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COTA chairman thinks Liberty should own some F1 circuits

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Circuit of The Americas chairman Bobby Epstein believes that Formula 1’s new owner, Liberty Media, should own some of the circuits on the series’ calendar.

Liberty completed its takeover of F1 back in January, with new CEO and chairman Chase Carey keen to ensure that races become more sustainable and are less susceptible to falling off the calendar due to financial difficulties.

The United States Grand Prix at COTA came close to collapse following a washout in 2015 and a cut in government funding, only to bounce back last year with a record crowd, aided by a performance from Taylor Swift on Saturday after qualifying.

Speaking to Reuters, COTA chairman Epstein raised the idea of Liberty owning circuits as a way for F1 to take an active role in making races more profitable.

“I do think it makes a lot of sense for them to own some circuits. It would have to be part of any long-term strategy for them,” Epstein said.

“I see a lot of logic and business reasons for them to own some circuits. I think all of the circuits struggle under the current environment.

“If they change it and help the circuits survive, are they better off owning the circuits than making concessions?

“Are they actually giving up profitability by not owning the circuits? If [the circuits] are going to make money from an F1 race, then F1 might as well own that profit.”

Tickets for the 2017 United States GP at COTA in Austin, Texas went on sale earlier this week, with this year’s race set to feature a performance from Justin Timberlake at the track’s amphitheater.

Marco Andretti to drive throwback scheme to honor 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario’s last win

Photo courtesy Andretti-Herta Autosport
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Marco Andretti wanted to do something really special to honor the 25th anniversary of grandfather Mario Andretti’s final Indy car win in 1993 at Phoenix International Raceway (now known as ISM Raceway).

So the third-generation Andretti, along with his team, Andretti-Herta Autosport, came up with a plan and design that will take longtime race fans back in time when it appears early next month for the Phoenix Grand Prix.

Marco Andretti’s No. 98 Oberto Beef Jerky Circle K/Curb Honda will be decked out in the colors of the car his grandfather won his last race on the one-mile short track 25 years ago.

“When the idea of a throwback livery celebrating my grandfather’s final win was thrown around, Oberto was ready to get to the drawing board,” Marco Andretti said in a media release. “The black, white and red car resembles many of my family’s race cars and was a big part of my life growing up.

“It’s really cool to be able to add one of my cars to that family legacy.”

The car is a virtual double of the legendary Newman-Haas Racing and Texaco/Havoline-sponsored car Mario drove on that celebratory day in the Valley of the Sun 2 ½ decades ago.

Various events and ceremonies during the April 6-7 race weekend will honor the senior Andretti. That includes several of his former competitors who will be on hand to celebrate with Mario, including Emerson Fittipaldi, Bobby Rahal, Jimmy Vasser, Paul Tracy, Arie Luyendyk, and of course, son Michael Andretti and grandson Marco Andretti.

Check out what happened on that day 25 years ago:

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