After months of uncertainty, Austin's Circuit of the Americas racetrack will once again have a chance to host one of the biggest races in Formula 1 this fall with a new five-year extension deal, the track announced Friday.
The next U.S. Grand Prix in Austin will take place Oct. 21-23 this year and will continue through at least 2026 at COTA, North America's first purpose-built track for the luxury racing league.
BREAKING: The United States Grand Prix at @COTA remains on the calendar through to 2026! #USGP 🇺🇸 #F1pic.twitter.com/S85UDo9n8Z
— Formula 1 (@F1) February 18, 2022
The deal comes after months of gridlock between COTA and F1 officials since the track's 10-year contract expired in October 2021. Just days after COTA announced it had smashed league records with an estimated 400,000 fans in attendance at the highly-anticipated U.S. Grand Prix race, it seemed that the future of the race in Austin may be in jeopardy.
But even with rumors of state funding being pulled and financial uncertainty, COTA chairman Bobby Epstein remained confident that the track would keep its promise of holding the spectacle of F1 in Austin.
“The Formula 1 United States Grand Prix has become one of the biggest and greatest events in the world. We are extremely proud it has found a home in Texas - at Circuit of The Americas - and are grateful to the millions of fans who visited us over our first decade,” Epstein said.
With the help of an infamous rivalry between F1 stars Lewis Hamilton and 2021 champion Max Verstappen last season and the immense popularity of Netflix's flashy F1-focused Drive to Survive documentary, the league has quickly swelled from a niche interest to a mainstream sport in the United States.
Hundreds of thousands of fans attended the star-studded 2021 race in Austin in a three-day event that saw a near-photo finish, performances from Billy Joel and Shaquille O'Neal and World's Fair-style attractions. Visitors from around the world broke travel records as they flooded into Austin-Bergstrom International Airport to attend the race.
And even though there’s new competition—a new race in Miami is set for 2022, marking the first time the U.S. will have two F1 destinations since COTA opened its doors in 2012—Epstein says it just shows a healthy appetite for the sport in the States.
"More races in our time zones are good for the sport," Epstein told Autoweek in May 2021. "I think we're getting double the impact this way."
One of COTA’s biggest obstacles in renewing the deal came from state lawmakers, which seemed to be dragging their feet on giving the track another $25 million in yearly funding to keep the race alive in Texas. It’s unclear whether COTA was successful in locking in the deal.
Regardless, F1 can take the asterisk off of the Austin stop on its 2022 calendar as the city revs up for its 11th U.S. Grand Prix on Oct. 21-23 at Circuit of the Americas.
Austin police are investigating the killing of Moriah "Mo" Wilson after she was found with gunshot wounds inside an Austin home.
Wilson, a gravel and mountain bike racer, was visiting Austin from Colorado in preparation for the Gravel Locos race on Saturday taking place in Hico, a small town 2 hours from Austin.
On Wednesday, her roommate came home and found Wilson unresponsive with "a lot of blood near her,” police said. It is now being investigated as a suspicious death. No further information on the suspect or motive behind the killing are available at this time.
Wilson recently had become a full-time biker after winning a slew of races in the past year.
Some of your favorite Instagram filters can’t be used in Texas anymore and Austinites are sounding off on social media.
Meta, Facebook and Instagram’s parent company, announced on Wednesday that certain filters would no longer be available in Texas.
The change is a result of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s lawsuit against Meta, alleging the company uses facial recognition technology that violates laws in Texas. A release from Meta says it stopped using facial recognition tech in November 2021 and denies Paxton’s allegations.
Some Austinites bemoaned the shift, saying some of their favorite filters were now unavailable.
This was my FAVORITE filter on @instagram and they done removed it cause I’m in Texas ! Like wowwwwww pic.twitter.com/uX60hdIC0Q
— Pinkyy Montana (@inkstar_pinkyy) May 11, 2022
i heard that instagram filters got banned in texas? what the actual fuck y’all better give me my favorite filter back
— lia 🤍 (@liatootrill) May 11, 2022
loved this stupid filter sm i hate texas pic.twitter.com/DXr9mmUc64
— birthday boy jeno 🎂 (@beabtox) May 12, 2022
But more often than not, locals joked about the ban.
Texas women seeing the filter ban on IG pic.twitter.com/yDMcP3Qtsr
— Christian (Anabolic) Flores (@christian_flo24) May 11, 2022
So, the state of Texas has banned filter use on IG? THE END IS NEAR. 😂
— THE FRANCHISE! Франшиза (@NYCFranchise718) May 12, 2022
And some in-between chose to show off some natural beauty.
I live in Texas, but no filter needed. 😉 pic.twitter.com/A6teRgYMKn
— bad and bruja (@starseedmami) May 11, 2022
filter, no filter..texas women still reign supreme.
— 🎍 (@_sixile) May 11, 2022
Finally, some are trying to cash in on the opportunity.
Texas IG users- if you want to filter your picture cashapp me $1.50 $ErvnYng
— Gemini (@ervn_y) May 11, 2022
Meta said it plans to create an opt-in system for both Texas and Illinois residents, who are facing the same issues.