US Grand Prix promoter Bobby Epstein thinks that a double-header in Austin this season could be “something special” – but wasn’t initially aware it was a potential plan.
The Circuit of the Americas was down to host one race of the 2021 season, but after the cancellation of the Singapore Grand Prix, there has been talk of a double-header taking place there instead.
Epstein says that this came as a surprise to him and his colleagues initially, but that the sport has since approached them, although serious discussions haven’t taken place yet.
“It was a complete surprise to hear that and to read that in the press,” he told RACER.
“And I think if it was intended then the way you would know that it wasn’t pure speculation is we would have been prepared for all the incoming questions and calls and requests for tickets and vendors and track rentals who all had questions about what’s happening!
“So we woke up to that on the morning that it all came out. The only conversation that was ever had about it was one that every promoter — that has a permanent circuit at least — who has had a race on the calendar over the last two seasons has had, which is, ‘If we wanted to do it, would it be possible?’
“At some point, it was just asked, ‘if we had the situation, would you guys be interested?’ and we said ‘sure.’ That was weeks ago. We’ve talked since but not really on that subject because I don’t think they’re [F1] really at the point where they’re ready to discuss that. I have the feeling they have their hands full.”
While they haven’t seriously considered the prospect yet though, Epstein is confident that, if two races do go ahead at the circuit, it will be good for both them and the circuit.
“If it were good for the sport we’d do all we could do, and I think it would be good,” he added.
“We want them to be healthy financially, we want the fans to consume as much Formula 1 excitement as they can — so that’s a positive — and it would mean more hotel rooms and visitors to our city. So all in all if the opportunity is there we should try and see if we can make it work.
“There is potential to do something special. There are activations and sponsors that could really engage and get into the possibility of 10 days of Formula 1, or potentially more.
“I think we’d have more people interested in putting together and putting on more activation, exhibitions, displays — I think we could activate the whole city around it downtown by creating a big F1 fan zone that would really make for a spectacular event.”