It’s still a difficult situation for the Circuit of the Americas in that the state of Texas announced it would no longer be sending the amount previously agreed to due to a new calculation formula and now it seems that COTA have yet to pay for the USGP recently held in October.
Formula One Management (FOM) had allowed the circuit to pay late but as of a report in the Statesman, the payment still hasn’t been paid. It appears that the state has yet to pay out its reduced amount from the Major Events Trust Fund (METF) but even so, COTA boss Bobby Epstein still thinks it will be difficult to swing.
FOM boss Bernie Ecclestone acknowledged the change in funding and said:
“The person who dealt with this in the first place is no longer there. The governor is no longer there. So they have got new people, but they should pay what was agreed,” Ecclestone said. “I think we will get the funding back on track again.”
He too is under the impression the state should honor what was agreed upon and after this year’s miserable weather impacted the revenue the circuit gained, the additional $5 million is desperately needed.
Ecclestone agreed that COTA could play late due to the state’s tardiness with their portion which is referred to in the article as being approximately $33 million. After a year like 2015, that’s a big number and looks to get larger with a 10% escalator per year.
It’s a tough situation and I know there are two camps involved, the Tavo camp and the Epstein camp. I don’t have a knife in that fight but I do like the circuit and as the only track capable of holding an F1 race today, it seems silly to continue this war of words to the detriment of our own enjoyment.
An escalating yearly fee and a reduction in METF dollars and 103,000 people on race day is not the most likely way to make the track economics work. Let’s hope other events can keep the USGP going.
Hat Tip: the Statesman