High hotel prices a problem for US Grand Prix

3 Comments

Is the success of the United States Grand Prix being put at risk by rising room prices at local hotels?

The return of the US Grand Prix at the purpose-built Circuit of the Americas was one of the success stories of 2013.

F1 teams, drivers, media and fans alike welcome Formula One’s return to the USA at a superb new facility in Austin, Texas.

But a report in the Austin-American Statesman shows some tour operators are avoiding Austin hotels due to their high prices:

Last year during F1 week, San Antonio hotels were markedly cheaper than Austin hotels. According to data supplied from Hotels for Hope, the booking partner of Circuit of the Americas, the average daily rate for Austin hotels that week was $393.69, while San Antonio hotels were at $184.20.

It’s not unusual for hotels to raise their prices to coincide with major events and exploit the potential of a captive audience.

But they need to be wary of killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. The economic justification for the race as a source of revenue for Austin will be compromised if tourists avoid the area because the hotels are too expensive.

As NBC’s Will Buxton pointed out on Twitter, while teams can afford top-dollar hotel prices, fans and the media cannot:

Did you go to last year’s United States Grand Prix? What was your experience of hotel prices in the area? Let us know in the comments.

Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic. Follow F1 Fanatic on Twitter.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
1 Comment

Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.