Formula 1

10:47 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Austin's Formula One Race Gets Green Light

Construction on the Circuit of the Americas in southeastern Travis County is set to resume now that race organizers have reached an agreement with F1.
Photo by Lucia Duncan for KUT News

The promoters and track owners trying to put on a Formula One race in Austin apparently overcame their differences just in time — the F1 race for November 2012 is officially on the calendar.

The owners of the track — who stopped construction when the negotiations broke down last month — said this morning they will resume building immediately. That outfit, Circuit of the Americas, is run by Texas businessmen Red McCombs of San Antonio and Bobby Epstein of Austin.

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News Brief
5:53 am
Wed December 7, 2011

Top Morning Stories 12/7/11: Austin's Formula One Race is On, TX Parks & Wildlife Asking for Help

Construction is set to resume immediately for the Circuit of the Americas track southeast of Austin. Local organizers have reached a deal with Formula One management for the 2012 race.
Photo by KUT News.

Austin's F1 Race is On

Local organizers told KUT News this morning that an agreement has been reached over a contract with Formula One management. Also today in New Dehli, India the World Motor Sport Council officially approved the 2012 F1 calendar. It includes Austin’s U.S. Grand Prix next November. F1 Boss Bernie Ecclestone had set today as the final deadline to reach a deal for Austin’s race after the contract had been in dispute.

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1:50 pm
Wed November 30, 2011

AP: F1 Boss Extends Deadline for Austin Race Deal

Construction on the Circuit of the Americas track in southeast Travis County had been underway for months, until work was stopped two weeks ago.
Photo by Lucia Duncan/KUT News

The Associated Press is reporting the head of Formula One is giving local race organizers another week to reach a deal on a 2012 race at the Circuit of the Americas track in southeast Travis County. 

The AP quotes F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone as saying "the deadline hasn't been met so we are still trying to make it happen ... they need to get some money and a pen." He went on to say "if it isn't all signed before the World Motor Sport Council meeting (the race) can't happen."

That meeting is December 7th.

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formula one
1:12 pm
Mon November 28, 2011

F1 Boss Extends Payment Deadline To Wednesday

Construction has been halted on the Circuit of the Americas track in southeastern Travis County amid a contract dispute between local organizers and Formula One boss Bernie Eccelstone.
Photo by KUT

Formula One’s president and CEO has extended the deadline by which Austin race organizers must finalize their contract to ensure the race can proceed.

In an interview with Autoweek, Bernie Ecclestone said he doesn’t feel the people he’s now working with are “as reliable as they should be.”

Ecclestone says organizers have until Wednesday to come to a deal - or next year's race won't happen.

F1 race promoter Tavo Hellmund held the original contract for the Austin race, but Ecclestone canceled it after it became apparent that Hellmund would not be able to come up with the $25 million required to seal the deal. Construction on the track being built in southeastern Travis County was halted in mid-November.

“I was disappointed insofar as [Hellmund] had what he thought were partners that could finance the business and wouldn’t let him down,” Ecclestone told Autoweek. “Really, they let him down and they’re trying to steal from him, get him out of it, and do the whole thing themselves.”

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formula one
3:09 pm
Wed November 23, 2011

Patterson Calls For Investigation Into Combs' F1 Deal

Construction on the Circuit of the America's track in southeast Austin as of June 2011
Photo courtesy of Circuit of the Americas

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson wants the Attorney General’s office to investigate whether Comptroller Susan Combs has the authority to commit taxpayer money to the Formula One races that could still come to Austin next year.  

Race organizers were hoping to get $250 million over ten years from the state’s Major Events Trust Fund.

Patterson, never one to mince words, called the deal a “real turkey” in a news release.

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News Brief
5:03 am
Wed November 16, 2011

Top Morning Stories 11/16/11: AISD Charter Proposal Mtg, Post Office Could Be Named After Soldier

AISD East Austin Facilities Meeting Tonight

The Austin Independent School District is holding a community meeting tonight to continue discussion on its button Facilities Master Plan. Tonight's meeting will focus on college readiness for schools in East Austin. AISD is considering in-district charter programs for some East Austin campuses.

The meeting is from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at Martin Middle School. KUT News recently interviewed the CEO of IDEA Public Schools, which is in talks with district officials to run the in-district charter programs. You can listen to that interview here.

Resolution Passed to Name Post Office After Fallen Soldier

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2:45 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

Formula 1 Track Construction 'Suspended Immediately'

Photo Courtesy of Full Throttle Productions

UPDATE 5:15 p.m.: The race organizer, Full Throttle Productions, released a statement via email late Tuesday afternoon: “After years of effort in getting F1 to Austin, Full Throttle Productions and city, county and state officials have done all we could. It is the responsibility of Circuit of the Americas to bring it across the finish line. For the sake of everyone, we are hopeful that they can reach an agreement with Formula 1.”

A contract dispute between race promoters and circuit officials has led to the immediate suspension of construction on the Circuit of the Americas racetrack in southeastern Travis County.  In a statement issued this afternoon, Circuit of the Americas officials said construction will not continue “until a contract assuring the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix will be held at Circuit of The Americas in 2012 is complete.”

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12:15 pm
Tue November 15, 2011

Texas Official Taps the Brakes on Formula 1 Racing

Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

State Comptroller Susan Combs, who's been way out in front promoting Formula 1 racing as an economic draw for Austin and Central Texas, says she's concerned about plans to hold races in New Jersey, because more events in other states could diminish the economic advantages of holding races in Texas. And she said, via written statement, that the state will do more economic analysis before it spends any money on the races.

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Sunday Roundup
10:05 am
Sun November 13, 2011

Sunday Roundup, November 13, 2011

Supporters felt much better about Texas Governor Rick Perry's performance in last night's South Carolina GOP presidential debate.
Photo by Ben Philpott for KUT News

The Perry campaign has a good night in South Carolina...The Longhorns have a bad day in Missouri...Formula One's boss wonders aloud whether there will ever be a race day in Austin.

Perry Picks Up Debate Pieces

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12:42 pm
Wed October 26, 2011

Could New Jersey F1 Race affect Austin's?

Austin's planned Formula One auto race is not the only one being planned on U.S. soil in the coming years. New Jersey will also host an F1 event.
Image courtesy of Full Throttle Productions.

Austin’s not the only U.S. destination planning a Formula One auto race. A second F1 race, the Grand Prix of America at Port Imperial, will be run in New Jersey, starting in 2013. The race for the track being built southeast of Austin, the U.S. Formula One Grand Prix, is scheduled for November 2012. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says no public subsidies will be used for their race.

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News Brief
6:09 am
Wed October 26, 2011

Top Morning Stories October 26, 2011

A second unmanned drone is being sent to patrol Texas' 1, 254-mile border with Mexico.
Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

2nd Drone to Patrol Texas-Mexico Border

U.S. Customs and Border Protection will soon have second drone to patrol the Texas-Mexico border. The Associated Press reports the Predator drone is scheduled to arrive in Corpus Christi next week. Officials had announced in July that the state would be getting another drone. Here are more details from the AP:

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12:45 pm
Wed August 31, 2011

Austin’s First F1 Race Confirmed For November 2012

An artist's rendering of the RV stands to be installed at the Circuit of the Americas track
Photo by Circuit of the Americas

It’s official. Austin’s first Formula One race is scheduled for November 18, 2012. FIA’s World Sport Motor Council unanimously approved a 2012 schedule today. F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said earlier this month that he wanted the race to occur in November; today’s vote made it official.

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12:09 pm
Wed August 10, 2011

Report: First Austin F1 Race Pushed Back To November 2012

Artist's rendering of Circuit of the Americas provided by Full Throttle Productions

After several days of speculation, Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone says Austin’s first F1 race will happen in November 2012 instead of June 2012. reports that the official justification is for fans and racers to avoid the blistering Texas summer.

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News Brief
5:59 am
Tue August 2, 2011

Top Morning Stories August 2, 2011

Daytime high temperatures will continue to rocket past the 100-degree mark for the rest of the week, according to the National Weather Service.
Photo by Daniel Reese for KUT News

Austin’s Heat Wave is Breaking Records 

Camp Mabry reached a record 107 degrees yesterday. The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory from noon today until 10:00 pm Friday night. The Weather Service says too much physical activity outdoors could cause heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

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Sunday Roundup
9:14 am
Sun July 17, 2011

Sunday Morning Roundup

The local organizing committee for F1 racing in Austin shifted into a higher gear Saturday.
Image courtesy of the Circuit of the Americas

You probably didn't feel it, but it was a little cooler in Austin yesterday. The high of 99 degrees at Camp Mabry broke a two-week string of triple-digit temperatures. But the break's over, with temperatures expected to cruise back to the 100-degree mark.

F1 Committee Speeds Up Race Progress

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News Brief
5:46 am
Thu July 14, 2011

Top Morning Stories July 14, 2011

The UT Board of Regents is scheduled to vote Thursday on an item to increase the 2012 distribution from the Permanent University Fund.
Photo by KUT News.

UT Regents To Consider Increasing Endowment Payout

The University of Texas System Board of Regents is scheduled to vote  today on whether to increase the payout rate for the state's largest higher education endowment, the Permanent University Fund.  It's a 13.65 percent increase for a total of more than $575 million.  The UT System and the Texas A&M System share the funds, but UT gets more. 

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1:01 pm
Wed July 13, 2011

F1 To Get More Building Permits Today

This view will change significantly now that Formula One has secured more building permits and FEMA has issued a conditional map revision.
Photo courtesy of Circuit of the Americas

Planners for the proposed Formula One race track in Southeast Travis County are a step closer to starting construction on some of the buildings at the track.

Officials met with several Travis County agencies last night, including the Transportation and Natural Resources and Sheriff's Departments and Fire Marshal’s Office, to discuss transportation and safety planning. County authorities are issuing building permits for more structures at the track today.

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12:43 pm
Mon July 11, 2011

Updated: F1 Organizing Committee Meeting Canceled

A schematic of the Circuit of the Americas track.
Photo by Full Throttle Productions

Update: The meeting has been canceled. Council member Laura Morrison's policy advisor Barbara Rush said in an email that it was due to a "public posting issue." A new meeting date has yet to be scheduled.

Earlier: Formula One event organizers will hold a public meeting downtown this afternoon to talk about and possibly take action on a deal authorized by Austin City Council last month. The council gave its endorsement of an F1 racetrack being constructed in southeastern Travis County, unlocking $250 million state subsidies over ten years.

The board of directors of the Circuit Events Local Organizing Committee (CELOC) has scheduled a 2:30 pm meeting at 100 Congress Ave., Suite 1300. You can read their agenda here.

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5:17 pm
Tue July 5, 2011

Texplainer: What are the State Event Trust Funds?

Comptroller Susan Combs giving the biennial revenue estimate in Austin January 10, 2011.
Photo by Bob Daemmrich, Texas Tribune

Hey, Texplainer: What are the State Comptroller’s Events Trust Funds, and how do they work?

With ground broken on the Formula 1 Circuit of the Americas racetrack southeast of Austin, the racing venue recently found itself in a dispute between the city of Austin and State Comptroller Susan Combs over the use of one of four trust funds intended to encourage the hosting of events in Texas. The funds provide money upfront to host events before the state recovers the money from hotel, alcoholic beverage, car rental, sales, and general use taxes in the period during and after the event.

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9:04 am
Thu June 30, 2011

Top Morning Stories for June 30, 2011

The other shoe could drop any day...or not.
Picture by KUT News

THE LEGISLATIVE SESSION IS OVER!!! (Sorry just had to get that out of my system)

On to the news of the day (so far):

Watching and Waiting for Gov. Perry

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