In the event that Formula One requests it, the boss of the United States Grand Prix is open to holding two races in 2021 in order to fill the void left by the cancellation of the Singapore Grand Prix.
This year’s Circuit of the Americas (COTA) event will take place in Austin on Oct. 24.
Singapore’s Oct. 3 race has been cancelled, while the status of the Japanese Grand Prix on Oct. 10 remains unclear – the organisers will decide after the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
COTA, a permanent race facility which made its F1 debut in 2012, was suggested as a way to fill out the calendar. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic last year, the United States Grand Prix was cancelled, and the circuit lost 95 per cent of its revenue.
Bobby Epstein, the circuit’s chief executive, said it’s easy to schedule two races in two weekends if F1 decides that is the best course of action.
“As long as I put the word possible in front of it, then we’re good,” Epstein told ESPN. “‘A second race in Austin is possible’ – I read that and thought, well that’s true.
“A second race in Austin is a done deal – that is not true.
“But it’s easy to flip it if they decide they want to and they need to and it’s the best decision for the sport, they can make that decision and we’re there for that.”
As a permanent circuit, Epstein pointed out that holding a second race would not be problematic.
“The fact we’re a permanent race track, that’s easy.
“So then the question is when you take it from a race to an event. Now you have to tell me what you want in that event, then I can tell you what I can do.
“We’ve thousands of people who work these events, people who work concession stands, direct traffic, clean up, set up, whatever it is. The demand we know is here, thanks to some great growth in the sport in its popularity, the demand would be there and it could be pulled off”.
There has been talk of holding a stand-in race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), which has not hosted an F1 race since 2007. As of earlier this month, discussion around such a possibility has not yet begun, according to a circuit spokesperson.
Even if the second U.S. race falls a week before or after Epstein’s event, he would have no problem with IMS hosting it.
“If that’s what’s best for them, that’s what we want. It’s easy, then they don’t have to do the freight twice.
“We don’t have the frost or freezing risk in Austin in October, it’s easier in Austin. But if the numbers look better for F1, as a shareholder, they should do what’s best for the sport both in the long term and the short term.”