I have been against circuits being granted F1 races before they are built since it became a trend 10 years ago. The only surprise is that it’s took this long for a high profile new addition to the calendar to go belly up.
I quipped on twitter yesterday that the “gun slinging Texans had shot themselves in the foot” on hearing the news that work at the Circuit of the Americas had stopped. Having caught up on the full extent of the problems, it would seem as if they have blown their head off. The scale and complexity of the whole saga has become clear with Tavo Hellmund being stripped of his contract to stage the race having been found to beach the agreement. Rival party, COTA have been in negotiations for some time with Bernie Ecclestone but thus far have failed to deliver the credit note that would secure a contract for Ecclestone.
Bernie has obviously learnt for the Donington saga in 2008, where Donington Ventures LTD failed to raise the funds needed to redevelop the Leicestershire track, leaving the historic venue on the brink of disappearing all together.
I suppose, if the race isn’t going to go ahead. It’s better for it to be now, rather that mid way through the season, as nearly happened with the inaugural Korean Grand Prix. Teams of workmen were literally painting around the teams the week before the race in a desperate attempt to be ready. With Russia and New Jersey due to joining the calendar shortly, what assurances can the teams behind these venues give to Bernie to the contrary.
Hosting a Formula 1 Grand Prix is a privilege, not a right to whoever can afford one. Along with proving management/financial stability, new venue should be made to operate for 12 months, where they can demonstrate that the circuit is safe enough to host F1 and that there is support for motor racing in general, not just Grand Prix.
Although I’ve entitled this piece, ‘I Hate To Say I Told You So’ I don’t want any circuit to fail but I do think with the way Races have been promised (like Donington) it was just a matter of time before this happened.