US GP venue COTA likely to add another major racing series in 2024

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In the round-up: Another major series is likely to race at the Circuit of the Americas in 2024.

In brief

COTA teases return of a big series for 2024

Circuit of the Americas CEO Bobby Epstein has indicated the venue of Formula 1’s United States Grand Prix could be hosting another major racing series in 2024.

Alongside F1, COTA features on the Moto GP and NASCAR Cup calendars. During the 2010s it hosted IndyCar, IMSA and the World Endurance Championship. Epstein was asked whether those may return to COTA during a call with media including RaceFans.

“I’d like to see that,” he said. “What that would mean? Right. I’m a venue. I’m the theatre. So to see everyone back here racing would mean that those [championships] have succeeded in building a fanbase that will buy tickets. Because that’s not our job. We don’t get the budget and we don’t get the TV revenue. We don’t build sports, right? We put on events.

“If you see all those back here, it’s because they’re selling enough tickets for the promoter to make it worthwhile, or because they they value the competition that COTA creates on the track.”

He added: “I think you will see another one of the [series] names that you mentioned back here in the next year. But from our standpoint, we need the fans to show up and right now there’s no question that F1 and NASCAR and Moto GP dominate.”

Frijns returns to Abt Cupra seat in FE

Robin Frijns will be back in Formula E at this weekend’s Sao Paulo EPrix as he returns to his Abt Cupra seat after missing the last four races.

A wrist-breaking crash at the season-opening Mexico City E-Prix ruled Frijns out of action for two months. He made his racing return last weekend in the Sebring 1000 Miles as he is also racing in the World Endurance Championship this year.

Kelvin van der Linde stood in for Frijns in the FE events he was absent from, although he also missed a race as Abt had to withdraw their cars from last month’s Cape Town EPrix over safety concerns.

“It feels insanely good to be preparing for a race again with Nico [Muller, team mate] and the whole team – it’s so good to be back”, said Frijns. “The past two months have felt like an eternity. Many thanks to the team, the FIA, all the doctors and physios, and the whole FE paddock, who have been patient with me despite me being so impatient.

“My hand feels good, racing in Sebring went smoothly, I’m fit for Sao Paulo. I was in contact with the team the whole time, was involved in everything and am up to date with all the procedures – the race weekend can start.”

Alpine reserve Doohan on podium but lacking confidence in F2

Alpine’s Formula 1 reserve driver Jack Doohan was relieved to come away from the Jeddah round with a second place finish after struggling for pace in qualifying again.

He qualified 17th at the Bahrain season opener and failed to score in either race, then was 0.784 seconds off the pace in Jeddah qualifying. However he was able to end that weekend with a second place finish. He admitted feeling “mixed emotions at the end of the weekend.”

“I’m not completely content but happy to get 20 points on the board,” said Doohan. “We were missing pace a little bit in the feature race and I’m still not completely comfortable in the car, there are a few things we need to work on to make sure that we can get everything back to where it needs to be.

“On a positive note, to finish second and to be fighting up there for the win in circumstances like we are in now shows that when we can get our package together and when we can get more comfortable, we should be very strong.”

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Comment of the day

Williams’ Alex Albon suffered a scary brake failure in the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, but didn’t head straight to the pits after it happened and instead radioed his team to tell them to warn his team mate as he did another lap of Jeddah before pitting and retiring. One RaceFan reader noted how such an approach to a safety issue that did not seem logical.

I honestly still don’t get why he didn’t pit on the first available opportunity, even though brake failure isn’t something that fixes itself/goes away by driving around slowly.

Risking something going wrong by pointlessly continuing on track, even slowly, without functioning brakes is irresponsible, so pitting on the first available opportunity should be a clear-cut choice for all drivers when retirement is inevitable anyway.
Not his first arbitrary decision-making, considering he ignored blue flags in Monaco just because he didn’t bother heeding them, even though choosing how to behave under yield requirements isn’t up to drivers’ discretion.

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Cacarella, James Newnham, Tommyc and George!

On this day in motorsport

Kimi Raikkonen became a grand prix winner for McLaren today in 2003
  • 20 years ago today Kimi Raikkonen scored the first win of his Formula 1 career in Malaysia for McLaren, out-running pole-winner Fernando Alonso

Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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15 comments on “US GP venue COTA likely to add another major racing series in 2024”

  1. Albon was in the middle of a pack of fast cars with no brakes. He was in an awful position and would need to start braking well before the pit entry line to stop, which would have been very unsafe accounting for the surrounding fast cars. Moving over on the main straight, letting everyone safely by, and limping back with a completely empty track around him was absolutely the safest option.

    1. @mack41 Inexcusable as he had all the time to let others go by on the backstretch, for example, given the failure stroke about a half lap before the pit entry, in which case he would’ve already been entirely unsurrounded by the S/F straight, so nothing unsafe.
      Continuing on track for a pointless extra lap introduced added risks, one being a trackside stoppage that would’ve caused another SC or at least VSC, so overall unworthy.

      1. The team said that were working on some settings changes to fix the brakes as they thought that it might be a brake by wire fault. It turned out to be a mechanical issue on the brakes. That is why he stayed out. Not inexcusable at all. Try turning up the sound while you are watching the race or maybe take your earplugs out next time.

        1. @Patrick @alberto
          Brake failure was pretty clear-cut immediately & something that automatically always leads to DNF, so not taking any pointless risks should be the approach.

      2. This is the peak of motorsport competition, no one on the track will sacrifice their own race for the benefit of others. If they think that there is a chance that they can fix the issue and get going, they will 100% risk a safety car. You want him to sacrifice his race so that your favourite driver won’t get effected by the safety car and win the race…

  2. Kinda funny to hear CotA saying they’d have the races if they could but no one would show up.

    I think when they said “build a fan base” they left out the part about “willing to pay a small fortune for tickets then be gouged on food and drink while they’re here” (-8

    1. Spot on.

      I also love how Epstein tries to put the blame for the attendance woes off on the different racing series that have raced at COTA. Those series left because COTA (the promoter) doesn’t promote, among other things like shoddy, inconsistent track conditions, poor/slow crash response & vehicle recovery, poor race weekend logistics, etc, etc.

      They’ve lost V8 Supercars (after just one race weekend), WEC, IMSA, IndyCar, Creventic, the 24H Series, Global Rallycross, and more. Even the X Games exited years before the end of their contract, just as some of the racing series did.

      Now he’s talking about how F1, MotoGP, and NASCAR ‘dominate’ in terms of attendance – the same day as a lackluster crowd came out for NASCAR. Maybe 20K people at the absolute most. The grandstands in use were maybe 1/3 full, and they have a combined capacity of just around 32K seats. That sucks for SMI who, unlike Epstein and COTA, actually know how to stage a proper event. They can’t be happy with that turnout, and neither can NASCAR. If I had to put money on it, I’d say COTA is about to lose yet another series.

      Tavo Hellmund created something great in COTA. Too bad it’s being mismanaged into the ground by Epstein.

  3. Doohan made very bold statements… he was my bet for the title but I’m starting to think his over confidence can crush him… In the other side of Alpine Academy, Martins is as good as Piastri (in my opinion he showed to be maybe even faster in direct comparison 2018/2019), if he doesn’t make more mistakes I would keep an eye on him.

    Anyway, I wonder what Alpine will do if one of them win the title, they can keep them as reserva for a season, but I can’t see Gasly or Ocon being fired.

  4. Regarding Keith’s tweet: Yes, the outright advantage is lower in qualifying, but a slightly different story from last season, so getting out-qualified is unlikely for now.

    Another COTD & while my post may seem like an attack, I intended it as a general note, so nothing personal against him.
    I generally struggle to comprehend certain actions in given situations where the outcome is clear-cut without a doubt.

    1. @jerejj Agree with your general point that the safest option was for Albon to pit as soon as he realised he had a serious braking issue. However, if it was a brake-by-wire/electronics issue and not mechanical, there was a possibility that the team could have advised some settings which would have resolved it and allowed him to continue. Drivers will always treat retirement or even additional pitstops as a last resort, so i’m not surprised that Albon chose to continue until he was sure the issue was terminal.

      1. @keithedin Valid point. I can’t really disagree with you, especially on retirement & additional pit stops always being a last-resort choice for drivers.

  5. Agree with the COTD by @jerejj. Another questionable decision by Albon. And it’s still surprising that his antics in Monaco were never investigated, all the more so because of his ongoing relation with Red Bull.

    Anyway, a bit of an odd train of thought by Epstein of COTA. First he says it’s not his job to get fans interested, and then he finishes by saying that ‘from our standpoint, we need the fans to show up’. I don’t actually know if Indycar pays the venues to host their series, or if they expect to be paid (like in F1) for putting on their show. Either way, it seems both parties have an interest in making events a success, and perhaps this is just Epstein’s way of taking an lead on the discussions about the payment. After all, it wouldn’t be the first time that the series cut out the track, leaving them to gather scraps to make ends meet.

    1. @MichaelN
      He doesn’t have any relation with RB anymore, except for maybe his personal sponsor, RB Thailand (if the Thai brand division is still with him that is).
      Otherwise, yes, never getting investigated for his actions in Monaco is still surprising & likewise, his then-teammate in the same race, as FIA is normally pretty swift with any blue flag ignorance.

  6. I may need to see the Albon retirement again, but wasn’t he driving too quickly at first to safely make it to the pits?

    1. @mxmxd He didn’t seem to be driving too quickly to safely enter the pit lane, or at least he could’ve started driving slowly sooner than after the last corner.

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