Cancelled US Grand Prix had record F1 ticket sales before COVID-19 hit

Ticket sales for the 2020 Formula 1 US GP were significantly up prior to the coronavirus pandemic that forced its cancellation, Circuit of the Americas boss Bobby Epstein has revealed

Cancelled US Grand Prix had record F1 ticket sales before COVID-19 hit

Formula 1 finally confirmed today that there will be no races in the Americas this year, with the US, Canadian, Brazilian and Mexican events all officially cancelled.

It follows the decision by MotoGP promoter Dorna Sport earlier this month to cancel its Americas Grand Prix, which was scheduled for November.

Texas has been hit particularly hard by the virus in recent weeks, and in addition there were commercial issues, with the cost of freight proving prohibitively high should Austin have ended up as a standalone race.

COTA noted in a statement today that initial ticket sales for 2020 had been up by 250%, but Epstein said it was looking even better than that before the virus struck.

"That number is conservative," he told Autosport.

"Hopefully we haven't lost some momentum, it's just delayed to 2021.

"Coming off last year's sell-out, the desire for people to secure their seat for this year was terrific.

"Our deposits for tickets, as well as enquiries, were both up significantly.

"It showed I think that we had finally got it right from the standpoint of being a destination event.

"The plans for this year that we had mapped up including increased seating and upgrades to a number of areas.

"We had some real superstar acts lined up for the evenings that I think would have helped us to continue the growth."

Asked why sales were up, Epstein credited the Netflix series Drive to Survive with playing a role.

Daniel Ricciardo has previously said that the series helped to put F1 "on the map" in the USA.

"It was a combination of a few things; one is the sport itself got a lot of exposure through the Netflix series and we started to have a real tradition being established, with people making it a big annual event," Epstein said.

"And I also have to think that the local community continues to embrace the event more and more as part of the city's annual calendar.

"When all those things come together, we see some success."

Epstein added that he believes sales can be maintained once the world gets back to normal.

"This cancellation has nothing to do with sport, it has everything to do with health and safety and logistics," he said.

"I don't think we necessarily lose momentum. In fact you might argue that there will be pent-up demand."

Although the F1 race was cancelled relatively early, Epstein stressed that it still had a significant impact on the business.

"The event related loss was greater on MotoGP, because that was cancelled closer to the event, when set-up had already started," he explained.

"There's no doubt that there's a loss with the event not occurring, because we have fixed overheads, taxes and insurance and nothing to offset them."

shares
comments
Imola F1 return to run over two-day weekend; Algarve, Nurburgring confirmed
Previous article

Imola F1 return to run over two-day weekend; Algarve, Nurburgring confirmed

Next article

Silverstone offered to host 12 races to help F1 organise a 2020 calendar

Silverstone offered to host 12 races to help F1 organise a 2020 calendar
Load comments
How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations Plus

How F1 teams and personnel react in pressurised situations

OPINION: The pressure is firmly on Red Bull and Mercedes as Formula 1 2021 embarks on its final double-header. How the respective teams deal with that will be a crucial factor in deciding the outcome of the drivers' and constructors' championships, as Autosport's technical consultant and ex-McLaren F1 engineer explains

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated Plus

Why Ferrari is sure its long-term Leclerc investment will be vindicated

Humble yet blisteringly quick, Charles Leclerc is the driver Ferrari sees as its next
 world champion, and a rightful heir to the greats of Ferrari’s past – even though, by the team’s own admission, he’s not the finished article yet. Here's why it is confident that the 24-year-old can be the man to end a drought stretching back to 2008

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2021
The downside to F1's show and tell proposal Plus

The downside to F1's show and tell proposal

Technology lies at the heart of the F1 story and it fascinates fans, which is why the commercial rights holder plans to compel teams to show more of their ‘secrets’. STUART CODLING fears this will encourage techno-quackery…

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2021
How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits Plus

How getting sacked gave Mercedes F1’s tech wizard lasting benefits

He’s had a hand in world championship-winning Formula 1 cars for Benetton, Renault and Mercedes, and was also a cog in the Schumacher-Ferrari axis. Having recently ‘moved upstairs’ as Mercedes chief technical officer, James Allison tells STUART CODLING about his career path and why being axed by Benetton was one of the best things that ever happened to him

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2021
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2021
The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021