Circuit of the Americas will remain on F1 schedule through 2026 season in 5-year deal

F1 Circuit Americas extension
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AUSTIN. Texas — Formula 1 announced a new five-year contract extension with the Circuit of the Americas to keep the United States Grand Prix at the Texas track through the 2026 F1 season.

The 2022 U.S. Grand Prix is scheduled Oct. 23 and has been on F1’s official calendar without a formal contract. The track’s original 10-year deal expired with the 2021 race, which drew more than 300,000 fans.

“It says our first decade went really well and all sides want to see it keep going,” track president Bobby Epstein said of the new contract. “Everyone seems to be excited about the future … Our commitment in building this place was a long-term commitment to the sport.”

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The contract also keeps at least two F1 races in the U.S. through 2026. The Miami Grand Prix starts a 10-year race contract in May. Montreal in June and Mexico City in October round out the series’ four races in North America.

“There’s more than enough demand and interest to support a lot more growth of Formula 1 in the U.S. Being the permanent circuit that is solely dedicated to racing, this will always be the home of the United States Grand Prix,” Epstein said.

F1 president and chief executive Stefano Domenicali hailed Austin as well as the growing popularity of the sport in the U.S.

“Austin is a great city, and the track is a favorite for all the drivers, and we cannot wait to be back in October for more action and entertainment,” he said in the announcement.

The track carved out of rolling scrub land a few miles outside of the Texas capital was the first purpose-built F1 track in the U.S. The original race contract brought the global series back to the U.S. after five years away, and the venue quickly established itself as a favorite among teams and drivers.

Its late-season position on the calendar also had the Austin race playing a major factor in deciding the season championship. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton clinched his 2015 and 2019 championships in Austin.

The Texas race has been supported by more than $200 million in public funds. State law allows race organizers to apply from the Texas Major Events Reimbursement Program to help pay F1’s annual rights fee. That fee was $35 million in 2021, according to state records.

Epstein said he didn’t ask for a 10-year deal as the original but said he believes the Austin track could host F1 for another 25 years.

“This will remain and only get stronger,” Epstein said. “We have tradition now.”

The track also recently finished a project to resurface about 70 percent of the 3.4-mile course. The MotoGP motorcycle series has raced the Grand Prix of the Americas there since 2013, but riders have complained for years that bumps in the track caused by soft soil underneath made it dangerous.

The April 10 race is the last in the current contract with MotoGP. Epstein said the series likely wouldn’t come back if the improvements weren’t made, and he’s still in negotiations for a new deal to keep MotoGP’s only U.S. race.

“We wouldn’t have done the repaving to the extent that we did if we didn’t think we were going to bring MotoGP back,” he said. “We’re kind of excited for them to come ride it and enjoy it because it’s been several years.”

Santino Ferrucci will drive No. 14 for AJ Foyt Racing full time in 2023 IndyCar season

Santino Ferrucci AJ Foyt
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Santino Ferrucci will return to full-time racing in the NTT IndyCar Series next season, joining AJ Foyt Racing.

Ferrucci had made eight IndyCar starts with three teams since his last full-time season in 2020 while also racing part time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this year.

He will drive the storied No. 14 Dallara-Chevrolet for four-time Indy 500 winner A.J. Foyt’s team, which will field the car from its Waller, Texas headquarters.

“It’s incredibly exciting to be back in the INDYCAR Series full time,” Ferrucci said in a team release. “Being a part-time driver over the last two years has been hard for me, personally. I’m a race car driver, and I want to compete. Working with different teams has been exciting, and I’m proud that no matter which car I’ve raced, I’ve always shown speed and consistency. I couldn’t be more excited to join AJ Foyt Racing in the 14 Chevy. I can’t wait to make the best of it.”

Ferrucci, 24, had finished a career-best fourth in IndyCar four times, including the 104th Indy 500 in 2020. He was the 2019 Indy 500 rookie of the year with a sixth.

In nine Xfinity starts since 2021, Ferrucci has a career-best finish of 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“I am thrilled to welcome Santino to the team,” Larry Foyt said in a release. “He’s shown a knack for getting toward the front of the field, and I think he is a racer who moves forward on race day. A.J. sees the fire in him and has enjoyed their meetings together. I think Santino’s experience will help his rookie teammate as well, so he is a great addition to our roster.”

Ferrucci will be teamed at AJ Foyt Racing with Benjamin Pedersen, who finished fifth in the 2022 Indy Lights standings. The team has yet to specify the number for Pedersen’s entry, which will be fielded out of its Indianapolis race shop.

Foyt’s two full-time drivers last season were Dalton Kellett and Kyle Kirkwood, who is moving to Andretti Autosport.