When Formula One came back to America after a lengthy absence fans were thrilled. They were more thrilled to see F1 come back at a brand new top-notch facility known as the Circuit Of The Americas (COTA) which was constructed in Austin, Texas. Since the track opened in 2012 its been not only host to Formula 1 but Moto GP and several other racing series. Even the X Games chose COTA as their new venue after leaving Los Angeles.
One of the more impressive things about COTA was how fast everything came together once contracts were signed. Much of that had to do with the fact that the owners of COTA had an agreement with the state of Texas that COTA would receive subsidies which would help them fund operations for the track, most importantly pay the FIA’s hefty sanctioning fee for the right to have an F1 race at the facility.
Well according to the Austin-American Statesman, Texas’ Governor Gregg Abbott is thinking of reducing the state funding promised to COTA and this directly effect’s COTA’s ability to pay the FIA fee which could mean that the only American F1 race on the calendar may not return in 2016. Also since the FIA sanctions Moto GP as well that event would also be gone.
It seems at this point nothing is quite set in stone yet but even the thought of this has F1 fans all over the world up in arms. The COTA twitter account has been retweeting local and international F1 fans pleading with Gregg Abbott to re-consider cutting COTA’s funding.
Now if you’re wondering why COTA is so dependent on state funding at the moment that is because this year’s USGP was a pretty big financial hit for COTA. Despite the race itself being incredibly exciting, the heavy rain during the race weekend severely impacted attendance. An additional kick in the wallet came when the FIA decided to schedule the Mexico GP only a week after the USGP. This hurt COTA because Mexican F1 fans would travel to Texas to see watch their countrymen race. However, this year many of them stayed home since they were going to have a race in their own back yard just a week later.
This issues could very well combine into a perfect storm that will see F1 leave America again just 3 years after its return. We sincerely hope that doesn’t happen! For more information you can read the story from the Statesmen by clicking the source link below. This is normally a subscription site but they allow you to read one article for free before having to pay up so you’ll be fine.
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[Source: The Statesman]