Formula One: Cheque in post as US and Bahrain make calendar
Bosses at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin claim they have paid Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone the money owed to stage the United States Grand Prix next year, and have resumed work at the new purpose-built facility.
The race in Texas — set to be the first grand prix in the US since 2007 — was yesterday confirmed as the penultimate round on the 2012 F1 calendar by governing body the FIA.
Both the race in Austin and the Bahrain Grand Prix - scheduled for April 22 - were doubts to make it on to the calendar, but were given the green light at yesterday's meeting of the FIA's World Motor Sport Council in New Delhi.
The announcement will also assuage fears over the future of the Korean Grand Prix, following reports that organisers were struggling to meet the cost of staging the race.
A question mark remains over the Bahrain race, however, with its future dependent on the easing of the civil unrest that has gripped the country for several months.
Austin, meanwhile, appears to be on a much stronger footing after Red McCombs, a founding partner of the Circuit of the Americas, confirmed in a statement that Ecclestone had been paid the fee required to stage the race.
The statement added that construction would recommence at the site with immediate effect, three weeks after more than 300 workers were ordered to down tools over a contractual row.
“Mr Ecclestone received his cheque today,” McCombs said.
“We want to thank the fans supporting us, the local officials and businesses that have encouraged us, the State of Texas, Circuit of the Americas' staff and Bernie himself.”
The race in Austin is due to be the first of two new US grands prix, with the Grand Prix of America in New Jersey scheduled for 2013. The deal agreed between the Circuit of the Americas and Ecclestone runs from 2012 through 2021.
The FIA's decision to give the go-ahead to both the US and Bahrain means the calendar remains unaltered from the initial version revealed in August.
The 20-race 2012 calendar begins in Australia on March 18 and concludes in Brazil on November 25.
2012 F1 calendar in full:
March 18: Australia; March 25: Malaysia; April 15: China; April 22: Bahrain; May 13: Spain; May 27: Monaco; June 10: Canada; June 24: Europe (Valencia); July 8: Britain; July 22: Germany; July 29: Hungary; September 2: Belgium; September 9: Italy; September 23: Singapore; October 7: Japan; October 14: Korea; October 28: India; November 4: Abu Dhabi; November 18: United States; November 25: Brazil.