Looks like Bernie set a deadline to get his $$$. LINK
, w/wording below:
By John Maher
Updated: 6:34 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 17, 2011
Published: 9:39 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011
Circuit of the Americas appears to have three weeks to sign a contract with Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone or lose the international racing event and jeopardize construction of the $300 million track in southeastern Travis County.
Ecclestone was asked by the British news agency Press Association if the Austin race was in peril of being dropped from the 2012 racing schedule, and he replied, "Yes, it will be for sure, 100 percent. We've done everything we bloody well can to make this race happen."
Late Wednesday, Ecclestone went even further, telling Britain's The Independent that the race has already been postponed, "The (new) contract we proposed to them is 10 years from 2013. We said we would wait for them," Ecclestone said.
Ecclestone said he needs a financial guarantee or letter of credit from circuit officials that they will pay the sanction fee for the race. Ecclestone said that he, not Austin-based promoter Tavo Hellmund and his Full Throttle Productions, controlled the rights to the race.
Ecclestone, a longtime friend of Hellmund's, said that contract with Hellmund had been canceled because Hellmund was in breach of it.
It is not known what led to the breach .
The lack of an agreement between Formula One and Circuit of the Americas was the main reason track investors suspended work on Tuesday, idling 300 workers.
Wednesday, it was 80 degrees and sunny, a near-perfect day for construction. But in the afternoon, the workers' parking lot was nearly empty, and heavy machinery was being lined up to be trucked away. Even the portable toilets were carted out.
Whether the workers and machines ever come back remains to be seen. The work stoppage could be a final bargaining ploy as investors try to strike an eleventh-hour deal with Ecclestone. Or it could mean the end of the project. The track has yet to be paved, and above-ground construction had just begun.
Investors, who include San Antonio billionaire Red McCombs, have not said how much money has been spent on developing the 1,100-acre site, but an earlier study for the circuit by Don Hoyte of TexasEconomicImpact estimated that $144.9 million would be spent in 2011.
On Wednesday, investor Bobby Epstein said he would have no further comments until a deal has been completed.
Negotiations were complicated this week by state Comptroller Susan Combs' announcement that no state money would be paid in advance of a Formula One race. Formula One had been slated to receive $25 million a year from the state's Major Events Trust Fund.
In a letter to Ecclestone last year, Combs said that if conditions were met, Ecclestone would receive a payment on July 31 this year. That, however, was when the race was scheduled for June 2012.
The race date was later pushed back to Nov. 18, 2012. Although the comptroller could make a payment as much as a year in advance of the race, she decided not to make any advance payment. The payment would come after the race and would depend on the extra tax revenue created by the event.
It now appears Circuit of the Americas would have to come up with a payment of at least $25 million for the 2012 race. Track investors are not saying what Ecclestone now wants for a sanctioning fee.
Ecclestone told Press Association that he has yet to receive a payment from Circuit of the Americas or a guarantee. He said, "We are looking for security for money they are going to have to pay us. That is via a letter of credit, normally from a bank. If people don't have the money, they find it difficult to get the letter of credit, and so we don't issue a contract."
If a 2012 race is still possible, a likely cutoff date for negotiations appears to be Dec. 7, when the World Motor Sport Council meets in New Delhi and finalizes the 2012 Formula One racing calendar.
Meanwhile, in Elroy, Pedro Mar said some of his neighbors are sad that construction has halted, because they were hoping the track would increase property values in the area.
Mar was out in front of the Elroy Community Library, where he said some residents gather after work or on the weekends because of the better Internet connection there.
"There's nothing out here," Mar said as pointed around. "There's no businesses. There's nothing to do. There's not even any cows."