As reported here yesterday, Circuit of the Americas announced this morning that they will host a race on next year’s F1 calendar. In a photo finish, and after weeks of delays, missed contract deadlines and most recently a complete halt to work on the circuit itself, COTA has forged a new contract in a last minute deal with rights holder Bernie Ecclestone. The first purpose built F1 circuit in the United States brings back the sport to America after a 5 year hiatus.
“Our investors have believed all along that this project has tremendous benefit for our region, and provides a strong economic engine for the future,” stated Bobby Epstein, founding partner of Circuit of The Americas and credited by founder Red McCombs for today’s outcome. “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.”
Read COTA’s full statement here
Details of the new deal have not been made public, and construction is set to resume immediately on site.
“We have a substantial number of fans who have expressed interest in buying tickets and hospitality, so today is a win for all of them as much as it is for Circuit of The Americas,” said COTA president Steve Sexton. “We encourage everyone to visit our website and register for information. Registered fans will receive the first communication regarding ticket sales plans. In a matter of weeks we will have more exciting news as we unveil our full calendar of world class events.”
For more on ticketing and informational updates, visit Circuit of the Americas on the web, Facebook and twitter.
The run up to tomorrow’s deadline for an agreement between Formula 1 and Circuit of the Americas (COTA) has been full of twists and turns, and American F1 fans have been waiting by the finish line this week for news that the 2012 race in Austin will go ahead as announced. The American Statesman has been keeping a close eye on events last month surrounding the story in Austin, and for many it’s time for a recap.
A win tomorrow for COTA means a win for Austin and American fans with a race in November 2012, but it wasn’t long after construction was interrupted earlier this year that observers noted it was going to be it’s own race to complete. The project was underfunded and delayed, and with a complete stoppage of work at the site due to a reshuffle at the top, all eyes are now waiting and watching for COTA to take the last corner on the last lap and finish what they’ve set out to do.
Americans love an underdog, and since the announcement of the Grand Prix of America, a new F1 race in New Jersey overlooking the Manhattan skyline in June of 2013, it’s been positioned to steal COTA’s thunder as the first F1 race in the US in more than half a decade if COTA is dropped from the calendar next year. FOM’s rightsholder, Bernie Ecclestone, has been a lightning rod for much of the ire around the Austin race delays, and the announcement tomorrow is expected to either put COTA ahead of their well-financed contenders from New Jersey, or make them the second Formula 1 race in the US in over half a decade.
A second place finish to the New Jersey race won’t take COTA out of the running for 2013, and regardless of outcome tomorrow it’s critical for everyone involved with this project, and especially the fans, to address the expectations set for F1’s return to Austin and match the passion and enthusiasm American fans have for the sport here.
The picture is much bigger than a one-off event or launch, and is about the ten year plan to create a new American home for F1 – one that is going to be supported by hundreds of millions and hopefully billions of reasons fans and business bring with them to ensure its longevity in Austin.