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Hellmund reveals ideal date for US Grand Prix

NEWS STORY
11/02/2011

It has been a long four years since the last United States Grand Prix and Formula One has changed tremendously since. If anything its global appeal has increased so it is a crying shame that it hasn't tapped into the valuable US market.

Next year that will all change though as F1 will return to the US at a race in Austin arranged by Tavo Hellmund, son of Gustavo Hellmund-Rosas, the former president of the Mexico GP organising committee. Like the lone ranger, Hellmund is riding in to save the day and in autumn next year fans could be seeing the fruits of his work.

Remarkably, despite the debacle of tyre-gate at Indianapolis in 2005, Hellmund has managed to get up to $25m in funding from the state of Texas. That's $25m more than the UK government contributes to the British GP and since the Texas funding comes from the increased sales tax revenue generated by the race, the state will make its money back. In addition, He has got backing from Red McCombs, billionaire founder of advertising company Clear Channel, who will also help with promotion.

Last but not least, Hellmund, a former Formula Three driver, has ensured that his circuit won't be a Tilke copy-cat as he has recruited Texan architects HKS to work with the German. They have designed a sweeping 3.4 mile circuit with elevation changes and corners modelled on Turkey, Silverstone and Hockenheim. "We are focussed on the fan amenities meaning access and the fact that they should be able to see more than one corner from their seat," Hellmund told Pitpass' business editor Chris Sylt earlier this week on a whistle-stop visit to London.

Hellmund has become one of Sylt's closest contacts over the past year since the two were introduced by F1's boss Bernie Ecclestone at last year's British GP and all the signs point to the fact that Hellmund has what it takes to reignite US interest in F1. The big question though is when will American fans get their first taste of F1 action since 2007?

Hellmund said he has "got to be ready to hold a Grand Prix in June," however, he added that "the best time, from a fan perspective, would be in the fall because the weather is more pleasant then." Given that the temperature in Austin in June averages 33 degrees it would certainly be sensible to hold the race in the fall - or autumn to us Europeans. Hellmund is clearly thinking ahead and considering the smallest of details, leaving nothing to chance.

That is exactly what it will take to ensure that the race is a success.

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