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Austin F1 race confirmed for 2012 calendar

The 2012 U.S. Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas is no longer in jeopardy of losing its November 18 date on next year's Formula One calendar.

According to a news release from the FIA's World Motor Sport Council on Wednesday, "The 2012 FIA Formula One World Championship calendar was confirmed as previously published." The WMSC held its final meeting of the year in New Delhi.

The FIA released a confirmed calendar for the 2012 season in August, with the date of the USGP switched from June 17 to Nov. 18, making it the penultimate race of the season. But the USGP was in danger of being removed from the schedule due to financial reasons.

F1's top boss Bernie Ecclestone set a final deadline of December 7 for organizers of the USGP to submit a payment for its agreed sanctioning fee. Organizers failed to make the payment on its due date. Construction of the $250 million, 3.4-mile race facility had been suspended for several weeks. It has now resumed.

"Mr. Ecclestone received his check today," Red McCombs, chairman of McCombs Enterprises and founding partner of the Austin track, said in a statement. "We want to thank the fans supporting us, the local officials and businesses that have encouraged us, the State of Texas, Circuit of The Americas' staff and Bernie himself."

McCombs is also the co-founder of Clear Channel Communications, as well as former owner of the San Antonio Spurs, Denver Nuggets and Minnesota Vikings.

The USGP was first held in 1961 on the Watkins Glen, NY road course. Watkins Glen hosted the race until 1980. Long Beach, CA, Las Vegas, Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix were host cities until Indianapolis Motor Speedway added a road course inside its famed 2.5-mile oval and held the event from 2000-07.

In May 2010, Austin was named as the host city for the USGP until 2021. Race promoter Tavo Hellmund, who has close ties with F1, helped in bringing the USGP to Texas' capital city.

"Our investors have believed all along that this project has tremendous benefit for our region, and provides a strong economic engine for the future," Bobby Epstein, who is also a founding partner of the track, said. "We remain committed to reaching our goal of being valuable community partners, as we establish a platform for sports and entertainment. We're glad that Tavo's vision of bringing F1 to the people of Texas will become a reality."

The U.S. will have two F1 grand prix starting in 2013. In October, plans were revealed for an event to be contested on a 3.2-mile street circuit that runs along the banks of the Hudson River in the New Jersey cities of Weehawken and West New York. The Manhattan skyline will be its backdrop.