• US Grand Prix

Ecclestone defends Austin's credentials

ESPNF1 Staff
May 28, 2010 « Engine blow-out not a concern - Webber | »

Bernie Ecclestone has defended his decision to hold the next US Grand Prix in Austin, Texas with a relatively unknown race promoter.

Earlier this week, Ecclestone struck a deal with Tavo Hellmund and Full Throttle Productions to host the race at a purpose built track from 2012. However, the exact plans of where the track will be built and how it will be funded have yet to be revealed. Nevertheless, Ecclestone said he had total confidence in the project and confirmed it was receiving some support (rumoured to be $25 million a year) from the Texas Major Events Trust Fund - which was set up to support high-profile events in the state.

"We have an agreement and we have a lot of support from the government there and the governor himself, so it's looking good," Ecclestone told BBC Radio 5 Live. "They're prepared to build the kind of circuit we want. They are doing exactly what we're asking."

He conceded that the American market would not be easy to break into but said F1 had achieved similar feats in the past.

"There are an awful lot of sports in America and we're there for one race and NASCAR has 35 races," he said. "It's a difficult market to break into but wherever we've raced in the past we've had capacity crowds."

The lack of details in the plans has raised concerns because Donington's failed bid to host the British Grand Prix showed similar hallmarks just last year. However, when asked if he had any fears he might have another Donington on his hands, Ecclestone responded: "No fears at all."

"It's somebody [Tavo Hellmund] I've known for an awfully long time, so I know I can trust the people," Ecclestone added.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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