The saga of the United States Grand Prix has already had more twists and turns than we can probably expect when the actual race takes place at the Circuit of the Americas.
First the race was on with a ten year contract and all was well. Then construction was delayed. Next we heard that there was a dispute between the promoter, entrepreneur Tavo Hellmund, and the circuit's majority owners Texan billionaire Red McCombs and private equity boss Bobby Epstein. Then we were told that they had sent F1's boss Bernie Ecclestone a contract written to their terms. Finally, after two deadlines from Ecclestone, Epstein and McCombs sent the F1 boss a cheque and he confirmed that the race will take place in 2012. But for how long after that?
Speaking to Pitpass, Ecclestone said: "They gave us the money for next year and guarantees for the future but not for the whole ten years." Asked whether he is confident that the race will take place in 2012 Ecclestone added: "They have paid us the money. I'm confident we will keep the money if the race doesn't happen. It's an incentive isn't it?"
However, despite the twists and turns along the way, US F1 fans have at least some light at the end of the tunnel as Ecclestone concluded that, in all seriousness, "I don't think they would have paid the money and given us the guarantees we wanted if they weren't sure the circuit would be ready."
Of course, paying the money and pulling off the race are two very different things. However, at least Ecclestone is happy and that puts an end to perhaps the biggest roadblock.