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Formula 1 to make US return at new Austin track in 2012

F1 News - Latest F1 News

Formula 1 will return to the United States in 2012, after a five-year absence, at a new track in Texas.

F1 chief Bernie Ecclestone has agreed a deal with race promoters Full Throttle Productions for the Texas state capital of Austin to host the race until 2021.

"For the first time in the history of F1 in the US, a world-class facility will host the event," said Ecclestone.

"This will be the first time a facility is constructed from the ground up specifically for F1 in the US."

The last US Grand Prix took place at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indiana in 2007, a race won by McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.

Its eight-year run was ended after Ecclestone failed to come to an agreement with the circuit's chiefs over new terms.

The BBC had learned that Ecclestone began talks in 2009 with representatives of Monticello Motor Club (MMC) in New York about bringing the sport back to the States.
   
However, MMC admitted that terms had not been finalised and Austin-based race promoters Full Throttle Productions have now emerged victorious in the battle to host the race at a purpose-built track.

"We are extremely honoured and proud to reach an agreement with the F1 commercial rights holder," said Tavo Hellmund, managing partner of Full Throttle Productions.

"We have been diligently working together for several years to bring this great event to Austin, the state of Texas and back to the United States."

Meanwhile, the Williams team's chief executive Adam Parr welcomed the return of F1 to the US.

"Well done, Bernie," said Parr. "He promised he'd find a great race for us in the States and this is excellent news. We are a global sport and not having a race in America has been a big hole in the calendar.

"Our partners and prospective partners will be thrilled. It's a giant step forwards."

The relationship between the US and F1 has had its ups and downs.

In 1961, Watkins Glen in upstate New York, became the venue for the US GP and it hosted the event for 20 years.

Between 1976 to 1980 the race became known as the United States Grand Prix East in order to differentiate itself from the United States Grand Prix West which was held in Long Beach, California.

Las Vegas, Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix all hosted F1 races in the intervening years, before Indianapolis, renowned for the Indy 500, became regular US hosts from 2000.

But in 2005, controversy blighted the race as a result of the Michelin tyre safety row which meant that only six cars were on the starting grid - those of Ferrari, Jordan and Minardi.

Seven teams withdrew from the race after the formation lap.

Two years later, Indianapolis lost its right to host F1 and Ecclestone was quoted as saying: "It's all the wrong crowd and the wrong people."

The F1 calendar will expand from 19 to 20 races in 2011, while three races - the Chinese, Japanese and Turkish - are not contracted for 2012.

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