Texas circuit says US Grand Prix a go in October
Los Angeles (AFP)
The Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, will host the US Grand Prix on October 23, track chief executive Bobby Epstein said on Wednesday.
"October 21-23, the Circuit of the Americas in Austin will once again be home to the only Formula One Grand Prix in the United States," Epstein said in a press conference, adding that this year's race week would also feature a concert by pop diva Taylor Swift.
The race had been listed on F1's provisional schedule with an asterisk, meaning it could still be cut from the 21-race slate, apparently because the final fees had not been paid from the circuit to the governing body.
The race had been thrown into doubt after the office of Texas governor Greg Abbott announced last year that the state's funding contribution to COTA from its Major Events Fund was being cut by approximately $6 million.
Track officials thought that they had a deal in place with the state for $25 million annually for 10 years, with much of that money going toward the fees imposed by the sanctioning body.
Last year poor weather pushed down attendance for the race weekend in the Texas capital.
This year organizers will no doubt be hoping to boost the crowds by adding the Swift concert -- to be held after qualifying.
Epstein also noted that the new US Haas F1 team could also pique interest among American motor-racing fans more familiar with NASCAR stock car racing and IndyCar.
"We are so happy to confirm F1's return to COTA, as well as Taylor Swift's headline performance," Epstein said. "We can't think of a better way to mark this important five-year milestone for F1 in Austin."
© 2016 AFP