F1 to race in Texas, USA in 2012

Keke Rosberg won F1's only previous race in Texas in 1984

Keke Rosberg won F1's only previous race in Texas in 1984

Bernie Ecclestone has confirmed Formula 1 will return to the United States of America in 2012.

But, despite much speculation about a race being held in or near New York, the destination for F1’s next US Grand Prix is Austin in Texas.

According to Formula1.com a ten-year deal will see F1 race in Austin from 2012 to 2021.

Ecclestone said:

For the first time in the history of Formula One in the United States, a world-class facility will be purpose-built to host the event.
Bernie Ecclestone

The race is being organised by Full Throttle Promotions. Managing partner Tavo Hellmund said:

We realise that over the last 30 years there have been one or two missing pieces from the previous editions of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix.

We have a tremendous opportunity at hand to do it right – to feature Austin as the backdrop and produce the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix as one of the great sporting events in the world.
Tavo Hellmund

The promotion company say further details on the race will be announced shortly. At the moment there is no information on exactly where the track will be or who it will be designed by, though it would a surprise if anyone other than Hermann Tilke got the job.

F1 raced on a temporary street circuit in Dallas, Texas, in 1984, but never returned to the venue. The United States Grand Prix was last held at the Indianpolis road course from 2000 to 2007.

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255 comments on F1 to race in Texas, USA in 2012

  1. Steve K said on 25th May 2010, 20:15

    Austin is a great city. The Austin-San Antonio region is growing fast. Huge university which hosts 90000 fan football games seven times a year. Dallas and Houston are just a few hour drive away. 6th Street is awesome if you like to party or lusten to live music. Beautiful Lake Travis a few minutes away. It will be a lovely place to host a race.

  2. I wonder what if instead of this new track, the race was awarded to Laguna Seca. That would be awesome!

  3. HopefulState said on 25th May 2010, 20:18

    Would be interesting to see where they build it. Two years is a short time to build a track from scratch if it hasn’t even been designed yet. The only existing track I know of in Austin is Driveway Austin, and that’s more of an driving school than a track, could they expand that?

  4. nick said on 25th May 2010, 20:39

    We need to get away from keep building new tracks all the time, they just have no character. If I was in charge of F1 I would be looking to put together as diverse a schedule as I could. I would love to see an F1 race on the runways and taxiways of an airport for instance. As for Texas there is a street track that from what I remember in the ChampCar days was pretty wide and could offer a good trial for f1 in the area without committing to the cost of a all new facility.

  5. Hair E Ball Ox said on 25th May 2010, 20:50

    Well I for one think this is a great idea and dont understand all the ‘nay-sayers’.

    This has all the potential to really bring back F1, in the US, to its former glory days of the past.

    Being held in Austin isnt such a bad idea…..

    It’s in a part of the country that is race savy. Yes, its admiditly NARSCAR, but if it’s done right it could really make F1 take off in the US.

    Also, it has a race savy promoter and the locals & officials seem to be behind it rather than against it, al la New Jersey.

    I think this could really be the make or brake point for F1 in the US. They’re working with a blank canvas rather than working within the confines of an existing track. So Im going to remain fully optimistic that this will work.

    • Joey-Poey said on 25th May 2010, 21:06

      Indy had had NASCAR racing there for 6 years already when F1 showed up. Not to mention, they had 90 years or so of Indy Car racing history which is much closer to F1. I fail to see how Texas would be more race savvy…

      • Hair E Ball Ox said on 25th May 2010, 23:11

        Who said it was ‘more’ race savvy?

        Indy was wrong frm the start and then we had back to back fiascos with Michelin & then Schumacker letting Rubens pass at the line.

        Here they have an oppertunity to build the entire footprint as they want without having to work within the confines of an existing infrastructure.

        My point is, starting from scratch within an area where the local and state government are behind it, a long term commitment and existing race fans is a great place to start.

        It’s hard to argue that Indy had any of those factors, save for the fans.

        Bottom line is where, exactly, in the US, could you build a track that has all those factors as a starting off point?

        I think Austin should be commended for going after it. And instead of being negative, im trying to hope that this works out. At minimum it has great potential.

  6. Joey-Poey said on 25th May 2010, 21:04

    If Bernie is steering away from Indianapolis trying to find the “right people,” I’m not sure what he expects to find in Texas. It’s no less a beer-and-hotdog place than Indy was.

  7. As an Austin resident and F1 fanatic since 1976 – this announcement just made my day, heck it made my week, month, and probably year too.

    A friend of mine suggested that I must have been wishing on a star, but to be honest I never in my wildest dreams expected this announcement. I would have been happy with NYC or a return to Indy (an event I loved going to.)

    I’m an ex-pat Brit who has been lucky enough to see F1 at Brands, Silverstone, and Spa as well as at Indy. I was also lucky enough to do some work around the fringes of the F1 scene in the past with McLaren and Lotus plus worked with James Allen on his biography of Mansell several years back. I thought my F1 days were restricted to watching it on SPEED and listening to the wonderful commentary of Varsha, Hobbs & Matchett. But it seems no more.

    As for Austin’s credentials? As a couple of previous posters pointed out, Austin is not stereotypical Texas. It’s a highly liberal city with a strong artistic and creative community (one of the reasons I came here) with more music, artists and writers per block than anywhere else I’ve seen. It also has a thriving movie industry and is one of the most innovative IT centers in the US. Dell is based here and most of the US video-gaming industry. The second larges Apple campus is here and Facebook and Google have just opened offices here. Yes some of us do wear cowboy boots and drive big trucks but there isn’t any tumble weed. Austin is in fact on the edge of the Texas Hill Country which has some of the best driving roads in the US.

    On the face of it Austin doesn’t have much of a car culture – but we have a small paved oval track south of town and a private road race track which is well used. Until recently we used to have a world class kart track at the airport too.

    Welcoming F1 to Austin is an awesome opportunity for both the city to show the rest of the world what it has to offer, and for F1 to win a whole new legion of supporters.

    Austin is unique, and F1 has another special place to visit on its calendar.

    Looking forward to 2012.

    • Joey-Poey said on 25th May 2010, 21:27

      Congrats and kudos on the enlightenment. As a resident of the midwest, I can understand people expecting stereotypes. Still, I’ll have to wait and see how this plays out over the years. I’ll be impressed if they keep fans coming back and I’m sure I’m gonna try and get out there to see my first Grand Prix.

      Another thing I’m curious about… if they race in Texas, surely they won’t make the same mistake as ’84 and run it in the damn summer? I’m assuming it’ll be at the start or end of the season.

      • You are right about the scheduling concern – You don’t want to be be hanging out in Austin in July and August if you aren’t used to 100 degrees F plus temps.

        Austin is just a few hours away from two of the biggest cities in the US Houston and Dallas, and San Antonio (another fast growing area) is only an hour south – it has a large potential catchment area. The city is also used to attracting people, and growing, major events like the South By Southwest media and tech show and the Austin City Limits music festival.

    • GrumpyATX'n said on 27th May 2010, 14:44

      “Spot On” Mr. Porter.. I’m a native Austinite and was stunned by the news. So points that may help those unfamiliar with Austin..

      F1 Politics aside, there are some factors that allow Austin to stand on it’s own merits.

      – Austin hosts one of the worlds largest combined music/multimedia/film festival every year. (During that same week in March we also host a major Rodeo, and two large regional sporting events). In June, we host one of the largest motorcycle rallies in the US. We are used to huge crowds descending on our city. Come, visit, have fund, spend money. JUST DON’T MOVE HERE!

      – As one article pointed out, The DFW, Houston and San Antonio population centers are less than 3 hrs by car. Many millions to draw from.

      – The State of Texas has a huge fund for such events and is providing $25million for this project and $27million for next years Super Bowl in Dallas. This wasn’t just the city, but the entire State, Governor and State Comptroller. We are coming up on a gubernatorial election so the sitting Governor is looking to build political capital with just such announcements.

      – As mentioned Austin has weathered the economic downturn very well. An article on Yahoo just yesterday noted we are the number one Real Estate market in the US. (Groan..)

      – Many celebrities “live” in Austin. By “live” I mean own a home and list it as their primary residence as to avoid state income taxes in California, New York, etc.. In fact race car legend AJ Foyt got into trouble here in Travis county because he claimed his lake house as primary residence to enjoy the “homestead exemption” on the local property taxes… The media reported that he only visited the property infrequently which would make it debatable as to whether or not he actually “resided” there…. Lots of people with lots of money have Austin on their radar.

      So in short, Austin was a hidden gem that people with money have already started to… (trying not to use ‘exploit’ here..)

      So, come.. Have fun, spend lots of money.. I’ll probably be in the stands next to you.. JUST DON”T MOVE HERE..

  8. carlos said on 25th May 2010, 21:27

    Texas??? What the heck be a formula one Billy Bob? we likeee them Nassscarr down here.
    Austin is an OK city, I just can’t picture Austin, by itself, filling up a racetrack.
    You can bring F1 to a redneck but a redneck will never go to a F1. Too much cow dung in them boots to go to a F1.

    What a hoot..

  9. Calum said on 25th May 2010, 21:34

    I’m not getting my hopes up, afterall the last time an F1 project happened in the USA it was a huge disaster. I am of course talking about the failed entry of USF1, the new national team for the Americans to back. Similarly the project got the go ahead from the F1 bosses, and similarly it was a start from scratch high risk programme. Surely if this is going to work in the Western World it will work in the USA, afterall it has the world’s best economy, but as was proven with the USF1 disaster this is not the case – they could not get the financial backing and had to fold before they got going due to a lack of sponsorship. Why should this new track be any differant, there is just a thought at the back of my mind that this isn’t going to happen. I hope I am proven wrong because if this fails it is the final mail in the coffin for F1 in the US

  10. DaveW said on 25th May 2010, 21:42

    Let’s hope that by “with Austin as the backdrop” they don’t mean, built in a dirt field 100 miles away in the middle of nowhere at the end of a two-lane highway. Texas has a lot of nowhere in which to precisely site an F1 track, so be afraid of an “Istanbul” situation.

    If it is close to Austin, it is an inspired choice. Austin hosts many large annual festivals, including in information tech and web industries, it has a major music scene. It accordingly has decent hotels and nightlife. And its becoming rapidly overrun with wealthy coastal people looking for brand new mid-century modernist houses, indepedent coffee houses, and who prefer not to run into gun-toting conservative Texans on the run down to Whole Foods in their Audis. And there is a large and highly rated university there, which keeps the cultural tone fresh. (It’s good even though it is “public,” which term is normally a mark of failure and shame in this country in any context.) This concludes my wikipedia draft on Austin, TX.

    • As someone else mentioned the promotors mentioned in the press release have some connection with Thunderhill Raceway, a small paved oval track which is located in Kyle about 20 minutes drive south of Austin. There’s a lot of undeveloped land in that area.

      I wonder…

  11. I’m hoping someone gets the idea of calling anyone but Hermann Tilke. If Tilke is called to design the circuit, we will have to pray.

    • Prisoer Monkeys said on 25th May 2010, 22:58

      *headbang* *headbang* *headbang*

      Hermann Tilke works within rules set out by th FIA. Anyone who replaced him would be bound by those same rules and would only produce a similar circuit. If you look at some of Tilke’s non-F1 designs – Motorsportsland Aragon springs to mind – you’ll see that he’s actually pretty good.

      It’s the rules, not the designer that needs changing. And if FOTA get the regulations for the cars right, they may not even need that …

      • Hair E Ball Ox said on 25th May 2010, 23:24

        PR couldn’t be more right. Unfortunately too many people are quick with a comment without fully understanding the situation, as if they have more knowledge than the people actually involved in F1.

        Im not by any menas waving a Tilke flag here but its not like he can simply design any track he wants. Obvioulsy he’s doing something right, in terms of the FIA, otherwise he wouldnt be their only designer.

        He’s asked to do a job per their reg’s and he does it. Yes, it would be nice to have other options as far as an architect is concerned, but they too would be under the same confines as Tilke.

        • Hair E Ball Ox said on 25th May 2010, 23:30

          I meant PM, obviously.

          • Electrolite said on 25th May 2010, 23:47

            Absolutely. You look at Turn 8 at Turkey and wonder how he got away with it in my eyes.

          • Prisoer Monkeys said on 26th May 2010, 2:26

            You look at Turn 8 at Turkey and wonder how he got away with it in my eyes.

            Geography, mostly. Keith posted a really great article about this time last year where Tilke explains his design process. He tries to challenge the drivers on each circuit (Turn 8 being the obvious example, but the old turns 9 and 10 at Bahrain and turns seven, eight and thirteen in Shanghai also spring to mind). The problem isn’t just the rulebook, it’s the tract of land he’s given. Sure, we’d all love to see a circuit on a piece of land that ould be described as a minature mountain range, but sometimes he’s given a flat paddock and nothing else to work with.

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th May 2010, 8:34

        I think Motorland Aragon does have a high enough grade to hold F1 races and tests, it’s just that F1 doesn’t go there…

  12. rudeDOG said on 25th May 2010, 21:44

    Yea Haw!!!

    Austin’s National Recognition
    – Known as “The Live Music Capital of the World”
    – Voted “Greenest City in America” (MSN)
    – Voted “Least Stressful Large Metro” in the United States (Forbes)
    – Voted Top Two “Best Cities” in the United States (Money Magazine)
    – Voted Top Three “Hippest Cities” in the United States (Forbes)
    – Voted Top Five “Safest Cities” in the United States (Forbes)
    – Voted Top Ten “Sports & Fitness Cities” in the USA (Sports Business Journal)

    • Hair E Ball Ox said on 25th May 2010, 23:26

      Not slagging off Austin my any means here but…..

      exactly WHAT does Forbes mag know about being ‘HIP’?

    • HopefulState said on 26th May 2010, 0:06

      Its also known for some reeeeaaaaallu bad traffic.

  13. Bartholomew said on 25th May 2010, 21:47


    The great state of Texas has a historic opportunity, and will waste it with a generic Tilkedome.
    Hire the designer of Road Atlanta, f.ex. Do something unique and American, not another generic international style Tilkedome !!!! please

  14. Charles Carroll said on 25th May 2010, 21:48

    I am really excited about this! I am an American and I am a brand new fan of F1. I just started watching it this year, recording the races when their air late at night/early in the morning on Speed TV. I never really got into NASCAR, mostly because I never felt part of the culture which surrounds it, and it has a bit of a “professional wrestling in cars” air about it. A bit contrived with manufactured drama. That, and F1 cars are incredible in terms of speed and technology. I followed Indy for a while, but when they broke apart, it was hard to know what was going on. F1 just has the history, the cars, and the best drivers, and I love it!

    I am eager to go to a race, but have not had the funds to travel overseas. It would be great to see one here, and Texas is a good location for one as well. Those folks love racing, and they will get behind this. I also hope that the US will be able to establish a team based in Austin as well.

    Thank you for this site, by the way, it has been most helpful! You guys all know so much about the sport, that it has been a pleasure to read the articles and the comments. Now all I need is an avatar like Ned’s!

  15. Uh, I’m not so sure. Going to Montreal– a great city within driving distance, but if I’m getting on a plane, I’m headed across the pond. Spa, Silverstone– not Texas. Would like to be proven wrong.

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