The next stage in legal proceedings was due to take place on Monday.
While no details have emerged, the Austin Statesman is reporting that an out-of-court settlement has been agreed upon in Tavo Hellmund's suit against the Circuit of the Americas.
The next stage in legal proceedings was due to take place on Monday.
You may have read my feature Ain't Never Gonna Happen, an article listing improbable grand prix bids in recent years which appeared in the latest issue of GP WEEK.
One of the unlikely races I mentioned was the Greek Grand Prix in Patras, which was announced with much fanfare in May 2011. Since that article was published I have been contacted by the representative of a second Greek Grand Prix bid.
Athanassios Papatheodorou emailed me yesterday to inform me that he was working with a project called Dielpis Formula1 that had been created with a view to putting together a realistic proposal for a race in Greece. Representatives from Dielpis met with Bernie Ecclestone in Monaco to discuss their bid.
I was sent a press release that had been issued in the aftermath of the meeting, and which has been copied in full below:
With the aim to promote the Greek Candidature for F1 races in the area of Drapetsona, DielpisFormula1 visited Monaco during the races. On Saturday May 26, 2012 a meeting took place between Mr. Bernie Ecclestone and DielpisFormula1 Project Manager.
The meeting lasted 30 minutes whereby the Project Manager
presented the proposal, its way of materialisation, as well as the, in general, political situation in Greece given that the latter is closely linked to the development of the Candidature.
Mr. Bernie Ecclestone was aware of the planning and stated that he supports the idea for F1 races in the area of Drapetsona and he shall pursue the materialisation of the project.
To this end, he shall visit the area where the circuit is planned to be constructed during the month of July, in order to go through all the details concerning the materialisation of the proposal.
The meeting was held in a very friendly atmosphere.
The proposal submitted by DielpisFormula1 regarding the hosting of F1 races in the area of Drapetsona is only a step away from realisation. For this, IT IS IMPERATIVE that all parties, regardless of their position, offer their full support, given that this project is of NATIONAL IMPORTANCE.
So the New York (I mean New Jersey, naturally, as that's where we'll all be staying) Grand Prix is under threat, says Bernie Ecclestone.
Or so say Christian Sylt and Carolyn Reid, two of Bernie's preferred mouthpieces. If their bylines are on an article, you can bet your bottom dollar that it's information Mr Ecclestone wants to have out in the public domain for a very specific reason.
So there's a need to put pressure on the New Jersey race organisers. The question is why.
According to Ecclestone, internal funding difficulties have lead to deadlines being missed.
But that's almost par for the course with new races. At least, it has been in recent years - the financial crisis means that promises made aren't always kept, and that seems to be the concern here.
The New Jersey race is scheduled to make its debut in 2013, which also happens to be the year of the state's next gubernatorial election. Incumbent governor, Republican Chris Christie, is eligible to run for re-election but has yet to state his intentions.
Christie has grand ambitions, and considered running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012.
This makes me wonder whether he's become nervous at the prospect of being associated with a big-ticket project in his state in the current US financial climate, and is dragging his heels when it comes to allowing various bits of paperwork to be rubber-stamped.
If that is the case, then a little bit of public pressure from Bernie - especially of the variety that might portray the state as impoverished, unreliable, or slow to make decisions - could be the pressure Christie needs to light a fire under the various project stakeholders.
Of course, all of this is just conjecture based on the fact that Bernie's always up to something, and it's usually not the obvious...
Looks like the fighting between Tavo Hellmund and the Circuit of the Americas is about to be kicked up another notch. Reports of the involvement of a spice weasel have yet to be confirmed.
The Austin Statesman requested last week that court records in the battle between the former US Grand Prix promoter and those currently running the project be unsealed in the public interest. This week, a Texan judge agreed to the unsealing.
But while the documents have a certain amount of interest, the real story is in the post-hearing comments made by the various legal and PR teams representing Hellmund and COTA.
Eric Wetzel, of Hellmund's legal team, released a statement that said: "If Bobby Epstein truly desires an efficient resolution of his dispute with Tavo Hellmund, as he now claims, he can simply honor the $18 million buyout agreement that he signed in September of 2011. If not, Tavo is prepared to amend his pleadings to include charges of fraud and other misdeeds, based on newly discovered evidence. We believe this evidence demonstrates that Mr. Epstein intended to force Tavo out of the F1 project from the beginning."
But COTA's lawyers are arguing that the whole suit is a nasty piece of spin generated by Hellmund in order to damage the race and increase the size of his settlement.
Because that makes so much sense.
"We believe the tactics Mr. Hellmund and his legal team have employed to date are meant to purposely generate negative public sentiment about Circuit of the Americas in hopes of extracting a large settlement," said COTA attorney Michael Whellan.
According to the Statesman, Red McCombs - the billionaire backer of the Texan GP project - may be little more than figurehead. Details of McCombs' involvement can be found in the Statesman's article on the hearing.
"These are two major documents that are foundations to this project," Hellmund's lawyer Austin Tighe told the Statesman. "We have him (McCombs) being the financial face in press conferences and roof toppings, but based on what was presented today, he has very little, if any, involvement in this project."
Much like those rusting shopping trolleys that grace riverbeds throughout the British Isles, the French Grand Prix is dead in the water.
But - much like those shopping trolleys - with a little cash and some concerted effort, there is the chance of bringing the French Grand Prix back into service. The dodo this ain't.
Following Francois Hollande's victory in the French presidential election at the beginning of May, the vast majority of F1 observers assumed that the race was off. After all, France is on an austerity drive, grands prix are generally considered frivolous, and no contracts had been signed.
Bernie Ecclestone was initially confident the outcome of the election would not have a negative effect on the French race, but the F1 supremo has now said it's off.
"The French have had enough opportunity to make it happen and didn't," Ecclestone said. "They promised all these things like the streets of Paris and Disney. It's very political. I don't know if would have been different if Sarkozy had been re-elected. I have no idea. Whilst he was in power they could have signed.
"They have had a contract and all they had to do is sign. They never reached an agreement with Ricard anyway but it would need investment to build up grandstands and the Paddock Club isn't big enough."
It's not a great time to be a Formula One race - wherever you look they're dropping like flies.
We've got four established venues in danger: Spa, Barcelona, Valencia, and the Nurburgring, and uncertainty surrounding the proposed race in France.
But wait! There's more! According to a report by RIA Novosti, the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi isn't looking in the best of health...
Apparently Russia's recent elections are having a negative effect on the Sochi race, and hardly any construction work has been done at the site since March.
March saw a reshuffle in the Sochi regional government, and ever since activity at the track has dried up, Igor Yermilin, adviser with the Russian Automobile Federation, told the Russian news agency.
Despite these delays, Yermilin is confident the Russian Grand Prix will go ahead as scheduled.
"I have no doubts that this event will be held successfully," he said. "Our country has never failed in delivering such big international events, nor has it neglected its obligations. Especially considering Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has become our president."
But there have long been mutterings in the paddock that the Sochi Grand Prix is being lined up to fail so that a more convenient location closer to Moscow or St Petersburg can swoop in and save the day at the last minute. The paddock rumour mill is often wrong, but Russia moves in mysterious ways, so who knows?
And then there's Korea. While it's not official, it's generally accepted in the paddock that this will be our last year in Mokpo.
Despite Bernie Ecclestone's earlier confidence that the result of the French election would have no bearing on the return of the French Grand Prix, it appears that the race is now off.
"I have no idea. No idea what they are doing. It's a funny arrangement they were making anyway. So I just don't know," Ecclestone told Reuters correspondent Alan Baldwin in the Barcelona paddock this afternoon.
The deal to bring Formula One back to Magny-Cours was announced over the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, with Ecclestone asserting that the race would happen even though the contracts had yet to be signed.
Before France went to the polls, Francois Hollande said that in the event of a victory for his party he would review the grand prix proposal supported by his opponent, the then-incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy.
And while the newly elected Hollande has yet to make any official statements on the race, it now appears that - should the grand prix go head - it is likely to take place in the socialist heartland of Magny-Cours, a stronghold for Hollande's party.
Previous negotiations centred on hosting the race at Circuit Paul Ricard, which is owned by the Ecclestone family trust.
Should Magny-Cours secure the French Grand Prix, it will be at a much higher cost than the bargain-basement prices Ecclestone offered Paul Ricard.
As a consequence, it is looking increasingly likely that there won't be a race - and certainly not as early as 2013 - given that part of Hollande's remit is to rescue the French economy from the doldrums.
Bernie Ecclestone was typically confident when he confirmed the return of the French Grand Prix ten days ago, announcing that the race was on while admitting that not all the paperwork had yet been signed.
"We have a deal," Ecclestone told French newspaper L'Equipe. "We agreed on the financial terms with the sports minister, David Douillet, who visited me on Tuesday.
"We are just discussing a few money details related to the race: ‘You give me this, I want that’. But – for me – there is no doubt, we will sign it now."
Insiders viewed the news with some suspicion - not only was the timing a way of generating some positive F1 news over the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, but Ecclestone made his announcement as French voters were flocking to the polls to cast their votes in the first round of the national elections.
And while most might think that a change of government is exactly the sort of thing that could lead to expensive, unsigned contracts being dumped at the first possible opportunity, Ecclestone was confident this would not be the case where the French Grand Prix was concerned.
"Whatever happens [in the voting booth], I don't care," Ecclestone said. "That's a domestic issue that doesn't concern me."
But concern him it does, with the news that first-round winner Francois Hollande has said that if he wins the presidency, the proposed grand prix will come under immediate review.
Incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy has guaranteed the race should he win re-election.
Much as I hate to make such an admission, it looks as though I might have been wrong. Savour this moment, as I don't do mea culpa very often.
Still, it's an excuse to shoehorn yet another Evita reference into this week's writing, so who am I to complain?
And the money kept rolling in from every side
When the money keeps rolling in, you don't ask how
Think of all the people guaranteed a good time now
And the money kept rolling out in all directions
To the poor, to the weak, to the destitute of all complexions
Now cynics claim a little of the cash has gone astray
But that's not the point my friends
When the money keeps rolling out you don't keep books
You can tell you've done well by the happy grateful looks
Accountants only slow things down, figures get in the way
Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has made a habit of using public funds to secure her popularity, in an echo of the tactics used by the infamous Eva Peron in the 1940s and early '50s.
Peron used public funds to secure the adoration of that self-same public through the Fundación María Eva Duarte de Perón, providing her descamisados with all manner of benefits, from the useful (homes, hospitals, employment, education) to the more frivolous (money for holidays).
It was a masterstroke of political PR, and gave Evita saint-like status among her supporters.
Kirchner has been using public money in a similar attempt to secure popular support, but the president's efforts have been more circenses, less panem.
In 2009, Kirchner nationalised Argentine football broadcasting, making the country's most popular sport accessible to all through FTA television. In her next move, she nationalised coverage of Argentine motorsport.
The public are still paying to watch football and racecars, of course, but they're now doing so through taxation, and not via satellite subscriptions.
The latest attempt to curry public favour comes via the proposed Argentine Grand Prix, which is now looking highly likely, to the extent that the paddock rumour mill claims we'll be rocking up to Mar del Plata in 2013. The race is expected to be twinned with Interlagos at the end of the year.
Of course, to claim that Kirchner is all circus and no bread is to do the Argentine president a disservice.
Like her heroine Evita (Kirchner often uses pictures of Eva Peron as backdrops to her public speeches), the incumbent president has worked to improve both social inclusion and economic development.
In 2010, Kirchner legalized gay marriage in Argentina. A year earlier, she implemented the Universal Child Allowance, from which approximately 10 percent of the population is said to benefit.