Austin health official casts further doubt on US GP

Austin's senior public health official says that large events are unlikely to take place in the Texan city before the end of the year, casting further doubt on the US Grand Prix, which is still scheduled for October 25.

Austin health official casts further doubt on US GP

Austin is now operating to Stage 3 of its reopening plan after an initial lockdown, which allows groups of up to 10 "low risk" people to gather. That status would have to move to Stage 1 before major events are even considered.

The Circuit of the Americas remains closed, although it hosted a charity event earlier this month, when members of the public were allowed to pay to drive a lap of the circuit.

Dr Mark Escott, the interim medical director and the health authority for Austin Public Health, stressed that allowing large gatherings is not a priority.

"The large events are the first thing that we turned off and are going to be the last thing we're going to turn back on because of that risk of exposing lots of people to one another, particularly individuals of the same household," he told the Austin-Statesman.

"We are working on a plan to help forecast what we think is going to be reasonable, but looking through the end of December, we don't have any indications at this stage that we would be able to mitigate risk enough to have large events, particularly ones [with] over 2,500 [people]."

Read Also:

However, Escott said an improvement in COVID-19 case numbers might change the situation.

"I think that's incentive for us to work hard at that social distancing, work hard at ensuring that people who are sick stay home and if they're staying home, they're directed to testing, so that we can get a handle on this.

"We really all as a community have to be focused on the goal of ensuring, number one, that things stay open and, number two, that we get ourselves in a situation which will allow us to open the window even more in the future, particularly in the fall."

Aside from the local regulations, COTA is in a difficult situation because its race-hosting fee is underwritten by the Texas State Major Events Trust Fund programme, on the basis that race visitors bring money to the city, and pay local taxes.

Thus even if a race held behind closed doors with no fans is allowed by the local authorities, it would almost certainly not be eligible for the state funding.

F1 is understood to be keen to still receive hosting fees from flyaway races, in order to mitigate the transport costs involved, while making more favourable arrangements with European promoters.

COTA boss Bobby Epstein would not elaborate on the current prospects for the race.

"I really can't comment," he told Motorsport.com. "But right now, the law prohibits gatherings of any significant size, and our business is not allowed to open."

shares
comments
How a mistake helped create an F1 icon

Previous article

How a mistake helped create an F1 icon

Next article

From rage to redemption: Ricciardo on his standout F1 moments

From rage to redemption: Ricciardo on his standout F1 moments
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Event United States GP
Author Adam Cooper
The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle Prime

The changes Barcelona needs to provide a modern-day F1 spectacle

Formula 1’s visits to Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya over recent years have been met with familiar criticisms despite tweaks here and there to the track to improve racing. With the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix largely going the same way, proper solutions need to be followed to achieve F1’s wider targets

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Prime

Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Often described as Formula 1's laboratory, the Circuit de Catalunya-Barcelona gave the clearest demonstration yet of the pecking order in 2021. And it's the key discrepancies from that order which illuminate who is excelling, and who needs to hit the reset button.

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain Prime

How Red Bull's deja vu set Hamilton on the winning path in Spain

An aggressive first corner move from Max Verstappen appeared to have set the Red Bull driver on course for victory in the Spanish Grand Prix. But canny strategy from Mercedes - combined with the absence of Red Bull's number two from the lead group - allowed Lewis Hamilton to pull off a demoralising reversal

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace Prime

The Barcelona practice times that prove Red Bull has hidden pace

Lewis Hamilton led the way in Friday practice for the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, but there was one major encouraging sign for Red Bull. However, making good on that gain will require Max Verstappen to avoid repeating a mistake that left him well down the FP2 order...

Formula 1
May 7, 2021
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Prime

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his teammate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon.

Formula 1
May 6, 2021
What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Prime

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight.

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Prime

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings Prime

Portuguese Grand Prix driver ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warm-up. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021