COTA might not be the only F1 game in U.S. come 2019


Austin, meet Miami.

If Formula One has its way, the two cities will be linked, each having a Grand Prix as early as next year in the world’s most glamorous motorsports series.

Circuit of the Americas has been the exclusive U.S. home for F1 since 2012. Mexico City and Montreal also have races. Formula One announced Wednesday it is pushing for a street race in Miami.

“Miami’s status as one of the world’s most iconic and glamorous cities, combined with its robust tourism infrastructure, makes Miami the perfect destination for Formula One and its fans,” said Sean Bratches, F1’s managing director for commercial operations.

The Miami city council will vote next week on a proposal to formalize plans to pursue a deal, which Mayor Francis Suarez called “the first step,” with a final vote likely over the summer.

COTA management has known for years that a second U.S. race was coming. Chairman Bobby Epstein told the American-Statesman on multiple occasions that while his track might take a short-term hit in attendance, the long-term outlook would be positive with two annual F1 events raising the sport’s profile in the States.

Neither Epstein nor COO Katja Heim could be reached for comment Wednesday, but neither is a fan of trying to start a new street race.

“If you’re looking over your hotel balcony in Monte Carlo, Baku or Singapore, it’s pretty cool,” Heim told the Statesman over the winter. “In a new city without that kind of setup? The racing is totally boring.

“It’s also extremely expensive. To have a downtown F1 race, the initial cost is around $200 million. Then each year another $60 million. And the regulatory part of it is nearly impossible.”

Suarez told the Associated Press he expects “99 percent” of financing to come from private sources with any city funds coming it at $500,000 or less.

Epstein told the Statesman last fall that street races are difficult in person.

“There are very few opportunities to overtake,” he said. “You can’t see hardly any of the course, as well. From COTA, you get to see as many as 10 turns. On a street course, the car goes by and then it’s out of sight.

“But in the long run a second U.S. race will help us. It keeps the sport in front of people and will build more fans.”

Early indications are that the Miami race will be run in close proximity to the U.S. and Mexican Grand Prixs.

“If you put the events together, it can kind of mitigate travel expenses,” Bratches told the Statesman last October. “Doing a second race on the East Coast, in Miami or New York, rather than out West makes more sense to me because they come into Europe at a more favorable hour. Europe is our biggest market.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Sports

No clear winner in latest McKalla Place soccer debate
No clear winner in latest McKalla Place soccer debate

If McKalla Place is the right place for Major League Soccer in Austin, a number of skeptics still need to be convinced. Three weeks from a critical City Council meeting, speakers squared off Thursday night in point/counterpoint style about whether Austin should swing a stadium deal with Precourt Sports Ventures to move Columbus Crew SC into the city-owned...
Alberto’s triple leads Round Rock to win over Colorado Springs

Hanser Alberto hit a run-scoring triple in the eighth inning, leading the Round Rock Express to a 4-3 win over the Colorado Springs Sky Sox in a Pacific Coast League game Thursday night at Colorado Springs, Colo. The triple by Alberto capped a two-run inning and gave the Express a 4-3 lead after Juan Centeno hit a sacrifice fly earlier in the inning...
Our 10th annual Top 25 countdown: SEC heavyweight Auburn hoping things break its way
Our 10th annual Top 25 countdown: SEC heavyweight Auburn hoping things break its way

Sure, it’s July. But it’s never too early to talk college football. Here’s your daily fix — our annual countdown of the preseason Top 25, as selected by the American-Statesman sports staff. Last year’s eventual CFP semifinalists were ranked Nos. 1, 5, 8 and 14 on our 2017 list. Our Top 25 &mdash...
The Dotted Line: Ranking Texas’ 13 commitments for the 2019 recruiting class
The Dotted Line: Ranking Texas’ 13 commitments for the 2019 recruiting class

Stay updated on  latest Texas Longhorns recruiting news brought to you by Longhorns recruiting beat writer Mike Craven of Hookem.com . The Dotted Line will publish M-F at 10 a.m. each morning to provide Texas fans with an in-depth look at the latest for the Longhorns on the recruiting...
Are the Nationals playoffs contenders? A lot would need to change ... and soon
Are the Nationals playoffs contenders? A lot would need to change ... and soon

What is wrong with the Washington Nationals? Fans are asking that question because the Nats have been the most disappointing team in baseball this season. Washington was supposed to be a powerhouse, but so far the team's record is a mediocre 48-48 (48 wins, 48 losses). So what's wrong with the Nats? Let's take a look. Pitching: Pitching was supposed...
More Stories