Texas Formula One Race Back on Track After Ecclestone Paid, Promoters Say

Plans to bring Formula One racing back to the U.S. next year were revived after promoters of the event set for Austin, Texas, said they made a payment to Bernie Ecclestone, the circuit’s chief executive officer.

Enrica Marenghi, Ecclestone’s personal assistant, said the race organizers had “agreed to all the conditions” needed for the event. The World Motor Sport Council separately affirmed its 2012 calendar today, according to a statement on the Formula1.com website. The list includes a U.S. race in November.

Texas taxpayer money was pledged for a $25 million payment to Ecclestone’s company to support the Austin event, before state Comptroller Susan Combs said Nov. 15 no advance payment would be made, citing plans for a New Jersey race near New York City in 2013. Track construction was held up because of delays in the Formula One contract. No state funds will be spent before the race, Brooke Botello, a Combs spokeswoman, said today.

“Ecclestone received his check,” Red McCombs, chairman of McCombs Enterprises and a founding partner of the company developing the Austin track, said today in a statement. The promoters and Ecclestone’s Formula One Management Ltd. in London haven’t made public the terms of their contract, said Jeff Hahn, a spokesman for the Austin race organizers.

Combs will consider paying some promotional costs after the Nov. 18 event, Hahn said in a telephone interview. Formula One is the world’s richest car-racing series with annual revenue of $1.1 billion and a television audience averaging 50 million for each grand prix. The last Formula One race in the U.S. was held in Indianapolis in 2007.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Mildenberg in Austin, Texas, at dmildenberg@bloomberg.net Alex Duff in Madrid, Spain at aduff4@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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