F1 should own some circuits, says US GP boss

United States Grand Prix, Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas
© XPB 

US Grand Prix boss Bobby Epstein believes that Liberty Media's long-term strategy for F1 could entice the sport's owner to acquire specific circuits.

Epstein, a co-founder and linchpin of Austin's Circuit of the Americas facility, insisted however that he had no discussions on the subject with Liberty executives.

"I do think it makes a lot of sense for them to own some circuits," Epstein told Reuters.

"It would have to be part of any long-term strategy for them. I see a lot of logic and business reasons for them to own some circuits."

Circuits typically pay a hosting fee to Formula One Management and are left to collect revenue from ticket sales, a business model which has proven difficult for many circuit owners.

As a reminder, Silverstone's owners are still debating whether or not to hold on to its British GP showcase event when its contract with F1 runs out.

"I think all of the circuits struggle under the current environment," said Epstein.

"If they (Liberty) 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 they (the circuits) are going to make money from an F1 race, then F1 might as well own that profit," he reasoned.

Formula 1's CEO Chase Carey, who plans to add more races in the US, has vowed to make each Grand Prix a mini-Super Bowl event. An approach which Epstein has already successfully achieved at COTA with the US GP.

The American businessman and investor believes COTA could become the "brand-building headquarters for F1" in North America and the permanent residence of the US GP with alternating city venues for other f1 races in the US.

"Since you can’t move this circuit, and you can’t duplicate it, it can always be counted on to be there," he concluded.

"I think the goal would be ‘Let’s get the show on the road’. You can rotate it (Formula One) through different cities so that you are continuing to expose the sport.

"It’s not likely that anyone else is going to build and spend that kind of money on a permanent course in the United States."

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