bottom line, according to the suit, is that the project has cost more than anticipated and resulted in reductions in plans for the grandstand, pedestrian bridges over the track, paved parking, concessions and restrooms.
The suit also claims access and emergency routes to the Circuit of the Americas were inadequate and remain behind schedule.
Officials have said track construction is on schedule.
The suit claims a buyout agreement was reached with Hellmund Sept. 29. He was to receive $18 million for his share of the company and for assigning the contracts of Formula One and MotoGP to Circuit of the Americas, but that didn't happen.
Hellmund and his lawyers contend that he is still the chairman of the F1 race, claiming, "Despite Epstein/McCombs public assertions to the contrary, Hellmund has neither quit nor been terminated."
Contact: 445-3956
Alan in Central Texas
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