FIA official visits United States Grand Prix site 02 Nov 2010
Race organisers for the forthcoming United States Grand Prix have revealed Nick Craw, president of the FIAs senate, has made an official visit to the track site in Austin, Texas to review plans and the developments progress. The purpose-built circuit will stage the US event from 2012, when Formula One racing returns to the country for the first time in five years.
Craw, who is also the president of the Automobile Competition Committee for the United States, toured the 900-acre site, met with Formula 1 United States team members as well as local, city and state officials.
"It will be great," he said. "This has some of the most interesting, exciting and different features, drawn from other successful venues around the world. It is a very strong team theyve assembled here. I think its a very good plan and a very solid business model. Theyve set the bar pretty high.
Craws visit to Austin also included meetings with Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Travis County Judge Samuel T. Biscoe, and Peter Wahl, the managing partner of the tracks design company, Tilke GmbH.
We were pleased to have Mr. Craw and Tim Mayer, alternate FIA delegate, visit the facility site and meet the incredible team assembled to build and operate what we believe will be one of the premiere racetracks on the circuit and a world-class venue, said Tavo Hellmund, chairman of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. Our team is committed to building more than a race track, we are thinking far beyond the expected and are developing an environment that will provide an entertainment experience for both participants and spectators alike.
Wahl added: The track design has been developed with the drivers and spectators in mind. The drivers want to have high-speed corners; thats what they like. We want to force them to faults and errors; otherwise, the race is not interesting for the spectator. When we design a racing experience, we must consider both points of view to have a truly successfulevent.
The surrounding landscape of the 3.4-mile circuit allows for maximum elevation changes and a combination of more than 20 turns. The tracks master plan also features additional visitor attractions including a proposed driving/riding experience and seminar building, motorsports driving club, kart track and welcome centre.
According to recent reports, the FIA will consider a proposal in November to return to the former requirement that new Grand Prix facilities pass inspection at least 90 days before a race. It probably protects everybodys interest a little better than running right up against the event, explained Craw. If the U.S. Grand Prix didnt want that rule, I will lobby against it.
Wahl, meanwhile, stated in an interview last week that he wouldn't be a fan of a 90-day rule. "We always get a time frame that is very short these days," he said. "If the (US) race was held in May or April, that would give only one year for construction.
Hellmund was equally unconvinced a return to the 90-day rule would be necessary.
While we would love to have the luxury of having a completed track 90 days in advance of the event date - the schedule, much like the construction schedule for the last five Grand Prix track developments and races added to the schedule, will potentially not afford us this opportunity, he said. All of these events have been successful in their own right and it wouldnt make sense to invoke a 90-day mandate now, that would affect only one track in the world - ours.
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For more information, visit www.formula1unitedstates.com.