COTA ‘pretty optimistic’ of 2022 calendar slot

Jon Wilde
Grid scene at COTA before the US Grand Prix. Austin November 2019.

Scene at the Circuit of the Americas before the United States Grand Prix. Austin November 2019.

Circuit of the Americas chairman Bobby Epstein is “pretty optimistic” of agreeing a new contract for Austin to remain on the Formula 1 calendar.

That is despite Miami having been added to next year’s schedule and talk of a race in Las Vegas in 2023 or 2024.

The United States Grand Prix was first held at COTA in 2012 after the venue had been awarded a 10-year contract which expires this year, even though the 2020 edition was unable to take place due to the pandemic.

But it looks highly unlikely Austin will be dropped due to the popularity of the event – Epstein believes the grand prix weekend from October 22-24 is set to be “the biggest event on the planet this year” in terms of the attendance.

Also, Stefano Domenicali, the Formula 1 CEO, has made it clear he sees more races in the US rather than fewer, with the European-based action more likely to be scaled back.

Regarding negotiations about a new F1 contract, Epstein told Autoweek: “I have a non-disclosure so I can’t really say too much, but I’m pretty optimistic we’re going to get there.”

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Epstein is unconcerned about where his circuit’s race fits into the roster, marking the last of what are expected to be three trips across the Atlantic next year.

A leaked draft calendar indicates the new Miami Grand Prix will take place in May – which the event themselves have confirmed – followed by a separate journey to Canada the following month and then the usual United States/Mexico/Brazil sequence in October/November.


Speaking about Miami being scheduled for May, Epstein said: “I think where it sits on the calendar, it’s a nice bookend for us. Both events are so uniquely different that I think we’ll be complementary. I’m happy about the date. I think we’ll deliver so much more F1 to the fans.

“And I think we are pretty comfortable in our skin at this point. I can’t believe how fast time has gone but we’ve developed a tradition and a history.

“It was [nearly] a decade ago we had our first race and we’ve seen fans come back year after year and camp in the same spot in the campgrounds, and we’ve seen the campgrounds grow with new people who come in, and I don’t think that atmosphere will change.

“I think we could have just kept selling tickets if we had room. Even so, I think it will be the biggest event on the planet this year since the Olympics couldn’t have fans. I think we are well over 350,000 people for the weekend.”