hit the brakes

Another major Austin event hits the brakes due to COVID-19

Another major Austin event hits the brakes due to COVID-19

Formula 1 United States Grand Prix
This year's grand prix has hit the skids. Photo courtesy of Circuit of the Americas

In another blow to the local economy, the Formula One United States Grand Prix has been canceled due to COVID-19. The race weekend, hosted at Circuit of The Americas, was originally scheduled for October 23-25.

"The cancellation is prudent, but painful," said COTA chain Bobby Epstein in a statement. "We had secured blockbuster performers for the evening shows, and the racing this year is fantastic. I'm disappointed for the fans, COTA employees, our community, and everyone in the Formula One Paddock." 

F1 has hosted its annual United States Grand Prix in Austin since 2012; this is the first time the COTA race has been canceled.

In his statement, Epstein said that after last year's sold-out event, advanced ticket sales for 2020 were up 250 percent. "Our staff was preparing for our biggest year ever," he said.

F1 hitting the brakes is the second in a series of blows for COTA. On July 10, organizers announced that the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas was also off due to the novel coronavirus.

The race's cancellation is yet another massive economic blow to the local hospitality industry. According to COTA, events like F1 and the Red Bull Grand Prix pump more than $420 million directly into the local economy. According to Forbes, the three-day race weekend in 2018 brought $45 million into the Austin economy, $20 million of which went to hotels.

As for next year's grand prix, those dates have yet to be revealed, but Epstein said he's hopeful F1 will return in 2021.

"It is my hope that the pandemic will soon pass and we will celebrate 2021 with the greatest Formula One United States Grand Prix ever!"