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Austin to request 2013 date change?

6 December 2012


Having received an updated version of the 2013 F1 calendar that shows no change in its date, the Circuit of the Americas is expected to request a move to avoid putting the USGP on a collision course with both NASCAR and the University of Texas college football programme.

The FIA World Motor Sport Council issued a revised schedule on Wednesday [5 December], making room for an additional European round to replace the planned race in New Jersey, but the only alteration was to shift Germany by a week, leaving the USGP in its original 17 November slot.

That not only pitches the F1 event against NASCAR's season finale for the second year in succession, but ignores issues raised by the University of Texas, which cannot alter its playing schedule and is due to welcome Oklahoma State to Austin on the same day as F1 qualifying. With college football matches routinely attracting anything upward of 100,000 fans and F1 bringing in 117,000 on race day this year, the clashing events will put enormous strain on hotel, restaurant and rental facilities in the Texan state capital [see previous story].

“The Circuit of The Americas has expressed our strong preference for an alternate race date in 2013,” chairman Bobby Epstein claimed in an email sent to the local Austin American-Statesman newspaper, “We understand that setting a global calendar can be very challenging, involves many factors and is out of our control, [but] we feel confident that F1 has taken our concerns seriously and is working earnestly towards a collective solution.”

US-based FIA official Nick Craw has confirmed that the governing body is looking into the possibility of moving the Austin race, but gives no further details, while the Big 12 conference in which the University of Texas competes insists that it is unlikely that the football game can be rescheduled.

“At the request of our television partners, the 2013 schedule is subject to adjustments,” associate commissioner for communications Bob Burda explained, “However, at this juncture, it does not appear moving the Oklahoma State at Texas game off its scheduled date is an option as the two programmes do not share a common open date.”

The inaugural USGP at CotA was hailed as a successful return to America for F1, with Lewis Hamilton winning narrowly over eventual world champion Sebastian Vettel.


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