The future of Formula 1 in Austin, Texas, seems to have been seriously compromised by the revelation of the state's loss of Circuit of the Americas funding.
According to an article in the Austin American-Statesman newspaper on Wednesday, Governor Greg Abbott's office rejected COTA's annual claim for reimbursement following the 2018 F1 race. Officials in the governor's office said representatives of the industry did not respect the deadline for submission of the human trafficking prevention plan required as part of their claim for reimbursement.
This means that the track will lose $ 20 million or more in public funding through the Major Event Reimbursement Program. The state reimbursed $ 27 million to COTA under this program in 2017, $ 26 million in 2016 and $ 22.7 million in 2015 for the only F1 race in the United States.
Runway officials have said in the past that funding, which has exceeded $ 100 million since 2012 according to The Statesman, was critical to the success of the F1 race.
COTA officials have not yet made any comments to The Statesman.
Since its debut in 2012, Texas has helped subsidize F1, which bears a hefty seven-figure penalty fee.
The US president also said the governor's office had paid millions of dollars to Texas Motor Speedway for its annual NASCAR race, the NCAA Final Four 2018 and the Super Bowl LI. The NTT Data IndyCar Series is expected to make its debut on March 22-24.
Payments to COTA would be based on the volume of economic activity generated by the F1 race for Texas and it is estimated that 175,000 people are attending the race.
According to a letter from the governor's office dated October 2018 and obtained by the US representative, the Local Organizing Committee of the Circuit Events (CELOC) did not respect the deadline for submitting a mandatory report on human trafficking, 30 days before the 2018 US Grand Prix. October. Bryan Daniel, Executive Director of Economic Development and Tourism of the Governor, wrote that, the CELOC did not meet the deadline, his request for reimbursement was canceled.
"In this case, the law clearly states that if a human trafficking prevention plan is not submitted 30 days prior to an event, no major event fund reimbursement can be issued," said the Abbott spokesman, John Wittman, in an email. "The state of Texas and COTA have a successful partnership that has had a significant economic impact on the city of Austin and the entire state. Our office is already working with COTA for next year's race.
On September 24, the governor's office agreed that the US Grand Prix should receive state funding. But after noting that economic development officials had not received a plan to prevent human trafficking, the cancellation was canceled. The plan was to arrive on September 19th, but COTA did not submit the plan until October 3rd.