Circuit of the Americas loses its latest bid for $25 million in state funding for F1 race

Formula 1 returns to Circuit of the Americas on November 3.

Circuit of the Americas is out $25.9 million in state funding for its Formula 1 race as the Texas State Capitol ended its legislative session on May 27 without passing legislation that would have approved an annual request originally denied on a technicality.

The money was to have come from the state’s Major Events Reimbursement Program to help offset costs from the 2018 F1 United States Grand Prix. The funds were expected to be paid to the track — that is, until COTA officials missed a Sept. 24, 2018, deadline for submitting a human trafficking prevention plan as part of its annual application for the funds.

That application was determined to be not in compliance with the conditions set forth by the state, according to a statement by Bryan Daniel, executive director of Economic Development in the Office of the Governor, in October.

A lifeline appeared to be extened, however, and according to an article posted on the Austin (Texas) Business Journal’s website, the state legislature had been working on a measure that would have given the track a second chance at the money.

The House approved language tacked onto another bill, according to the Austin American-Statesman, but the final details couldn’t be worked out with the Senate and the measure failed to come up for a vote before the session concluded.

Sean Bratches, F1’s managing director of commercial operations, told the Associated Press on May 28 that his organization plans to keep the race at COTA for “many years to come.”

COTA’s 10-year initial contract with F1 runs through 2021. Each year the track has to pay the Formula 1 a licensing fee, estimated at $25 million.

The Austin Statesman reports that COTA had been reimbursed a total of $75.7 million between 2015 and 2017 for hosting the U.S. Grand Prix.

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