Tavo Hellmund has played down scepticism about the 2012 US grand prix, but admits that failing to get the circuit built in time is a possibility. Before FIA president Jean Todt said the confirmed race in Austin, Texas, is “just a project”, F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone warned promoter Hellmund that penalties will apply if the event does not take place until 2013.
“Well yeah, but we don’t want to do that,” Hellmund said in an interview with GP Week. “That wouldn’t be financially beneficial.
“We have a contract that says we need to have a grand prix in 2012,” he added.
Hellmund denied rumours that, with work on the site needing to begin imminently, land has not even been acquired.
“There hasn’t needed to be any progress on the land because we already have the land,” he insisted.
“I know people have been digging around to find my names. Well, I wasn’t a rookie and everything was put in holding names. The land is exciting and the (Hermann) Tilke folks have been coming non-stop.”
He also addressed reports that, apart from the State of Texas’ funding, the identity of Hellmund’s financial backers is still unknown.
“Why is that anybody’s business?” Hellmund replied. “I’ve got a big group put together that is world class, well known, and a lot of them are going to want to stay anonymous.
“The only two groups that I have to satisfy outside of our group is Formula One Management, who ask for your bank statements, and the State of Texas for passing the legislation that will allow us to be included in the major events trust fund.”
As for whether the project is moving forwards, Hellmund said “we can’t spend money any faster than we already are”.
“Tilke and the general contractors have been working on this for a while and everyone’s saying we can do it.
“If not, that doesn’t mean we’re not going to have a grand prix. We’ll pay whatever penalty we need to pay. We’re not doing this to have a one-off race. We want to have the US grand prix here for the next 40 years,” he added.