While looking into a Northern California location for a new Grand Prix Circuit, American developer Tavo Hellmund has been putting together a group to purchase a controlling interest in the Manor F1 team to bring another American Formula 1 team to the grid. The driver lineup mentioned includes NASCAR’s Dale Earnhardt Jr, and Alexander Rossi, who currently drives for the Manor F1 Team and according to Hellmund, “He has the resume.” in a recent interview with the Austin Statesman-American.
Costs of operating a successful Formula 1 team are high, and Hellmund has tempered expectations adding that, “It would never be our goal to compete with the manufacturer teams. We’re never going to spend $400 million a year like Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren… but we think you can run it respectably and not be in the red. I think you can fight for fifth.”
Hellmund added that “Manor Marussia cut a deal to be able to have Mercedes motors next year, which is a step forward as opposed to a year and one-half old Ferrari spec engine,” which is currently run by the team putting them roughly 50 hp down on the current spec engines of other teams.
Timing would be critical for 2016, with diligence and engine to be finalized. Hellmund gives it until early next year to sort out: “I think if we get to late January or February, it may be too late, and my partners and I would probably lose interest”.
Over the Mexican Grand Prix weekend, American Tavo Hellmund spoke about a new Formula 1 circuit in the works. Following recent comments by Bernie Ecclestone about a new Grand Prix “Out the California way“, Tavo mentioned to journalists over the weekend:
We’re looking at a project that’s probably two weeks away from being able to talk about it, then looking also maybe making an investment with a team.
Hellmund’s work on Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez brought about it’s first Formula 1 race there in 23 years, and following his work on Circuit of The Americas, would make this his third Grand Prix circuit in less than a decade.
When pressed for more details on the circuit’s location, Hellmund would not elaborate, stating only that it would be in North America.
After months of speculation and a series of delays at the facility, sources close to Circuit of the Americas have confirmed that next year’s race in Austin will be confirmed on the 2012 F1 calendar at the December 7th meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in New Delhi. A November 18th race has not been verified, but construction schedule delays at the circuit make in increasingly difficult for the previously announced date to advance in the season.
Much has been happening behind the scenes the past week with the recent deadline extension for COTA, with new details regarding leadership and sponsorship to be fleshed out in forthcoming statements. Recent articles from Pitpass and Autoweek have been commenting on the upcoming announcement and new deal between COTA and Bernie Ecclestone, with tougher terms likely having been negotiated by COTA recently. Tavo Hellmund, who has been the public figure for much of the time at COTA has also been removed from the team’s webpage.
For American fans of Formula 1, the return of the sport in 2012 to Austin will mark the first race on US soil in over half a decade.