Part of the CotA staff has already been layed-off, as reported in an announcement made during the weekend. Those job losses may represent the first negative outcome of Coronavirus’ spreading for Austin’s circuit: as track chairman Bobby Epstein stated, “in the next 90 days alone, events representing nearly 600.000 ticketed visitors, have been postponed, cancelled or are in jeopardy”.
This situation is partially consequence of today’s directive from the Centres for Diseases Control and Prevention, banning for eight weeks any event drawing 50 or more people.
Eight weeks from now means any public activity will be held, in this case, at Circuit of the Americas until half of May.
Economic losses are expected to be massive, firstly due to the cancellation of the Indycar race planned for the 26th of April, and to the postponed MotoGP Grand Prix that was to run in the same month.
The motorbike competition will instead take place on the 15th of November, three weeks after the Formula 1 GP, which is now at risk too.
Beside racing, in the next 90 days the facility surrounding the circuit will lose USL games and a number of huge concerts including performances by The Rolling Stones, The Strokes, Maroon 5 and Alanis Morissette.
According to the official closure statement, “It is our greatest hope that our community remains healthy and, when the virus passes, we reunite for many years of treasured moments with friends and family”.
In the extreme case of a track’s bankrupt, the Circus may be sent to a different circuit in Texas: the State spends over 25 million USD a year to fund Formula 1 to get a return by the race. COTA’s F1 contract runs through 2021, but the deal with the state is not site-specific. Many other locations would put their elbows out to host the GP including Houston and San Antonio, as street races, and the Texas Motor Speedway.