Austin will be “amazing”, says Hellmund

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United States Grand Prix promoter Tavo Hellmund has promised the track being built in Austin for the 2012 race will be “amazing”.

Speaking in an interview with Bernie Ecclestone on Hellmund said:

I have conveyed my ideas to Hermann Tilke and Peter Wahl who are the most established racetrack architects of our times. The area has natural elevation differences, which promises a fast track with difficult corners.
Tavo Hellmund

Hellmund added:

But the most essential thing is that has to be a masterpiece in its suitability for fans. Spectators have to be able to see large parts of the track from wherever they are.
Tavo Hellmund

The Austin track layout will be shown to the FIA next month.

Ecclestone confirmed the race is likely to be paired with the Canadian Grand Prix as a North American double bill in 2012:

It would be logical to place it close to the race in Montreal and that would mean somewhere in June.
Bernie Ecclestone

Austin typically sees temperatures of 22-33C at that time of year.

Ecclestone added he remains open to having more than one race in America:

Let’s make one thing clear: Austin will be the US Grand Prix. But that does not mean that we cannot have another race in the US with another label. I would be insane if there were the option to race in New York and I said ‘no thanks’. But for now that’s nothing more than a pipe dream. The reality is we have a contract with Austin and it is there where the US Grand Prix will be staged.

F1 held three races in America in 1982, visiting Long Beach in California, Detroit and Las Vegas.

Read the full interview here.

Read more: The track they should build in Austin

Image (C) Austin Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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116 comments on “Austin will be “amazing”, says Hellmund”

  1. I’m still looking forward to seeing the layout on this one.

    1. I’m curious, too. I’ve read somewhere that Hellmund plans to have good bits of tracks all around the world combined into the Austin circuit. I hope Tilke doesn’t do that, since both Estoril and Magny-Cours tried that route before.

      1. In some interviews Hellmund was also quoted to have had to argue with Tilke about his ideas and tell him to listen to the contractor more, instead of just following his own ideas.

        1. The “laying the smack down” on Tilke is probably the most interesting aspect of this new circuit development.

          Clearly Tilke has gotten used to being fairly unquestioned in bringing his vision. It’s not a surprise as I imagine the sheikhs in the desert, or the Chinese or whomever aren’t really bothered if the circuit is a special racetrack – and just like to see big shiny buildings and glittering LED lights, and let Tilke get on with it.

          If someone is telling him that actually you need to put some proper effort into the circuit and not just regurgitate the same stuff, then I’m all for it.

          1. It certainly sounds good they do not let Tilke go on with it just like that.
            A Texan having some German bloke telling him what his track will look like and him just taking that? Happily that’s not going to happen, as Tavo and Red McCombs seem to have some ideas to actually get a great RACEtrack built to amuse the fans.

          2. And you can’t argue with a guy called ‘Red’.

        2. I heard Laguna Seca was designed by the contractor…

      2. Lustigson, I doubt they’ll go down the cut-and-paste Greatest Hits version. Some of the corners may be inspired by what we see elsewhere, but there’s no reason to simply plagiarise other circuits.

      3. Just give us EauRouge, Turn 8 and the Corkscrew all in the one circuit :D

        1. You are forgetting 130R at Suzuka.

          1. OK guys….I’ll buy all four of those corners/turns plus something similar to the best bits of Silverstone….

            Mmmmmmmmm……just dreaming !

            Does anyone really believe Tilke is capable of providing something really ballsy ?

    2. im not american and to be honest im very cautious with american promises but i think this “Tavo Hellmund” (sounds finish) is going to present us with the best layout for this spec f1 cars i think they will do something similar to silverstone but they are going to be able to pull it off what silverstone wasnt succesfull cause when we see the layout of the new silverstone we see great chances of overtaking but maybe the angles of the corners werent just right to let f1 drivers make great overtakes anyway the new silverstone was an sucess for me

      1. UneedAFinn2Win
        11th August 2010, 12:21

        No-one named Tavo or Hellmund up here, Tavo is short for Gustavo (Italian origin) and Hellmund german for lightmouth (or “fair talker”)

        1. ok UneedAFinn2Win maybe you are finnish and as a finnish you probably you know the geographical ethnical proximity of Deutschland and Suomi

          1. “Geographical ethnical proximity”? There is no such thing. Tavo does indeed exist as a Finnish name, but Tavo Hellmund is of German-Mexican-American origin or somesuch, his father’s name was Gustavo Hellmund (which is also his name) and he was Mexican, doing something racing related in Mexico I think.

      2. “Tavo Hellmund” as UneedAFinn2Win said is not a Finnish name. I think you are confusing Tero as in the famous Finnish javelin thrower Tero Pitkämäki. Anyhow I do hope the track is excellent and as long as the race is in the summer I am going.

    3. As long as tilke is building it we know roughly what it will be like…which means it will be dull…or dull with the odd flash of brilliance…just not another bahrain please. I want difficult high speed corners, long straights for overtaking and sharp hairpins at the other end…maybe some off camber slow corners to really work the tyres…

      1. “long straights for overtaking and sharp hairpins at the other end”

        WHAT??? That’s what we have at EVERY single Tilkedrom. I hate it.

        1. i’m looking forward to a shortish lap that will demand a low downforce set up but with some twisty bit near the end of the lap (like old hockenheim but with less chichanes).

          a short lap means more overtaking opportunities (assuming there are some; monaco is not a good example!)

  2. Only the track at Suzuka is in a figure of eight configuration. We could use another of those.

    1. Although it is quite interesting, a figure of 8 track doesn’t really have any impact on racing or the spectacle.

      1. Figure-of-8 tracks have a few potential benefits:
        – it’s simpler to have equal numbers of right- and left-hand corners
        – you naturally get a bridge or tunnel, which is good for TV
        – you can fit in a longer straight, if you choose, without necessarily being forced to have a Fuji/Shanghai-style flat line along one edge and then curves on the other side.
        – the whole set-up can be more compact making it easier for fans to see larger sections.

        Of course, this all depends on the design – and there may be safety problems over a bridge or tunnel section, especially in the light of recent aerial accidents!

        I don’t think they’ll do a figure-of-8 – but Hellmund is at least making good noises. Red Bull won’t mind if they do a one with fast twisty corners!

        1. “you naturally get a bridge or tunnel, which is good for TV”

          I disagree with that !
          At the point where the track is supposed to cross itself, we could have a round-about ! Wouldn’t that be fun ??? Yeah !!!

          Sorry, this is my kind of humour, I laughed alone 5 long minutes, sitting at my computer, before writing that stuff…

          1. Matt G (lotus fan)
            13th August 2010, 18:15

            Glad I’m not the only one but I was thinking more along the lines of the scalextrics type figure of 8. Just put the throttle down and pray. Of course with this type of design F1 driver will become an endangered species.

  3. They said Abu Dhabi was going to be amazing.

    1. They did. I remain sceptical

    2. … amazingly boring

      1. But… But… The hotel has a hair net that changes colours!!! That’s amazing… right??? :)

        1. well exactly. makes the race. after all, we dont watch it for the cars do we! Its what I have always felt is lacking at some of the greats..monaco, spa, monza, silverstone, suzuka, I have always thought – why dont they put some silly veil of coloured lights over the top! brilliant!

          1. But it works for Singapure!. Maybe they can get the lights over Bahrain, China and Valencia as well, just to make it look nicer? Or just change the tracks to make for better racing, but that’s more complicated

          2. Great thinking. All the tracks should have colour-changing hair net hotels, then the poor Abu Dhabians have a track just like everyone else’s. Is anyone thinking about THEM?

          3. The only thing that makes monaco decent even is the history. Tell me, when is the last time you have seen an exciting race there?

          4. @ Nitpicker, that comment made my day !

    3. Well what were they going to say? “Abu Dhabi: The world’s most generic race track.”

      1. Hey, it has a pit lane that crosses under the track! It’s not generic! =P

  4. I would think that as he said spectators can see large parts of the track from wherever, the track will be in a natural bowl like Hungaroring, but I would expect the track to resemble Monza and Silverstone, very fast, many straights and high G corners, a couple of ols school chicanes to break it all up

    1. but I would expect the track to resemble Monza and Silverstone, very fast, many straights and high G corners, a couple of ols school chicanes to break it all up

      Not gonna happen. FIA and Tilke will see to that.

      1. It’s in the middle of open scrubby farmland so they can put in as much runoff as necessary

        1. You mean thrice as much runoff as necessary?

  5. Why do I have a very bad feeling that Tavo Hellmund is going to be the Simon Gillett of 2011? We’re getting a load of talk of how great the circuit and event will be, but few concrete details. This will be another one of those things which I’ll believe when I see…

    1. The only reason why we haven’t seen a circuit layout is because it has to be presented to the FIA first. And the FIA have scheduled that meeting for September. In the meantime, Hellmund needs to talk it up a little to keep interest going until such time as further developments can be made. Apparently Hermann Tilke is bringing his senior people into Austin this week, and is about to open an office in downtown Austin.

    2. Yer I’m slightly worried by how much they’re blowing their own trumpet. They would be far better keeping quiet and letting us all think it’ll be a boring tilke-drome then surprising us, rather than building expectations so high now they need to build a new Suzuka to match their own hype.

      1. That’s not entirely conducive to getting investors excited though.

        I understand this all sounds like Simon Gillett again, hopefully it’s just coincidental. Donno Park is still a useless mess.

        It raises an interesting point about new tracks though — we rarely get to hear from individuals involved. Quotes and press releases usually come from this organisation or that local motorsport body. With Tavo Hellmund we have a face at the forefront of the discussions, even if Gillett set an unfortunate precident.

  6. Another annoying overused word…

  7. Yea – I hear you, Bernie – NYC would be pretty awesome. No offense, Austin!

    1. NYC? Another tight street circuit that requires braking every two seconds? No thanks! They should take F1 back to the Glen ;-;

  8. Silverstone and Monza are simple circuits, Hermann Tilke will never do simple low downforce tracks. The track could end up like Hungaroring (which was also done by him).

    1. No it wasn’t. Where have you heard that?

      1. Maybe CLK misread Tilke’s involvement in the main straight lengthening and the back straight…. lengthening

    2. Tilke’s first circuit work was the A1-Ring. His first full circuit design was Sepang.

      1. Tilke always chooses the most beautiful and scenic tracks to rebuild. He has two methods: the first is to design the track after drinking a substance he calls tabipappa, a cocktail of unknown ingredients handmade by his mother; the second is to let a child scribble on a sheet of paper, then join the lines. The paper is a suitable method since none of Tilke’s tracks contain any gradient, so a sheet of paper is an accurate draft of the planned track. He once tried to introduce gradients by folding the paper, but Gravity told him not to, or he’d crush his lovely pit building.

        Then he submits the draft to drivers, engineers and public: if at least 70% of respondents begins to manifest gastrointestinal problems, the project is approved. Then he can finally build the track.

        1. Yeah, that’s not how it’s done at all.

          1. PM, its called sarcasm and wit!

          2. Wow, you completely forgot your joke radar this morning? :)

        2. I really wish this was Tilke and how he made the circuits

        3. You owe my workplace one keyboard if I can’t get the coffee off. Or you need to put “Warning, hilarious” at the top so people swallow their beverages.

        4. To be fair to you grace, that was hilarious. :D

  9. They should take a look at Road Atlanta or Mugello for some nice elevation changes.
    I think it is a good idea to replicate some existing parts of historic tracks, specially those tracks that used to be public roads – the angles and radiouses of turns are more “unequal” and varied.

    I also think there should be a North American Tour consisting of a few races.

    1. There’s already a North American Tour.

      IRL, I think it’s called. ;)

      1. I thought the IRL was a World Series of some sort? :D

  10. How can it be amazing if being done by Tilke? Amazingly boring more like.

  11. I hope this all goes well for a US Grand Prix. But, beware americans – especially texans – won’t tolerate a Hockenheim. They will call it a joke and won’t come to another race. They won’t care how good the track is or whose racing. The sports media will kill formula one in this country forever.

    1. …wasn’t Hockeheim the closest to a flatout speedway Indycar oval that F1’s ever had?

      I assume you mean the fact that the cars are out of sight for 90% of the lap but I don’t think there’s a shrub within a mile of the location let alone a forest.

      1. I suspect they meant the ‘fixed race’ this year, rather than the great old circuit. :D

        Interesting point though – I wonder how Hellmund will get around the spectre of THAT race at Indianapolis…

        1. With a single tyre supplier hopefully we won’t see another Indy 2005 debacle. I can’t help thinking certain people needed their heads banging together over that and told to get racing…

      2. I think he’s talking about the new Hockenheim.

      3. I believe tharris is talking about the farce that was this year’s German Grand Prix, not the track itself…

    2. You really think Americans are going to “get” F1 anyways? We tend to just get plastered while tailgating, just be rowdy, and hope for crashes.

      I recall working the gates at Charlotte Motor Speedway in secondary school and had to inspect coolers for glass. Most of the rednecks coming out had coolers filled to the brim with beer. If they were engineers, they would be optimization experts….

      1. I agree, I also don’t believe F1 know how to market in the US. Racing in the US is mano vs mano. They don’t complicate a race with what’s good for the team, they come to drink beer and cheer for there favorite driver, car and a good race. Team means nothing to them, as a matter of fact, team means nothing to the drivers on race day.
        Case in point: Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon are on the same team and Jeff owns Jimmie’s car but they fight like cats and dogs on the track. Behavior you won’t see in F1, but is expected in NASCAR.

    3. I’m sorry, I went off point, I was referring to the Ferrari team orders incident.

      1. I like the way that’s like in NASCAR better than in F1, though! Maybe if they would abolish the Constructor’s Championship, we would see action like that more in F1, and no more incidents like in Germany…

        …Oooooh, I went there!

  12. Charles Carroll
    11th August 2010, 14:37

    We Americans typically prefer to see the cars as much as possible during the race, which is why oval tracks are so popular here. Ovals also provide more opportunities for overtaking, risky racing, and dramatic wrecks.

    While we are all aware that this will not be an oval, something closely resembling an oval would be nice. Heck, I’ll just go ahead and say that I think it would be awesome if it WAS an oval!

    If Formula One is the pinnacle of racing, and I think it is, then why not have an oval race in the mix in the land of oval tracks? Yes, the cars would have to be modified for the circuit, but so what? Could be expensive or dangerous?

    Since when do F1 teams or fans care about expenses or danger?

    Make it an oval track!

    1. Part of the track could be oval, maybe a long sweeping banking curve set against the side of a mound ???
      Could this be turned into an overtaking area ?

    2. Its Hammer time
      11th August 2010, 15:41

      I’m from england and don’t watch oval racing. I would watch an f1 race on an oval track though. That sounds like a unique event.

      Trouble is, you Americans already have one particular oval among many fabulous, historic, modern, safe circuits called Indianapolis that F1 won’t race on again because of politics. I expect Austin to be dull…and therefore only temporarily on the calendar as once the fans fail to show and Bernard cranks the price up, the state won’t continue to fund it…if it ever goes ahead at all. Remember how enthusiac Simon Gillett/ Donnington were when they needed cash…:-(

    3. Meh… as an American, if it’s going to be an oval, I want to see it on a unique oval. Namely: Indianapolis. Even ovals here are starting to become the same cookie-cutter formula. Either it’s the D shape or a triangle.

      I admit it would be a unique experience to see at least one oval on the calendar, but I wouldn’t want the only American round to be that. We already have enough of a reputation for being all about them. Even here amongst ourselves! I can’t tell you how many people have whined at me that NASCAR is boring because all they do is make left turns and go around in a circle 200 times. I have to explain not all racing is oval racing.

    4. I think F1 would be a fascinating spectacle on an oval. I’m sure the racing would be different to the typical NASCAR and Indy races, but as things stand right now, nobody would get near the Red Bulls. And I can understand the American fans wanting a road course instead of another oval.

      1. Here you go! Oval and figure of eight all in one!

    5. Remember, there is no wet racing in oval tracks. Just drop the idea.

  13. Suzie, before you hand out the money make sure that a good part of it is going to be spend on earthmoving, so that the track has some nice flowing changes in altitude like Road Atlanta, instead of the money being spent on fancy infrastructures ( like in China ).

    Pretentious infrastructures looks very “Chinese GP with a government that wants to show off”. Thats where Tilke makes his commissions, on fancy infrastructures.

    If the money is spent on the track itself, it will be much better for the long term success of the race and the prestige of the State of Texas.
    Cheers !

    1. I think Tavo mentions that there are lots of elevation changes in the terrain already.

  14. Hoo boy… if they really have this thing in June, you’re going to have some very VERY dehydrated drivers. Texas heat is no joke. But, who knows? Maybe that’ll be one of the staple elements of the race: that it’s a race of attrition and endurance.

    1. Maybe instead of making it the “fastest F1 track” or something, they go for making it the hottest race of the calender?
      It does sound a bit unlikely (remember Dallas).
      Or are they planning on putting water sprayers all around the track to cool fans (and maybe have an exiting wet part of the track just to cool the cars and drivers?)

      1. I’ve watched what happened in Dallas and I can’t believe Bernie doesn’t remember. I’m surprised that alone hasn’t made them realize it might be wiser to tie it in later in the season, like with Brazil.

        Still, if they’re hell bent on June, I have to admit I’m eager to see who can take the heat and who gets out of the proverbial kitchen.

      2. Maybe billed as F1’s most difficult race, or most gruelling? Sounds like a good angle to me!

        1. I think they’ll have to go some to beat the heat and humidity of Sepang…

  15. Its Hammer time
    11th August 2010, 15:29

    The track design could be sorted very quickly.

    Simply take a blueprint of Road America, Road Adlanta or Laguna Seca and build that…with new media area and rich monkey tent facilities. Job done.

    1. It would be glorious to see F1 cars on Road Atlanta. The FIA would never allow that final corner, though. So fast and the wall is RIGHT there. I’ve been punished by it many a time in Forza 2

      1. @ Joey-Poey

        After you top the hill you lose the track for a moment,your suspension tops out,you start the fast decent down the hill and then Whoa!…turn fast or hit the wall.I was behind guy on track day that didn’t make that turn…put his Mini Cooper into the wall.

        1. And Turn One, negative C and all, never bothered you? I never failed to stir up the red dust at that one.

  16. It would be amazing if F1 could use an 8-track for the greatest race in Austin. F1 cars on Road Atlanta would be very interesting. I know I love seeing them in Texas!

    1. agreed Marisa! Texas is the best location

  17. Why not just improve Road America to an F1 standard?
    It is a fast circuit, with good quick corners and some straights. The most important thing is – it is absolutely not a Tilkoid track

    1. Road America is in the middle of nowhere. I literally mean that, there isn’t an interstate near the circuit.

    2. “it is absolutely not a Tilkoid track”

      That’s why it won’t happen.

  18. This track is going to be amazing!Tavo is the best!

  19. I think Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Barcelona were all supposed to be ‘Amazing’ races. Maybe they should use an ‘Amazing’ new designer and get rid of the fabulous Tilke.

    1. And Valencia and Hungary.. forgot those two Tilke classics.

    2. Silverstone managed to find a designer that wasn’t Tilke, so it’s not beyond the realms of possibility. And the Arena layout didn’t turn out bad.

      1. Barcelona and Hungary werent made by Tilke

  20. there’s some misconceptions here:

    “tilke sucks and makes boring tracks”
    tilke’s company is among the finest in the world at what they do. it’s the fia’s safety rules that make for tracks that lack character and action.

    “americans only like ovals”
    ovals, and nascar, are very polarizing. just as many that like them, can’t stand them.

    “they should just renovate an existing american track”
    name an american road course. i can tell you it doesn’t comply with the fia regulations, it’s only 2 – 2.5 miles long, it’s very narrow, the infrastructure is old and inadequate in every way, and it takes a month of sundays to get there.

    1. THANK YOU!!! I wish people would gather more information before posting uninformed comments.

  21. They had a track layout for Donington. They had the 17(?) year deal all sewn up. They even started to renovate the track.

    We all know what happened after….

    Call me cynical or whatever but on Austin, I’ll believe it when I see it.

  22. How can they expect that track to be ‘amazing’ when they have Hermann Tilke with them. All the best wishes to the team.

  23. Just to get everybody salivating, here is a video I found from a few years back.

    It’s a Toyota F1 car setting the lap record at Lacuna Seca.

    Imagine them around that track while fighting for the lead.

    1. I think its a detuned Toyota if im corect, with Zonta keeping it easy.

  24. Fighting for the lead? In F1? I think we only saw three passes for lead in 2010. Alonso on Vettel in Bahrain, Vettel on Webber in Istanbul and Alonso on Massa. Only one was a fight.

    1. Are you serious???????

      Off the top of my head I can renember 2 more which were fights: Button on Kubica in australia, and that awesome fight in montreal

      1. To add to that Tom, Button on Rosberg in China. Lets not forget that Vettel’s pass on Webber in Istanbul resulted in a crash so that can’t be taken into account. But at that race we had Button pass Hamilton and then Hamilton pass Button. And having checked the stats, according to the ever reliable, there have been 5 on track (not including off the start line) passes for 1st (they refused to count Alonso’s pass on Massa in protest). Interestingly enough, there have been 30 overtakes each for 16th and 18th making them the most fought out on the grid. But I digress, the point is that there is fighting from the 1st to last in F1, and don’t let anyone tel you otherwise.

        1. Matt G (lotus fan)
          13th August 2010, 18:27

          I think if you are watching F1 to only see fights for the lead you are doing it wrong.

  25. Whatever they do with the circuit, Bernie should let his huge ego deflate and allow for the IRL/Indy krap to race the same weekend. Bruno Senna would feel better knowing that he is lapping the circuit 8 seconds faster than Franchitti in his “Indy” hardware. It is time for Penske to pull the plug in that series. Junk.

    1. Do you have any idea what you’re talking about? If the equipment was equal, don’t you think it’d be a different story?

  26. I just hope they make a track where there is a piece of tarmac call “track surface” that winds itself through a piece of land covered by grass.

    Recently, they seem to have completely trashed this idea and just paved a huge parking lot and then paint white lines and position curbs here and there to indicate a “recommended” trajectory around the parking.

  27. The latest input from Austin… The proposed track site sits on high pressure gas lines. Any ideas on how deep they will have to dig to do the track?

  28. It’s actually one high pressure natural gas line and one liquid product line. They will both be relocated away from construction.

  29. Why Austin? Because its the capital city, Houston would have been better. Austin aint all that. I grad. high school in Houston, and grad. College from Texas Tech. Im just trying to keep an objective perspective. Aint knockin Austin, but I smell egos behind this one. Houston set the standard for firsts in Texas, first with all the oil $$$, first loop aroun d the city, first galleria, astrodome, the people in Houston are more down to earth, Anyway, at least it aint in indiana, I hope the races are fun for everybody, F1 is the elite of motorsports, Just wait, I have been to the Austrailian grand prix and its a “whole nother world y’all” the races themselves aren’t very long, couple hours, depending on track distance and how they drive it, but when those cars go by you when your on a straight, boy, is this bringing back mems. The F1 races are kick ass, and the BABE’S, boy howdy, just look at the guest list, Ferrari, Mclaren, BMW, Mercedes, Renault, man I hope i can go again. If y’all get a chance to go, go pay the $ its worth every dime.

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