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.”

Dylan Ferrandis in concussion protocol after Houston Supercross accident, Tampa status undetermined

Ferrandis Houston accident
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After suffering a frightening accident at Houston in the Monster Energy Supercross race, Dylan Ferrandis reports he is okay, but will be on concussion protocol and his status for Tampa this week is not yet determined.

Two laps into last week’s Main, Ferrandis was engaged in a battle with Ken Roczen for eighth place. Ferrandis landed on the back Roczen’s bike and was thrown, landing headfirst on the track. Ferrandis momentarily lost consciousness and the race was red flagged so he could be attended to by the Alpinestars medical team.

“I’m okay after my crash in the main event. I hit my head first and got knock[ed] out for some minutes,” Ferrandis posted in an Instagram story. “Everything else is fine and I am okay now fortunately. Will follow the concussion protocol and will see when I can ride again.”

Ferrandis regained consciousness, the medical crew fitted Ferrandis with a neck brace and he was able to stand and walk to the cart under his own power. Ferrandis was sitting up when he left the track with a member of the crew stabilizing his neck.

“It was an awesome ride [for Eli] and a good way to come back from last weekend,” said Jeremy Coker, Team Manager for Star Racing Yamaha at RacerXOnline.com. “It was also the lowest of lows. Unfortunately, it’s part of the sport, but to see one of your guys crash the way Dylan did and to see him lying there was pretty tough. Fortunately, when I got to him, he was able to open his eyes and looked at me and said my name, and it was a huge relief to see him stand up and walk away.”

Ferrandis was off to a strong start in 2023 with a worst finish of sixth at San Diego in the first three races. He entered Houston sixth in the standings, one point behind Jason Anderson.

Ferrandis’ teammate Eli Tomac went on to win the race.

Also riding for Star Racing Yamaha and making his 450cc Supercross debut, Justin Cooper advanced from 13th at the end of Lap 1 to finish seventh.