NEW YORK, July 24 – The cancellation of the US Grand Prix is a big loss to Texas, but Austin’s Circuit of the Americas wants to attract more fans next year, promoter Bobby Epstein said yesterday after Formula 1 was announced.
The sport has dropped all four races in the Americas due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a blow to the sport’s hopes in a region he believes is key to future growth.
The absence of Mexico, Canada and Brazil from the calendar also means that 2020 is the first season that the global sport, whose championship started in 1950, has not had a round in America.
“Last year we sold out, we expected to sell out this year, and hopefully next year we will make room for even greater capacity,” Epstein told Austin’s US statesman.
Epstein said that the only U.S. race, organized on the Austin circuit since 2012, had an estimated direct impact of $ 392 million on the local economy and $ 880 million in direct, indirect and induced expenses.
The MotoGP motorcycle series had already canceled its round at COTA this month, the only purpose-built F1 venue in the United States.
Epstein said everyone agreed that it was too risky to spend millions shipping cargo to Texas in the current climate.
“You would really bet now that the situation will get a lot better, and I don’t think anyone is willing to place that bet,” he said.
Austin may not be the only U.S. race when Formula 1 returns, with Miami second place for 2021.
The Indianapolis 500 was included as part of the Championship from its first season in 1950 to 1960, and a U.S. Grand Prix took place in various locations from 1959 to 1991 and then again from 2000-07 before returning in 2012.
Sao Paulo Mayor Bruno Covas said he respected the decision to cancel.
The Interlagos contract will expire this year, but Covas said talks with F1 for 2021 have continued.
Canadian Grand Prix president Francois Dumontier told CBC that his race, a home game for Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and Williams’ Nicholas Latifi, needed spectators to make it financially viable.
“The turning point was when public health authorities said that if the event were to take place it would have to be spectatorless,” he said. – Reuters