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COTA happy to host two U.S. F1 races in 2021

UniqueThis 11 Jun 10

The boss of the U.S. Grand Prix is open to hosting two races in 2021 to fill the void left by the cancellation of the Singapore Grand Prix if Formula One requests it.

Austin's Circuit of the Americas (COTA) is set to host this year's event on Oct. 24.

The start of that month was due to feature two races in Asia but Singapore has cancelled its Oct. 3 event, while the status of the Japanese Grand Prix of Oct. 10 remains uncertain, with race organisers set to make a call after the Summer Olympics in Tokyo.

That prompted talk of COTA, a permanent race facility which made its F1 debut in 2012, doubling up in order to pad out the spaces in the calendar. Last year's U.S. Grand Prix was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, during which time the circuit lost an estimated 95 percent revenue.

Circuit boss Bobby Epstein said two races in two weekends is easy to do if F1 decides it's 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."

Epstein pointed out that, as a permanent circuit, putting on a second race would not be a logistical challenge.

"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 works 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".

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS), which has not hosted an F1 race since 2007, has been mooted as another potential venue for a stand-in 2021 race. However, a circuit spokesperson told Racer Magazine earlier this month discussions around that possibility have not started.

Epstein said he would have no issue with IMS hosting a second U.S. race, even if it fell the week before or after his event.

"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."