Formula One CEO Stefano Domenicali says the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin has earned its place on the sport’s schedule as contract talks continue with the venue over the future of the U.S. Grand Prix.
COTA first hosted a race in 2012 but has now reached the end of its original ten-year deal, with its position on next year’s calendar subject to a new contract.
The circuit hosted 140,000 fans on race day this year and COTA boss Bobby Epstein told ESPN ahead of the grand prix weekend that he was “highly confident” a new deal would be in place before tickets go on sale for next year’s race in April.
Domenicali, who recently secured a deal for a new race to be added to next year’s calendar in Miami, said COTA’s high attendance and the growth of F1 in the U.S.A. makes it an easy choice to renew the deal with COTA.
“Its [COTA’s} future? I mean, you see where we are,” Domenicali told ESPN’s Nicole Briscoe during an interview in the COTA paddock last weekend. “With this kind of intensity, I think that this track deserves a future.
“And we are discussing with the promoter, who by the way is doing an incredible job — because if you go outside [the paddock] you really feel what it means for the people that are here. So they [COTA] are doing an incredible job.”
F1 is in talks to host a third race in the U.S. in Las Vegas in the coming years and Domenicali said the sport hopes to tap into a new, younger market in the U.S.A.
“It’s up to us to make sure that we can develop the right strategy,” he said. “But it [the American market] means a lot, because potentially it’s the biggest market in which we can develop the sport in a different dimension.
“I can give you one important information that I can share with you, that are facts. This year is, as you can see, so packed, but it’s not only about it being packed, it’s the diversity we have seen in terms of who is present this weekend.
“The average age of the people that are here is 10 years younger compared to two years ago. That is incredible.
“And this is where, as Formula One together, we should really work in order to follow these directions, that is really very, very important for us.”