While the U.S. Grand Prix was originally set to take place in Austin, Texas in June of next year, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone has made the decision to move the event to November 18, 2012. While the decision has faced some criticism, organizers of the event have reportedly responded positively to the change. In fact, Tavo Hellmund, who is the chairman of the U.S. Grand Prix, the decision to push back the date is a “positive sign” that Formula One officials want the event to be an “over-the-top success.”
As Hellmund points out, Ecclestone must consider a number of different factors when setting up the calendar, including the interests of the teams and their promoters. By putting the race near the end of the schedule, Hellmund believes his track will be able to welcome a greater variety and number of people from around the world.
Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell has also responded favorably to the change. Not only will the change provided organizers with the time they need to optimize the new facility, but the Mayor praised the F1 management for respecting Austin’s air quality during the summer months. Furthermore, since November tends to be cooler than June in Austin, the Mayor feels the change will make the experience more enjoyable for fans.
Despite the many benefits the change will provide, there is one snag: officials are unsure if the Texas Major Events Trust Fund will be able to provide the planned payment of $25 million to Ecclestone by the original deadline. Reportedly, Texas law does not allow money to be paid out more than one year before an event. With the U.S. Grand Prix pushed back to November, the payment cannot be made as originally agreed. According to Wayne Hollingsworth, who is a member of the Circuit Events Local Organizing Committee board, however, it is unlikely to be a problem if the payment must be delayed.
The decision to move the U.S. Grand Prix wasn’t the only change made to the F1 calendar, which is not considered to be official until it is ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council later this year.