New information has cast doubt on whether the organisers of the 2012 United States Grand Prix will have the Austin site ready in time for its inaugural race.
Construction at the site – with the venue located east of the Austin-Bergstrom international airport – is set to begin in December, but an official document obtained by the Austin Business Journal reveals that the expected construction time for the purpose-built circuit is some 24 months!
KXAN Austin News has also verified these claims through a spokesperson for F1, who added that the 24-month timeframe could include months of planning before construction even gets underway.
F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone had recently warned event organiser Tavo Hellmund (pictured with Ecclestone) that he risked severe penalties if the inaugural race did not go ahead as scheduled.
The situation very much mirrors that seen at the last round in Korea, where the circuit’s construction was badly held up – they claim – by unexpectedly severe monsoonal weather patterns.
The delays resulted in the final FIA safety inspection being pushed back to just two weeks before the event itself, and the sport’s governing body has said it will institute a 90-day cut-off for its safety inspections to avoid a repeat of the Korean situation, which it no doubt fears will also occur at the sites for the inaugural Indian and Russian Grands Prix that are set to make their debut appearances in the next two years.
It would seem that overambitious claims and poor organisation are the black spots in the Austin project, and we broke the news last month that Hellmund’s group had missed its own self-imposed September deadline to submits its circuit design plans to the FIA Circuits Commission, which won’t meet again until the New Year.