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It's official! Five more years of F1 in Austin confirmed with new U.S. Grand Prix deal at COTA

Formula 1 is officially returning to Austin in 2022. (F1/Twitter)

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.

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.


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