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The track that could host the Super Bowl of motorsport: 'Motorbikes and F1 together'

In 2022, the circuit owner of the COTA circuit in Austin floated the idea of combining MotoGP and Formula 1 on the same weekend at the same track. Following the announcement that Liberty Media will take over the commercial rights of MotoGP from Dorna, Bobby Epstein's progressive vision seems to be coming true.

COTA Austin
Interview
To news overview © XPBimages

During the 2022 United States Grand Prix, RacingNews365 spoke with Bobby Epstein - owner of the Circuit of the Americas. Involved in the discussion was the possibility of a MotoGP and F1 double-header at the same event.

The COTA circuit welcomes both racing classes every year and from that point of view, Epstein weighed up the possibility of hosting both series on the same weekend.

Following Liberty Media's completion of its MotoGP purchase seven years after its F1 takeover, it's a possibility that may become a reality as Epstein explained in a fresh interview with RacingNews365.

"It is great news for MotoGP that the commercial shares of the sport will be owned by Liberty Media,” Epstein said. “After all, brands like to be associated with Formula 1, they pay a lot of money for that.

“They see how much exposure it gives them and so the more reach that MotoGP will get through Liberty Media is a positive step for MotoGP.

"In the future, it could happen that we will have a combined weekend where we will see MotoGP, as well as Formula 1, in action at the same circuit on the same weekend.”

However, Epstein explained that looking at a lower-class motorcycle series could be a first option.

“For now, that is too early and I am looking more at other motorcycle racing classes which could race in the supporting program of Formula 1,” he said. “It is a great show to see the cars and motorcycles racing at the same weekend.

“So first, we will have to have a show or competition version of another motor racing class run in the Formula 1 pre-program, to try out the concept of the two different racing classes.”

Considerations before collaboration

"It's definitely something the American fan will look forward to. Logistically, I think it is also possible to eventually combine Formula 1 with MotoGP, although you will have to adjust the F1 weekend considerably,” Epstein continued.

“We have two paddocks so it's definitely possible in that respect at our circuit and it will also be spectacular, but as I said, you'll have to try it out with smaller motorcycle racing classes first," said Epstein, who is not worried about safety requirements as far as the two different racing classes are concerned.

"The safety requirements of a MotoGP circuit are much more demanding than an F1 circuit. I think F1 could be in action on a circuit built for a MotoGP race. So I don't foresee any problems in that area either.

“I also think that in the future it will be possible to set up a combined weekend. It can certainly happen if you then put the other support classes aside.”

Another aspect to consider is the marshalling at the events and closer collaboration between the FIA and FIM governing bodies, according to Epstein.

"The different marshals will have some crossover with each other and the FIA and the FIM will have to make arrangements with each other. I think that should work out well, because the two sports also have a lot of respect for each other.

“That overlap certainly adds to the possibility of organising it in one weekend. Drivers, fans and everyone involved would also love to see such an event I think."

			© XPBimages
	© XPBimages

Super Bowl of motorsports

Should COTA become the track to host a possible "Super Bowl" in the future with the two classes working together, it may well mean that instead of two, they can only host one event a year.

Isn't Epstein then afraid of losing a lot of commercial benefit?

"Yes of course, it is perfect for us now. We organise the MotoGP race in the spring and the F1 race in the fall. We like that very much and we would like to keep it that way, but from the other side the fan is number one with us.

“If the fan would prefer a combined event of the two classes and it would be possible, we would certainly want to organise it.

“For now it is still something that seems far away, but I am definitely open to the idea. In addition, the event could also be organized at Silverstone, for example. Then they do it one year and we do it the other year.

"We could organize it as a special event, as a one-off event during the year. Then in my mind, it could be, if it's really an event in itself. You could then also have a good digital picture of the sponsors, so that you can also respect all the sponsorship agreements.

“If you can guarantee that as well, then I think you have all the factors under control to host the event in the future," concluded the optimistic Epstein.

So it may be a while before we get to see a 'Super Bowl' of motorsports, but in the near future, we may just see motorcycles as a support class during an American F1 weekend.

From that prospect, it seems only a small step toward a combination weekend between the two king classes of two and four-wheel racing!

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