COTA must stay on Formula 1 calendar


This is not F1’s intention, but as with any race it has to work for all parties and COTA will look at Miami – where a different business model is used to host the race – and ask if it gets the best deal with the hosting costs it pays.

Whatever the answer to that question, it must get F1 to find a way to keep the race going, because its success should not be underestimated.

There’s a reason you’ll have seen so many F1 staff members – myself included – posting their excitement about returning to Austin on social media. The USGP is an event in its own right, which celebrates F1 and tries to give fans the full value of their visit. Massive concerts on Saturday and Sunday evenings come after several races and supporting demonstrations, fan zones filled with events, and additional entertainment options.

And it’s right on the track. Downtown Austin can be a bustling place at the best of times, but add in a crowd of race weekends and previous activations and you know there’s an F1 race happening nearby. When you’re surrounded by 140,000 fans who seem to be having the best weekend, it’s hard not to get carried away by this atmosphere.

A festival atmosphere made COTA one of the most memorable races on the calendar

Ken Murray / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There’s been a lot of talk about the impact of the Netflix series – and there’ll be more on that in a moment – but my first visit was in 2013 and the city was really embracing racing. Red Bull put on a two-car show along Main Street in front of the Texas Capitol building, which meant there was no escape from the fact that F1 was in town, and there were Fan forums nearby to further engage with local support.

More effort might have been made to introduce people to F1 at the time, but when their interest was piqued enough for them to buy a ticket, then they headed to an impressive circuit built especially for Grand Prix races, which provides a comprehensive test. of a car and watch it at peak performance.

It’s not an easy thing to deliver, and certainly not cheap. But that investment meant interest was only growing, even before the Liberty and Netflix boom.

When I was there in 2018, my role as RACER’s F1 correspondent allowed me to do a question-and-answer session in a few VIP areas over the weekend alongside Jennie Gow. That first year, most people knew Jennie through BBC 5Live, but not so much me. The following year was after the first season of Drive to survive came out and there was a lot more interest, which wasn’t a coincidence.

“I would love to see a third race in the United States if possible in the future”

The producers of the show – Box to Box Films – said they wanted to target Californians in their twenties who worked for themselves, went surfing early in the morning and had flexible hours, so sat down at one point. random time of day and flipped through Netflix to see what’s going on. That’s who they wanted to talk to on the show, and it worked.

Interest has exploded in the United States since then, but the potential that existed was only highlighted by what happened every October in Austin, and the race itself continued to be great publicity. for sport as more and more people in America get involved. with that.

Miami’s arrival on the scene is further confirmation of the momentum building in the United States, and it’s important that events there can work together to continue it.

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