The Circuit of the Americas has become embroiled in another dispute between the current organiers and the former personalities involved. Fortunately, though, this one doesn’t threaten the Formula 1 race – but it does threaten the future of the MotoGP event.
About eighteen months ago, MotoGP announced that they would travel to Austin in 2013 for the Texas Grand Prix, to be held at the Circuit of the Americas – and then was said of it again. But in the past two weeks, details of emerged of a dispute that has seen the MotoGP contract cancelled. 1993 MotoGP World Champion Kevin Schwantz, who is a close friend of Tavo Hellmund , and who “helped” design the circuit (I say “helped” in sarcastic quotation marks, because his contribution was the double Hockenheim switchback), claimed he had a contract between himself and Dorna Sports to run the race, but when Tavo hellmund was removed as president of the circuit, officials went behind his back and tried to arrange a new contract with Dorna Sports, MotoGP’s promoter. Dorna issued a statement in which they said that although a contract did exist, Schwantz failed to show evidence that he had the right to use the circuit for the event, and so the contract was cancelled in July. Schwantz then attacked the circuit, claiming that they had deliberately stalled him, trying to force the contract to lapse so that they could renegotiate a better deal with Dorna. Schwantz is now suing the Circuit of the Americas.
What I don’t like about this, is that it could push Laguna Seca off the calendar. That track so much more character than this Austin thingy. It’s like a cult band of old that still has it vs. an over-marketed corporate tribute band that hasn’t proven anything yet.
@necrodethmortem – I don’t think there as ever any plan to replace Laguna Seca with Austin. MotoGP has considerably more relaxed rules than Formula 1 when it comes to the number of races that a country can host; after all, Spain has four rounds: the Spanish Grand Prix (Jerez), Aragon Grand Prix (Motorland Aragon), Catalunya Grand Prix (Barcelona) and the Valencian Community Grand Prix (Ricardo Tormo). If the Circuit of the Americas does wind up on the MotoGP calendar, then it would be the third race in America. Laguna Seca would host the United States Grand Prix, Indianapolis the Indianapolis Grand Prix, and COTA the Texas Grand Prix. The worst the circuit could do is take the title of United States Grand Prix away from Laguna Seca, at which point the race at Laguna Seca would probably become known as the California Grand Prix or the Monterey Grand Prix.
I always understood the idea for the Texas race was to make the whole string of US based races more of a boost to the series, in a sense that they can be stringed together to make for a reasonable travel schedule.
I did hear about that Schwantz – COTA- Dorna unclear situation a couple of months ago (I understand it was pretty much exactly the same kind of thing as happened with the later renegotiated and singed F1 deal). If there’s nothing settled in all this time, that does not look too good for COTA or MotoGP
in the end, the shady business in austin was the last reason i needed to not go to the grand prix this year. i don’t care for the way people involved have been flim-flammed, contradictory public statements, games being played with tax dollars, and the very steep prices. i will take my chances with montreal or new jersey.