Ecclestone says Austin race will be dropped

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In the round-up: Bernie Ecclestone says the 2012 United States Grand Prix will not go ahead.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

US Grand Prix on verge of being axed claims Bernie Ecclestone (The Independent)

“Asked if the United States Grand Prix was in danger of being dropped ahead of the final World Motor Sport Council meeting in New Delhi on December 7 when the 2012 calendar is officially ratified, Ecclestone said: ‘Yes, it will be, for sure, 100%.'”

Combs promised Ecclestone full payment a year before first Austin race (Adam Cooper)

“Not only did that payment not come through by July 31 – which presumably played a big part in creating the current crisis – [Texas state comptroller Susan] Combs now says that no payment can be made until after the event has taken place.”

Alexander Wurz via Twitter

“Texas politicians please consider: a Grand Prix doesn’t cost taxpayer $25 million, as country collects Tax/VAT revenue during Grand Prix! Possibly will break even. On top, one should value PR return for Texas/Austin! but even without, big events hosted over a few years are good for the tax man! For sure.”

In-house Mercedes battle turns nasty (BBC)

“According to team insiders, the [Jock] Clear-[Michael] Schumacher-[Peter] Bonnington partnership has become an incredibly tight unit, a team within a team, determined to beat the car on the other side of the garage.”

Just not there (Grand Prix)

“Given that Hermann Tilke had a clean sheet of paper with a fairly healthy figure on the bottom line, it seems a waste of space in every sense to have come up with so many slow and medium speed corners and just the one mildly elevated section. That said, the television cameras do not capture the challenge of putting together a perfect lap on a track that makes substantial physical demands on the drivers.”

Whilton Mill kart circuit via Twitter

“Wow we have Vitaly Petrov testing on circuit this morning! That’s an unexpected surprise.”

Charouz completes superlicence run (Autosport)

“The aim of the test was to get enough miles for the superlicence and we accomplished that.”

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Comment of the day

So if a tyre failure did not cause Vettel’s retirement in Abu Dhabi, what did? Here’s a theory from Coefficient:

Red Bull tend to need to under pressure their tyres before a race because they produce so much downforce.

The massive downforce leads to higher tyre temps and of course higher tyre pressures as the temp expands the gases in the tyres. The higher the tyre pressure, the less grip because you are presenting less compliant rubber to the track surface. Less grip means graining/high deg due to sliding.

In this instance, after sitting on the grid the tyres were cold and under pressured so when the lateral load built up as he entered the quick left hander the tyre deformed abnormally and simply peeled off the rim which is why we see the tyre move inboard as the car slides laterally away from the apex.

Its no surprise to see [Adrian] Newey going too far on certain aspects of car set up.

From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Mujahid Rahman!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Five years ago today Adam Parr became CEO of Williams.

Author information

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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128 comments on “Ecclestone says Austin race will be dropped”

  1. “In August, Jock Clear returned from a factory-based role to become Schumacher’s performance engineer alongside race engineer Peter Bonnington, who replaced Mark Slade. Since then, the 42-year-old’s form has steadily improved.”

    I don’t see what the fuss about this is. Surely this partnership is working much better for Schumacher as is evident from his results. And as one of two drivers, they’ll obviously want to finish ahead of Nico. Why is this ‘nasty’ or such a bad thing if all that’s happening is Schumacher doing well? I’m sure Nico and his engineers are doing exactly the same thing, as any other decent driver/engineering pairing on the grid. As I said, really don’t see the fuss about this.

    1. @Electrolite

      Why is this ‘nasty’ or such a bad thing

      Who’s saying it is?

      1. The title and tone of the article obviously harkens back to times where Schumacher has been a clear favourite in his team. And now he’s finally found a tight relationship in his team the media have been quick to jump on this.

        1. I seen it as a decent article but a sensationalist heading that makes out something really bad is happening when it is just the more or less normal run of things in a team

          1. In reflection, my rant was mainly aimed at that sensationalism if I’m being honest. But it would annoy me if fans would start believing this and therefore put Schumacher’s return to form purely down to this alleged ‘favouritism’.

          2. Sadly these sensationalist sub-edited headlines are standard fare everywhere now: the article immediately reclassifies ‘nasty feud’ as ‘fascinating struggle’ – which it is, or would be more if Mercedes were nearer to challenging for podium results. I don’t get the point of misleading headlines, they just erode respect for media outlets like the BBC that otherwise often have decent journalists working for them.

      2. The BBC, whose headline says “In-house Mercedes battle turns nasty”.

      3. Keith, Mark hughes who wrote the story says it is nasty. I don’t even read his articles anymore they’re all nonsense

    2. As a background, Jock Clear used to be Jacques Villeneuve’s race engineer. If you told me after Jerez 1997 that not only would Clear and Schumacher wind up working together, but also be very tight and close to each other, I would’ve laughed you off.

      And then I read this.

      1. My thoughts exactly. F1 does make for some very strange bedfellows.

        1. Hmmm…I have mixed thoughts on this…on the one hand I didn’t know until DC pointed it out during the last race, that NR was not at all pleased with the team ‘arranging’ things so that MS stayed ahead of him through pit timing to pip him by one spot in India. So in that sense I guess things can be ‘nasty’ on the team.

          But on the other hand I am glad to hear there is actual competition on the team, something MS has been sheltered from for most of his career up until last year.

          So it would not surprise me if Brawn is trying to strengthen MS’s side of the garage to help him out, but at the same time we saw NR very much hold his own against MS in the last race…stamped his authority as the guy with more points on the team and wanting it to remain that way.

          So far it seems to me like fair game on the team, healthy competition, but I’m just not convinced, not given the history of MS on his teams, that NR will continue to have the same opportunities to compete next year. Just saying I wouldn’t want to see MS get a bit better vs. NR such that they then ensure at every race that MS comes out ahead through pitting strategy and little incentive or power for NR’s side of the garage to reciprocate if the ‘team’ doesn’t want it to be so. Just saying there has been a precedent for that in the past with MS, and given that he will be starting his last year on his contract and maybe for his career, RB might not want to see his friend embarassed by losing out a third year in a row, possibly ending his career. If MS does much better, perhaps RB can pursuade him to stay in F1 longer, if that is beneficial to all parties involved. So it might depend to what degree the team is willing to help MS finally outdo NR.

  2. The Austin track looked like it would be a proper race track, and despite the fact it is a “greatest hits” with some of the corners inspired from other racetracks, it didn’t bother me. It looked to have so really nice elevation changes and nice corners. I was looking forward to driving the track on F1 2012.

    This news about the Austin race is *hugely* disappointing, though Bernie has his New Jersey race now so I doubt he’s bothered.

    1. Thank goodness for New Jersey, eh? Not only does that have more political support (NJ Gov. Christie was at the press launch), it seems to have a very good track layout too.

      As for Austin, it looks like we may still see Turkey back on the calendar after all…

      1. I don’t believe they will bring Turkey back in place of the US round.

        1. Not directly, as Austin’s date was after the European season. If they were to bring it back, we might see some other events reshuffled too.

          1. NJ looks as dull as dish water, I want to see F1 cars around the Austin track.

      2. Still ample time for that one to go bad too, eh @journeyer!

    2. It looked to have so really nice elevation changes and nice corners.

      Turn 1 in particular. I was really looking forward to seeing 24 cars up that hill and into the blind hairpin with full tanks of fuel on lap 1. Oh well.

      1. Not so fast, @us_peter – Bernie has not said that Austin will be dropped; he has said that Austin will be dropped if they do not get their act together. They have three weeks to come to some kind of arrangement.

        Besides, how many times have we seen Bernie do this in the past? He strings up an axe over the neck of the circuit owners/organisers like some elaborate death trap in a James Bond film, and the condemned always survive. He dropped Silverstone, awarded the contract to Donington, and when Donington went bust and there was a danger of the British Grand Prix being dropped, Silverstone recanted and did everything Bernie asked of them (mostly upgrading their pit facilities). Sepang was in danger of being dropped a few years ago, but they got a new contract when they promised to resurface the circuit.

        Austin has until the WMSC meeting on December 7 to sort themselves out. Both the circuit owners and the promoters want the same thing; they just have different ideas on how to go about it. Bernie cancelled the contract with the promoter, and he hasn’t given one to the owners when they asked. He’s obviously trying to get them to sing from the same songsheet.

        The comptroller is a separate problem, but as Adam Cooper has posted, she did a backflip without warning or explanation. Maybe she doesn’t want to dispense the funds until the dispute is resolved, but whatever the case, all the promoters and owners can do is sort out their differences and maybe take Combs to court.

        This is by no means over. Not by a long shot.

        1. But Bernie’s enthusiasm for Austin has obviously dropped now that he has his NY race.

          Keeping in mind he is the ring leader of this circus means that things are not looking good.

          The Silverstone is also a bad example of his axe hanging because I don’t think it’s the result he wanted.

        2. Bernie cancelled the contract with the promoter, and he hasn’t given one to the owners when they asked. He’s obviously trying to get them to sing from the same songsheet.

          If the Autoweek article is correct, he’s already hosted a meeting, at which it became apparent that a deal would not be struck, hence all the comments he’s made in the past couple of weeks. I realize his quote about it being 100% not happening may have been taken out of context by some, but the exact context in which it was made isn’t entirely clear either. My understanding is that in order for it to be salvaged, Bobby Epstien is going to have to come up with the funds to qualify for the line of credit that Bernie requires for the race hosting fee, for whatever deal Bernie is now offering, which may be different than the deal that was offered to Tavo Hellmund, especially now that he has the NYCGP he’s always wanted. If Epstien had those funds or could raise them, it seems unlikely that It would’ve gotten to this point already. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love for it to happen, but I think the odds are pretty slim.

          1. As discussed earlier @us-peter, but I agree with @prisoner-monkeys here, that this is probably not the final word on the matter. When has Bernie ever gone public with something when it was not targetted at getting some people under pressure to reconsider their positions?

            It does not look good and it might well mean the end of the Austin GP, but its not definitive yet, despite some of the headlines.

            If Epstein & Co. could find about 200-300 million for investment in the track, I find it a bit strange they cannot find those 25 million to secure the investment already made now. Although Bernie is likely pushing for more than that amount now.

          2. @bascb – I’m pretty sure that $25 million was not set aside for construction of the circuit. Rather, it was reserved for the event sanctioning fee. The money is there to complete the circuit – the circuit owners just want some sign that it’s worth building the circuit.

          3. I agree on that @prisoner-monkeys, but the 25 millison USD (or whatever amount of money Bernie now demands upfront) have to be found shortly to send to FOM, as Combs made it clear that Texas will now not come up with it.

          4. The Adam Cooper article makes it pretty clear that Combs recanted for no apparent reason. It could be that the money is not available to the race in the absence of a contract, in which case, the organisers and owners sorting out their differences and finding a resolution with FOM should be enough to guarantee the funds become available. If not, there is probably a legal case. And failing all that, the money could possibly come from the funds set aside for construction, and can be reclaimed from another source once it has been paid to FOM.

    3. As a US fan, as a Texan, I am very disappointed about this news.

      I hope that Bernie is just playing his usual games and some deal will still be struck. But if he cancels this race I may never forgive him. I’m all for a race in New Jersey, but Austin is within driving distance for me!

      If the deal is canceled I’d love to see them complete the circuit anyway. After all, V8 Supercars and MotoGP are due to race there too! Does anyone have any knowledge of those contract details yet?

      And, it would make a great venue to highlight the new generation of safer, faster Indycars that will debut next season!

      1. The thing is that old Bernie thinks “everybody wants to host an F1 GP” despite the price. But he’s plain wrong. You cannot go to the US and tell people 25 mil “ain’t ****”.
        You’re asking them to pay tax payers money and trust your forecasting model that tells you that your money will be back trough VAT and other taxes in the GP weekend. Then, Texas authorities look back to recent F1’a story in the US and they see a different picture, maybe it’s about the price one call fair other says “hell no!”. The fact is Bernie is too arrogant (at least sounds) to negotiate with.
        My late grandfather was use to say, “old people never make bad calls”…I think Bernie thinks the same way.

        How much does a Super Bowl host city pays to host the match? I think that not so global sport makes more money than F1… something in F1 economics must be solved or all we will have in the near future is F1 in Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and so on. After Turkey, now we hear that China and Korea are not happy with fees either…

        1. With all due respect though events don’t come much more major than a formula one grandprix so what is she saving that money for?? she said the money would come from the “major events fund” I have never heard of a single annual event in texas.

          Yes im english but that should prove the point i knew something was going to happen in texas next year something good. Now i go back to knowing nothing at all about the state except that your comptroller is probably going to have a new yaught next year whilst you guys don’t have a race.

          1. Super Bowl and NBA All Star Weekend are major events in America, both have been held in Texas (Dallas).

          2. You might want to try Texas high school football let alone college football. Both get larger numbers than most F1 Grand Prix.

          3. I doubt your high school football teams get at a minimum 5 million viewers in the uk alone. I also doubt they cost 25 million to host.

            The super bowl and nba all star weekend fair enough i know they’re massive in america but are they both being hosted in texas next year? If not their mention is kind of irrelivant because your state wont be setting aside large sums of money for them.

            You should understand as well when i say f1 is a big event i’m talking about global viewing figures. Regardless of how many americans watch or attend 10’s of millions of people around the world will or would if it happened.

    4. Bernie has been pivotal to F1’s days recent success but lately, he’s doing more harm than good to the sport. He asks too much money from race organizers and is taking the sport to areas where passion (and democracy) is (are) scarce.

      It’s about time Bernie figures out a way to help teams and race organizers make some money and stop acting like FOM is the vehicle to buy his daughters out-sized mansions!

    5. Pretty sure if new jersey had not come along this wouldn’t have happened cos bernie would want a race in america. Now he has new jersey he’s decided he doesn’t need to put up with this imbecile combs woman. I think it’s sad their plans for the austin grand prix looked great.

    6. In 2012, the race is done!

  3. Talking about Vitaly Petrov, this is good. Petrov Criticizes His Renault Team On Russian TV

    1. Wow!!

      “Unfortunately, I can’t say anything bad about the team, it is written down in my contract. But you could read a lot of that in the press. People said that the team criticizes its drivers. Hey, read my interviews, I don’t criticize a team that lost many times. How much have we lost on pit stops? How much have we lost on tactics? In my opinion, if you ask any fan this question, he will say in a particular situation: of course, you had to change the soft tires early in the race.

      1. That won’t endear him to the team. He’s better off washing his dirty laundry in private.

        He brings good money, yes, but if he doesn’t do well enough next year (and someone is willing to pay more), they can easily drop him.

        1. That won’t endear him to the team. He’s better off washing his dirty laundry in private.

          Sorry, but a clause in his contract banning him from speaking out against the team is deeply unfair. It’s almost as if the team don’t want to hear about their problems, and feels suspiciously like a hangover from the days of Flavio Briatore. Petrov has gone to extraordinary lengths to improve this year, and always accepts responsibility. If he can’t make a strategy work, he’ll admit to it, and he directs his attentions to fixing the problem. The team banning him from criticising them is a poor way for them to repay him.

          1. I think Petrov has proven his worth simply with that drive of his in Melbourne. Most people would make it into third but slowly slip down the field if they were in that car, but Petrov kept a steady pace and did enough to hold off Alonso, Webber and Button. That was a great drive.

            As for the team; well, they’ve really disappointed me. Renault were looking good at the start of the year and have somehow managed to fall back to the midfield, if not behind the midfield. They deserve the criticism and it’s completely understandable if their drivers are unhappy. I hope they’re on it next year, because both Senna and Petrov have talent.

          2. almost all company’s will have written in their contracts that you cant speak ill about them.

            Doesnt matter if your working for sainsburys or driving for renault.

          3. I agree that it’s unfair, but it still unwise to complain in such a way with his contract being in question.

          4. Q85 is right, wherever you work you’ll have it written in your contract that you can’t say anything that will paint the company in a bad light.

            Such a clause makes complete sense in the multi-million dollar world of an F1 team, where the drivers words are broadcast worldwide and can have a real impact on how the public perceives them and their sponsors.

    2. I understand why Renault would perhaps get to a stage in the season and think like ‘right, 5th is secure. We can’t do better or worse at this stage, let’s coast to the end of the season with the prize money in the bank and save for next year when we possibly have Kubica’ but press like this isn’t good…

      1. But it seem that what happened was that they developed parts that didn´t adjust to their exhaust system. So they keep wasting money and never improved the car…

    3. I really like this.

      Not only is the PR facade broken, it shows that Petrov really seems to be a racer. The fact that it shows how competitive F1 is in regards to driving doesn’t hurt either.

    4. I think that this year Renault have deeply let down their drivers. To start with such a bang, only for that bang to furn to flames and ultimately be reduced to dust, if greatly disappointing for the 3 who have sat in those cars this year, and a let down to fans of F1 who were hoping for a 5th team to be up there and challenging for podiums.

      1. @ajokay

        Couldn’t agree more. It was so fun in Melbourne and Sepang to have another team challenging the front runners.

        1. I’ve really gotta stop making horrible typos too. My brain is thinking faster than my fingers.

          1. But gotta isn’t a typo, it’s an informal reduction!

  4. That article in The Independent is very misleading. Autosport are reporting the Austin situation quite differently. He’s not dropping the race – yet. Instead, he’s giving them a deadline to get their act together. They have until December 7 to work the kinks out.

    1. I think it’s this quote that is causing the trouble:

      When asked whether the race was in danger of being dropped, he replied: “Yes, it will be for sure, 100 per cent.”

      1. When I saw that my understanding was that Bernie is saying the race has a 100% chance of being in danger of being dropped, not a 100% chance of being dropped. I agree with @journeyer that it’s an awkward quote that’s causing all the controversy/confusion.

        1. And from previous experience with Bernie interviews, it was exactly what that quote was meant to achieve @dave!

          1. Absolutely. He’s the same as di Montezemolo. The literal meaning and the message they’re trying to get across aren’t always the same thing but everything they say is for a reason. That’s half the fun. Trying to work out what’s between the lines.

    2. Yes, Autosport’s story is quite different. However, I think F1 cannot be sustainable with lots of losers (financially) and 2 or 3 winners.

  5. there is no emoticon to sufficiently express my disappointment and rage.

    1. Sorry to hear this F1Yankee…I know you were really looking forward to it. So was I.

    2. The one new race I was looking forward to, I feel your disappointment F1Yankee.

    3. It’s unfortunate. I was planning on attending, but clearly that plan can go to waste bin.

    4. The fat lady hasn’t sung yet! Give it until Dec 7th and we’ll know for sure. I was contemplating a trip over for it, so I’m glad I haven’t booked anything yet.

      Let’s see how it pans out.

      1. I’m with tobinen on this one! Let’s hold onto hope!

        One of the promoting companies in Austin has been quite quick to respond to Bernie’s doom and gloom comments…

        I think I shall have to get one of these out of principle.

    5. It’s really ridiculous. If the race is planned it must go ahead. These things had to be sorted out before the contract was signed. How can you build a circuit, then stop half-way through if you want a race to go on?

    6. I really hope something gets sorted out. It’s the first new track since I started watching that I’ve really looked forward to. Might even have been persuaded to go through all that fingerprinting nonsense and actually go there!

  6. Could this have had anything to do with the delay in payment that was missed on the 31st July? This is an article from back in August and it was when Austin weren’t happy with the proposed date, because of the hot weather (it was originally tipped for June according to this article)

    1. I believe it’s about the payment. Earlier this year when the details about the advance payments were reported (bear in mind, Texas is under a huge budget shortfall) there was a huge kerfluffle about what everyone’s understanding of what the terms actually were. Combs tried to say that she never agreed to payment in advance for any of the races, that it was a complete misunderstanding-which we all know is crap because F1’s international commerce and sporting law experts aren’t going to make a mistake like this. Then the letter came to light. IMHO, neither the organizers or the state had a clue who they were dealing with.

  7. No money from Austin,no Austin GP,anyone interested to host a F1 race? can contact Bernie with money.

    1. I think Bernie is not offering fair deals, I think slots are still in demand so Mr Ecclestone still has the upper hand. Unless existent GP organizers don’t come up with a collective bargain it will not work. F1 will go to exotic destinations with lots of dollars and small populations.

  8. Austin GP may have to be delayed until sometime in the future. At the moment there is massive financial pressure on US taxpayers and there are more important issues to deal with in the US then entertainment.

    Overall though, I think Ecclestone is delusional, he is just making GP deals left right and centre. He is determined obviously to have a GP in the US, but do people really want one there? I have a feeling the New Jersey is just a knee jerk reaction and things may not go smoothly there either.

    Maybe Ecclestone’s best bet is to make deals with the casino owners. Why doesn’t he make a GP in Las Vegas or something? I am sure they got plenty of money over there…

  9. The Independend now is saying that race have being delayed to 2013
    US GP’s comeback delayed until 2013

    A deal to host the race was agreed by Ecclestone in May last year with promotion company, Full Throttle Productions. The Formula One Commission, the sport’s decision-making body, put the race in the calendar for next year at a meeting earlier this month but now Ecclestone has conceded that the track will not be ready. He said: “The [new] contract we proposed to them is 10 years from 2013. We said we would wait for them.”

    Ecclestone claimed the circuit owners had missed the deadline to sign an agreement to stage the race next year. He added: “I can’t solve it.”

    1. Woah, is this being confirmed by any other sources?!

  10. Bernie Ecclestone says the 2012 United States Grand Prix will not go ahead.

    No, he does not say that. That is misleading.

    1. I agree. He hasn’t yet said that. Misleading headline

    2. @MVEilenstein

      He was asked if it will be dropped at the next WMSC meeting and he said it would be “for sure, 100%”. No idea what you’re complaining about, particularly as you haven’t bothered to explain.

      1. Keith, I read the article as “in danger” of being dropped. Whilst it does look likely, it’s not cut and dried yet – or is there somewhere else which has a different take on it?

        Bernie says he’s looking for a guarantor and/or letter of credit. Presumably that’s the only thing that can save the deal.

      2. I don’t see any complaining from me. I’m pointing out that your lede is not correct. The article explains that the race will dropped if the contract dispute is not resolved. Ecclestone did not say the race will be dropped.

        Now I have explained.

        1. So your objection to a headline is not a complaint, and Ecclestone saying a race “will be” dropped means something other than it not staying on the calendar?

          I’m not wasting any more time on these futile exercises in hair-splitting.

          1. Just voicing my objections. I’ll keep quiet from now on.

  11. Mr Wurz, the Texas Longhorns could just schedule an extra home game and get the same tax revenue instead of forking over $25 million. Local governments are not in the business of wasting money. They like to be reelected. The funny part is that this bad idea made it this far.

  12. Changing the subject entirely, there are some interesting reports coming out of Germany that suggest Kimi Raikkonen will not be paid in cash to race for Williams, but rather than he is asking to be paid in stock in the team. These stories are coming from Bild, a German tabloid (and my dislike of tabloids is well-documented), but this may actually be a brilliant move.

    As I have said before, one of the biggest barriers to Raikkonen re-entering the sport is his commitment. We have seen this at the Rally of France and Rally Catalunya, where he retired on the spot rather than re-enter under super rally regulations. Raikkonen would have to convince any prospective team principal of his commitment before they offered him a contract. But paying him in stock shows that commitment because Raikkonen’s worth will be directly tied to his performances. Signing for Williams will increase the value of their shares – but if Raikkonen simply gives up when a race weekend does not go his way, the value of those shares will come back down. Raikkonen will have a vested interest in staying the course with Williams and improving their fortunes.

    1. That is a fantastic idea! I has never thought about being payed in stock for F1, but in the corporate world it happens all the time (as a bonus for executives).

      1. It’s never happened before because I don’t think a team has ever been publicly floated before. And if they have been, they have never been in a position where one of their potential driver signings has had his commitment in question.

    2. That was already reported yesterday by your friend Joe Saward, with the explanation that it’s understood Räikkönen’s management has asked for him to receive shares in the team, but that Sir Frank is extremely reluctant to part with shares. It’s an interesting read:

      1. I read it in Bild. That’s where I got the story from.

        1. Another article on claims that Räikkönen is already training for his comeback, and that Williams want to have everything finalized Thursday.

          1. It is Thursday.

          2. Yep. So maybe we’ll hear something later.

          3. Assuming it’s true, I don’t think we’ll hear anything today, @us_peter – or for a while, for that matter. Teams don’t necessarily annouce something straight away, no matter how big it is. Williams might want to annouce something in Brazil, for instance. Or possibly at some meeting in Qatar, given the ties between team and nation; I hear that the Qatari government is holding some meeting before Christmas. Even then, that’s only speculation – a lot of Raikkonen fans were talking up an annoucement in Abu Dhabi because Abu Dhabi is close to Qatar … and it didn’t happen.

    3. Problem is, Williams rarely do stock options, certainly not with any of their drivers to date. I wonder if this is something the Robertsons asked for rather than Kimi himself.

      1. Well, the Robertsons did recently sell their stake in Raikkonen Robertson Racing, which is why the team is now known as Double R Racing.

    4. It’s an interesting idea and Raikkonen has part-owned other racing teams before – see Raikkonen Robertson Racing in British F3 (he not the only one, Giancarlo Fisichella owned a stake in a GP2 team and Mark Webber runs a GP3 team with Christian Horner’s Arden organisation).

      It obviously wouldn’t be the first time an active F1 driver has owned part of an F1 team. Jack Brabham owned and drove for Brabham for several years, Bruce McLaren and Dan Gurney did likewise with McLaren and Eagle. Less successfully, Chris Amon and Arturo Mezario also ran their own teams.

      The only other F1 organisation I can think of that has been publicly floated is March, which issued shares in (I think) 1986 – around the time the firm was planning to re-enter F1 but before it actually did. As far as I’m aware, the drivers didn’t ever own stock in the team. The flotation eventually led to a buyout by sponsor Leyton House and the F1 team was re-named before going bankrupt in early 1993.

      I think Reynard also issued an IPO while it was still BAR’s chassis manufacturer, but went bankrupt not long afterwards. Come to think of it, didn’t Jacques Villeneuve have some sort of stake in BAR – either directly or via Craig Pollock? I may be imagining it.

    5. @Prisoner Monkeys

      Bild is extremely unreliable. It was them that said they found out from a top figure in Red Bull Raikkonen was making a comeback to replace Webber and reported it in the summer, also they were reporting the Rosberg to Ferrari and countless other rubbish stories.

      The fact that is on Joe Staward blog though might mean there is some truth in it and it does make sense though Sir Frank might not think so.

      1. Sir Frank isn’t going to let any driver have stock in his team. But I hope he has signed Kimi and if they announce it today it would be amazing news!

        If they do indeed sign him, and wrongly sack Rubens instead of Pastor, (whom they don’t need anymore if Kimi does bring big funding from Qatar) they need to announce it before Brazil. Rubens deserves that level of respect. If the longest career in F1 history comes to an end in front of his home crowd, with out the world knowing it, it will be a shame.

      2. @snowman

        Bild is extremely unreliable.

        I’m aware of that. I said I have no love for tabloids. The reason why I posted it was because I found it interesting – and clever.

  13. What a shame it would be if Austin was dropped. At first, I wasn’t sold on the idea of a Grand Prix in Texas, but I’d grown to like it and was actually really looking forward to it.

    I hope Bernie’s just saying this to scare them into working harder and faster. I’m still optimistic… Slightly.

    1. I hope Bernie’s just saying this to scare them into working harder and faster. I’m still optimistic… Slightly.

      Bernie is just being Bernie, little impatient, jumps to conclusions and makes decisions too quickly,.. just sign of old age. But given that he “is” that type of character, he can easily change his mind back to good again. He certainly doesn’t strikle me as a “tunnel vision” type person, which is a good thing – and probably why he has been so successful.

      1. @Maksutov So I’m guessing you think there’s still hope?

        1. @damonsmedley@maksutov I’m thinking there is still hope as well. I think it’s just a bit of business banter to be honest. Perfect time to put pressure on when the calendar is to be ratified in a few weeks.

        2. @damonsmedley @andrewtanner

          Yep, I am certain it is not over for Austin. My main concern is that the work has physically been halted. This will create inevitable delays even if a compromise is reached. So I’m obviously not sure what will happen for 2012, but I believe it is not over and there is still good chance GP will eventually take place.

  14. when is bernie gonna go away? He is ruining the sport all he cares about is his pocket and how much he can rob from people.

    1. He’s getting pretty old, but he doesn’t strike me as the retiring time. Shame. It’s time to let someone else take the reigns and run the show.

      1. Better the devil you know …

  15. This will compromise position of F1 in the US. What a shame…

  16. It’s not Austin that gets me annoyed for the 2012 calendar, it’s NY joining Austin in the 2013 calendar. No country should have more than 1 race (as I’ve said previously) I believe that Austin should have priority as they got on the calendar first.

    If they were to drop Austin in favour of bringing in NY for 2013, I can understand, but I’d still be very disappointed. Austin looked like a great track and it’d be a shame to see it not get used for a major event until MotoGP in 2013..

    1. There is already an article that is putting doubst over Moto GP going there too, it is on Speed…

    2. No country should have more than 1 race

      @KeeleyObsessed I think that’s quite unfair to the USA. The USA may be one country for those of us outside of America but really it is a union of 50 states that could quite easily be compared to the EU; which currently has 8 GP’s.

      I’d be more than happy to have several GP’s in the USA as it is a nation with a very rich motorsport tradition, loads of real racing fans, several of the worlds leading car manufacturers and the ability to host and properly support several GP’s.

      In my opinion it’s certainly a lot easier to justify several GP’s being held in the USA than it is to justify the current number of Middle East GP’s where there are hardly any racing fans, no tradition of motorsport, no manufacturers and a distinct lack of support for the GP’s (other than from a tiny minority of very rich despots and tyrants who are using F1 to improve their image).

      1. @beneboy

        No, the USA is 50 states, the EU is 27 (roughly) COUNTRIES..

        Otherwise, we might as well argue that the UN has 20 races on the calendar…

        Take the most recent race to be introduced, India. There are 2 drivers, 1 team and a driver recruitment programme… USA has 0 F1 teams and 0 F1 drivers… What does that tell you?

  17. If the Austin track gets dropped at least David Coulthard can claim he is the quickest around at least one track in an F1 car. :D

  18. i have in generally been quite critial of gp’s in the US, but if Austin doesn’t go trough (even if just for the first year of its contract) i will be ****** off. :@

  19. Nice theory by Coefficient but incorrect. I tweeted Paul Hembery about the smoke from Vettels right rear wheel at the start of the race. Can be seen from onboard Button at the start. He ask for a picture/video I sent him this

    He came back to me saying I got it spot on. Cant say publicly but well done. He followed me and DM me the real reason which they found out as soon as the got the tyre remains back.

    1. Really a shame you now know it but cannot share that Adam! You are teasing us so much, was it burning away inside? :-)

      1. Autosport have reported the actual cause as a rumour that has been mentioned. You can go back through their fairly recent articles….. ;-)

        1. Excellent Adam. I think I’ve found the correct sentence. ;)

          Feels like I’ve been let in on a little secret! Thanks.

  20. great theory by coefficient and sounds spot on. nice one

    1. Its a good theory but not correct. It was nothing to do with Pirelli or tyre pressures.

      1. well until red bull state otherwise its the best there is but id be interested to hear your other better theory

  21. Cynical side of me thinks that now he’s got his beloved race in NY he doesn’t really care or need Austin.

    1. @steph The same thought crossed my mind.

    2. Exactly! When this whole talk about the NY race came up, you could somehow sense that Austin probably wouldn’t be staying on the calendar long term. I could still imagine that there will be a race in Austin next year though and that we’re just witnessing some sable-rattling by Bernie.

      1. Excellent point, someone on another site said it reminded him of Donnington a few years ago; they did all the construction in hopes to have F1 return, only to get screwed over. I sincerely hope that isn’t what happens to Austin.

        Bernie may be smart, he may be cagey, but he apparently doesn’t know that once you scorn a Texan, you loose your good graces to them forever.

  22. sabre-rattling ;)

  23. In my view Bernie just needs to hack someone after all the bribe trials.

  24. Cancelling races: the new way to make a profit.

  25. Wot a load of old toss. Bernie’s being Bernie – playing the muscle in search of the money.
    Me? Ithink I’d rather watch a bunch of ancient XR2s elbow each other out the way round Duffers dip. More fun more exciting and less brown stuff.

  26. I am angered to the core over this matter about Austin and think it was a cheap shot to delete my comments about it.

  27. is that real football or the one where big blokes run into each other wearing crash helmets?

  28. I am not surprised. Yet more attention seeking from Bernie Ecclestone, building up everybody’s expectations before dashing them. I buy into the theory that Austin is not so high on the list of priorities now after the New York City announcement. F1 is all about glamour and entertaining mega rich
    sponsors and not about ‘real’ fans anymore. Look at Abu Dhabi! No real fans I could see, just a bunch of toffs on billion dollar yachts downing champagne.
    The fact remains that F1 shot itself in the foot with the fiasco at Indianapolis in 2005, an event that seriously tarnished the sports image in the United States.
    I’m sorry, but America can live without F1. Ecclestone’s attitude not only insults and damages the sport, but also hurts the ‘real’ fans and that is plain wrong in my eyes. For someone to spend hundreds of millions building a circuit, that F1 only will use three days a year, to be in turn treated like crap takes the cake. No wonder many circuit owner have turned their backs on Bernie.

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