In a blow to Texas racing fans, the United States Formula 1 Grand Prix has been canceled due to COVID-19. The race weekend, held at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, was originally scheduled for October 23-25.
“The cancellation is prudent, but painful,” COTA broadcaster Bobby Epstein said in a statement. “We had gotten hit artists for the evening shows, and this year’s racing is fantastic. I’m disappointed for the fans, COTA employees, our community and everyone in the Formula One Paddock.”
F1 has hosted its annual United States Grand Prix in Austin since 2012; this is the first time the COTA race has been cancelled.
In his statement, Epstein said that after last year’s sold-out event, advance ticket sales for 2020 increased by 250%. “Our staff was preparing for our biggest year yet,” he said.
The F1 brakes are the second in a series of setbacks for COTA. On July 10, organizers announced that the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas was also canceled due to the novel coronavirus.
The cancellation of the race is another blow to the hospitality industry. According to COTA, events like F1 and the Red Bull Grand Prix inject over $420 million directly into the local economy.
As for next year’s Grand Prix, those dates have yet to be revealed, but Epstein said he hoped F1 would return in 2021.
“I hope the pandemic passes soon and we celebrate 2021 with the greatest Formula 1 United States Grand Prix ever!”