F1 returning to American soil

Formula 1 racing is coming back to the United States, this time at a new, state-of-the-art facility in Austin, Texas.

By a vote of 5-2, the Austin city council endorsed the event, clearing the way for local sponsors to receive $25 million in annual state funding.

While construction of the new $250 million facility, named the Circuit of the Americas, has been underway since January, there has much wrangling over whether or not $4 million in city funding should be placed into a state trust fund every year for the 10-year duration of the contract.

Eventually, the promoters agreed to pony up the $4 million in annual funding, opening the door for the city council's approval.

"It puts the city of Austin firmly on the international map," Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell told the Community Impact Newspaper. "Everybody in the world now is going to know a lot about Austin, Texas, and that potentially has economic benefits that we haven't thought of yet. We are competing against London and Paris and Tokyo and cities like that. We are in the big leagues. We gotta get over it; we are a big city now."

F1, the world's most popular racing series, last competed on American soil in 2007 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. IMS hosted an F1 event from 2000-2007.

The Austin event is tentatively slated to be held on June 17, 2012, but there is a push to move it to a cooler time of year.

Located southeast of downtown Austin, the Circuit of the Americas is a 3.4-mile track featuring 20 turns.

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