COTA expects US GP decision to involve Canada, Mexico

Circuit of the Americas boss Bobby Epstein says it’s too early to make a call on the fate of the 2020 United States Grand Prix – and he’s in no hurry to get a decision from the Formula 1 organisation.

COTA expects US GP decision to involve Canada, Mexico

The race is still theoretically on the calendar in its original October 25 date, and is potentially part of a run of up to four races on the continent. 

It could be preceded by the Canadian GP, which is being teed up for October 11 if a deal can be agreed with the local authorities, and then followed by Mexico on November 1 and Brazil on November 8. None of the dates have yet been confirmed by F1, and further clarity on what happens after the Italian GP on September 6 is expected soon.

Scheduling flyaway races is more complicated than those in Europe, because of the complex and costly transport arrangements. F1 is keen for the long-haul events to provide finance, even if they don’t pay the usual fee for a race with spectators.

Read Also:

COTA is in an especially difficult situation because the race is funded by the Texas state, and that support is derived from tax dollars spent by visiting fans. In addition, the region has been hit by a recent surge in Covid-19 cases.

“I don’t know if we can say the race is on or the race is off,” Epstein told Motorsport.com. “A decision is going to be made, but it hasn’t been made yet. I think F1 are making all the plans to have a race, if they can have a race. We don’t have to press for an answer.

“I feel for Chase [Carey], and all the things that he’s having to balance, and I do trust that he’s going to make as many destinations as possible while still not getting people and teams stuck and not able to make the next event, or to have to cancel one at the last minute.”

Epstein says that COTA does not require a long lead time to organise a behind-closed-doors event.

“For us it’s easy to put on a race with very short notice – we probably need three weeks,” he said. “We’re ready to go, just put on the lights. F1 has plans for how they separate teams and work with limited staff. 

“Bringing in a crowd takes more planning and more time in hiring and preparation. They can wait until the very last minute to decide whether to have a no-crowd race here, but I don’t think they are going to wait until the very last minute, I think they are going to make a decision soon, based not just on Austin, but Mexico and Canada.

“You have to trust that they’re going to do what’s in the long-term interest of the business, and that definition is going to be different this year than in a normal year. I think if they can stay in a narrow area [Europe] and run all the races, I support that. If they can come to Texas as part of a tour through North America, I would love that.”

Read Also:

Epstein acknowledged that the commercial aspect was an important consideration for COTA.

“We’re no different to any other promoter, we have to have what works for us. Maybe the definitions of what works is different from one venue to another.

“My interest is to see the sport do well and stay healthy, and we’re all united on that. If that means not having a race one year at our venue, then it still accomplishes the long-term goal. 

“If it means as promoters we have to make sacrifices from a financial standpoint, I think everyone’s willing to do that. It just depends on what’s actually asked, and what can be done. One thing we all share is the common interest to see F1 survive what is going to be a very tough year. 

“But I think the fans all realise that, and as a promoter I realise the effort they’re having to make and what they’re having to go through, I appreciate what they’re doing. The uncertainty right now is OK.”

Epstein says he’s had no dialogue with the local or state authorities about the race: “I actually haven’t had conversations with them. There’s no reason to even have that conversation with them at this point.”

shares
comments

Related video

Ferrari to run testing-spec car in Austria ahead of big revamp

Previous article

Ferrari to run testing-spec car in Austria ahead of big revamp

Next article

Race of my Life: Emerson Fittipaldi on the 1972 Italian GP

Race of my Life: Emerson Fittipaldi on the 1972 Italian GP
Load comments
Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1 Prime

Why dumping the MGU-H is the right move for F1

OPINION: With its days apparently numbered, the MGU-H looks set to be dropped from Formula 1’s future engine rules in order to entice new manufacturers in. While it may appear a change of direction, the benefits for teams and fans could make the decision a worthwhile call

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots Prime

The floundering fortunes of F1’s many Lotus reboots

Team Lotus ceased to exist in 1994 - and yet various parties have been trying to resurrect the hallowed name, in increasingly unrecognisable forms, ever since. Damien Smith brings GP Racing’s history of the legendary team to an end with a look at those who sought to keep the flame alive in Formula 1.

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background Prime

Why the 2021 title fight is far from F1's worst, despite its toxic background

OPINION: Formula 1 reconvenes for the Russian Grand Prix two weeks after the latest blow in ‘Max Verstappen vs Lewis Hamilton’. While the Silverstone and Monza incidents were controversial, they thankfully lacked one element that so far separates the 2021 title fight from the worst examples of ugly championship battles

Formula 1
Sep 22, 2021
How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus Prime

How Mika Hakkinen thrived at Lotus

Mika Hakkinen became Michael Schumacher’s biggest rival in Formula 1 in the late-90s and early 2000s, having also made his F1 debut in 1991. But as MARK GALLAGHER recalls, while Schumacher wowed the world with a car that was eminently capable, Hakkinen was fighting to make his mark with a famous team in terminal decline

Formula 1
Sep 21, 2021
The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey  Prime

The forgotten F1 comeback that began Jordan’s odyssey 

Before Michael Schumacher – or anyone else – had driven the 191 (or 911 as it was initially called), Eddie Jordan turned to a fellow Irishman to test his new Formula 1 car. JOHN WATSON, a grand prix winner for Penske and McLaren, recalls his role in the birth of a legend…

Formula 1
Sep 20, 2021
The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog Prime

The squandered potential of a 70s F1 underdog

A podium finisher in its first outing but then never again, the BRM P201 was a classic case of an opportunity squandered by disorganisation and complacency, says Stuart Codling.

Formula 1
Sep 18, 2021
The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from Prime

The other notable Monza escape that F1 should learn from

OPINION: The headlines were dominated by the Italian Grand Prix clash between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, who had the halo to thank for avoiding potentially serious injury. But two days earlier, Formula 1 had a lucky escape with a Monza pitlane incident that could also have had grave consequences.

Formula 1
Sep 17, 2021
How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum Prime

How Monza only added more questions to F1's sprint race conundrum

With two sprint races under its belt, Formula 1 must now consider its options for them going forward. While they've helped deliver exciting racing on Sundays, the sprints themselves have been somewhat lacking - creating yet another conundrum for F1 to solve...

Formula 1
Sep 16, 2021