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GP Week : Issue 93
DURANGO is remaining optimistic that it can become Formula One's 13th team in 2011, with the FIA due to announce the sport's newest teams later this month. Durango has teamed up with former F1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve to apply for the 13th team berth on next year's grid and team manager Ivone Pinton insists the team has already begun work on their F1 preparations. "We aren't assured to be in yet, but we are working as if we will be at the start of the 2011 season," Pinton told Autosprint magazine. "Durango has an FIA constructor's license, so we don't need certifications should we decide to work autonomously. "Obviously I can't yet reveal all the contacts we have, but I can say that, on the economics side, the group of backers is very mixed and geographically it comes from different places -- for example a Libyan company interested to get into F1." He added that he was optimistic for the future, with fewer and fewer teams now still in the running: "When both myself and Jacques Villeneuve reciprocally learned we both lodged entries, we spoke to each other immediately, and the needs of both parties were the same. "We both had letters of intent from partners and backers, but not enough to support the single projects. By putting everything together, instead, we've been able to put the pieces of the puzzle together and that allows us to look at the future with a good dose of optimism." Durango optimistic of 2011 F1 slot Already working on programme F1 NEWS >> Austin reveals circuit site and main investor UNITED States Grand Prix organisers have revealed the site of the new permanent race track in Austin is to the south east of the city, close to Austin Bergstrom airport, and named some of the investors backing the 2012 race. On Tuesday promoter Tavo Hellmund confirmed that well-known American entrepreneur Red McCombs is helping to bankroll the event. 82 year-old McCombs made his fortune from car dealerships and has interests in media, real estate and energy. He has owned several high-profile sports teams, including the San Antonio Spurs. He has personally reassured Bernie Ecclestone the circuit will be ready on time: "Bernie said: 'How do you think you are going to get a facility built in Austin in time for the 2012 race'. I told him remember you are talking about doing this in Texas -- we are not talking about doing it anywhere else. We have that reputation." Also involved are Prophet Capital Management, an Austin-based investment company, and former 500cc world champion Kevin Schwantz. Hellmund is satisfied the Wandering Creek location will be perfect: "I wanted to make sure that we were the best location for the United States Grand Prix," said Hellmund. "How you do that is by having the right location and the right connectivity -- and the location is something we have been working on for at least a year and a half." Hellmund said he believed the Austin event would succeed, whereas other United States events had failed, because it was being run on a permanent track. "People have been commenting that F1 hasn't stuck in the United States, but that is actually completely inaccurate," he said. "F1 was immensely successful from 1960 to 1980 when it was at a permanent road course facility." bitions 11