Austin health official casts further doubt on US GP

Austin's senior public health official says that large events are unlikely to take place in the Texan city before the end of the year, casting further doubt on the US Grand Prix, which is still scheduled for October 25.

Austin health official casts further doubt on US GP

Austin is now operating to Stage 3 of its reopening plan after an initial lockdown, which allows groups of up to 10 "low risk" people to gather. That status would have to move to Stage 1 before major events are even considered.

The Circuit of the Americas remains closed, although it hosted a charity event earlier this month, when members of the public were allowed to pay to drive a lap of the circuit.

Dr Mark Escott, the interim medical director and the health authority for Austin Public Health, stressed that allowing large gatherings is not a priority.

"The large events are the first thing that we turned off and are going to be the last thing we're going to turn back on because of that risk of exposing lots of people to one another, particularly individuals of the same household," he told the Austin-Statesman.

"We are working on a plan to help forecast what we think is going to be reasonable, but looking through the end of December, we don't have any indications at this stage that we would be able to mitigate risk enough to have large events, particularly ones [with] over 2,500 [people]."

Read Also:

However, Escott said an improvement in COVID-19 case numbers might change the situation.

"I think that's incentive for us to work hard at that social distancing, work hard at ensuring that people who are sick stay home and if they're staying home, they're directed to testing, so that we can get a handle on this.

"We really all as a community have to be focused on the goal of ensuring, number one, that things stay open and, number two, that we get ourselves in a situation which will allow us to open the window even more in the future, particularly in the fall."

Aside from the local regulations, COTA is in a difficult situation because its race-hosting fee is underwritten by the Texas State Major Events Trust Fund programme, on the basis that race visitors bring money to the city, and pay local taxes.

Thus even if a race held behind closed doors with no fans is allowed by the local authorities, it would almost certainly not be eligible for the state funding.

F1 is understood to be keen to still receive hosting fees from flyaway races, in order to mitigate the transport costs involved, while making more favourable arrangements with European promoters.

COTA boss Bobby Epstein would not elaborate on the current prospects for the race.

"I really can't comment," he told Motorsport.com. "But right now, the law prohibits gatherings of any significant size, and our business is not allowed to open."

shares
comments
Bottas, Ocon join Formula 1's Virtual GP grid
Previous article

Bottas, Ocon join Formula 1's Virtual GP grid

Next article

From rage to redemption: Ricciardo on his standout F1 moments

From rage to redemption: Ricciardo on his standout F1 moments
Load comments
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Prime

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. James Newbold hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwart.

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Prime

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022
How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner Prime

How “abysmal” reliability blunted Brabham’s first winner

Brabham’s first world championship race-winning car was held back by unreliable Climax engines – or so its creators believed, as STUART CODLING explains

Formula 1
Jan 10, 2022
The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season Prime

The steps Norris took to reach a new level in the 2021 F1 season

Lando Norris came of age as a grand prix driver in 2021. McLaren’s young ace is no longer an apprentice or a quietly capable number two – he’s proved himself a potential winner in the top flight and, as Stuart Codling finds out, he’s ready to stake his claim to greatness…

Formula 1
Jan 9, 2022
How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1 Prime

How Fangio set the bar for Schumacher and Hamilton in F1

Juan Manuel Fangio, peerless on track and charming off it, established the gold standard of grand prix greatness. Nigel Roebuck recalls a remarkable champion.

Formula 1
Jan 8, 2022
How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam Prime

How Russell sees his place in the Mercedes-Hamilton F1 superteam

George Russell joining Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes this year gives it arguably the best line-up in Formula 1 – if it can avoid too many fireworks. After serving his apprenticeship at Williams, Russell is the man that Mercedes team believes can lead it in the post-Hamilton era, but how will he fare against the seven-time champion? Motorsport.com heard from the man himself

Formula 1
Jan 6, 2022
How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications Prime

How F1 pulled off its second pandemic season and its 2022 implications

OPINION: The Formula 1 season just gone was the second to be completed under the dreaded shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, but in many ways it was much more ‘normal’ than 2020. Here’s the story of how the championship’s various organisers delivered a second challenging campaign, which offers a glimpse at what may be different next time around

Formula 1
Jan 5, 2022
The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future Prime

The adapt or die mentality that will shape F1's future

As attitudes towards the motor car and what powers it change, Formula 1 must adapt its offering. Mark Gallagher ponders the end of fossil fuels

Formula 1
Jan 3, 2022