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COTA boss believes his track can co-exist with Miami

NEWS STORY
12/07/2018

Though the proposed F1 race in Miami faces a few hurdles before it finally goes ahead, it is almost certain that it will go ahead, as the sports owners seek to expand the sport in their own American backyard.

Despite the fact that in its efforts to meet the ever increasing hosting fees - of which for Miami there will be none - the Circuit of the Americas has had to resort to staging high-profile pop concerts over Grand Prix weekends in a bid to get people through the turnstiles, circuit owner Bobby Epstein is confident that the arrival of Miami will not overly impact his event.

"Miami comes with its own big challenges the first couple of years, just as we saw with Mexico the first couple of years," he said, according to ESPN.

"You really have competition for the F1 fan," he continues. "They're very different experiences and different events. Miami will make for great backdrops and TV and accomplish a lot of those goals.

"Within the time we've had to be able to try and create an all-around weekend fan experience, Austin has some experience in that the town is big enough to allow for a great fan experience both on and off the track but it's small enough for people to embrace F1 when they come here and really take over the city.

"So I think it's a different experience in Miami but I think they both can successfully co-exist together. The first couple of years will put real pressure on us to up our game."

For the most part, over the years the sport has treated its American fan-base shabbily, while there were periods with a couple of annual races there were also long periods with none. And while there were events on great track, there were also events in car parks... not forgetting the debacle that was Indianapolis 2005.

Epstein appreciates that initially, two events in America could result in a certain amount of pain for the promoters but in the long run the move, and Liberty's determination to expand the home fan-base, will pay off.

"It's not just fans, it's also the sponsors and people that would activate that at two events," he says. "There's not necessarily time for both to share the same part of the calendar.

"Logistically for F1 it's completely understandable. For the promoter it's less desirable... less than desirable, in fact!

"Sometimes competition is a really good thing and sometimes it can be painful," he admits. "But as the F1 audience grows in the U.S. it will matter a lot less."

Despite the threat posed to his event, be it Miami or the ever increasing hosting fees, Epstein believes the race at COTA - a track popular with all the drivers - remains viable.

"I think it's mutual expectation that we want to keep going," he says. "Lewis called it his favourite track in the world. It was made for F1.

"It was always a vision of both parties to have a lasting home base for Formula One in the U.S. so it would be a disappointment all around if it didn't continue. Certainly the terms of the contract are going to decide that."

"We're still trying to deal with a Bernie Ecclestone contract which has its own nuances and challenges. We're both, F1 management and COTA, trying to sort through some of those contract challenges that come from accelerators. The hope of a customer is always that the price of a product becomes less expensive as time goes on."

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1. Posted by hussainahm, 12/07/2018 12:02

"What's wrong with Indy Speedway? I guess they would rather not pay exuberant fees."

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2. Posted by mittagongcalling, 12/07/2018 10:32

"I'm back!!!!!"

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