OCTOBER 24, 2021
US GP eyes record crowd as covid measures fade
Organisers of the US GP in Austin are confident a new deal to keep hosting Formula 1 at the Circuit of the Americas will soon be reached.
The chances of that have only risen over the course of this weekend - the first in Texas since 2019, before the start of the covid-19 pandemic.
Inside the paddock, Formula 1's strict covid guidelines remain in place - but it's a different story for the 120,000 spectators in the grandstands each day.
Mask wearing in Texas is voluntary, and F1 attendees are not required to be vaccinated. As a result, the circuit is bursting at the scenes with spectators.
"The number of visitors corresponds to that of four Super Bowls, all in one weekend. It will be a historic event," said US GP boss Bobby Epstein.
"It could even be a record - even more than the premiere in 2012. We're expecting up to 360,000 spectators over the weekend."
A delegation from Las Vegas is in Austin this weekend for talks with Formula 1 about a potential race in Nevada's famous casino capital in 2023.
But also taking place are discussions about a new grand prix contract for Austin.
"It's not about whether Formula 1 will stay in Austin, it's about for how long," Epstein insisted. "And the financial details."