United States GP set for green light

Rosberg Austin rain

Organisers of the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, are set to end months of uncertainty about their Oct. 23 race and confirm that it will go ahead after scheduling a news conference for Wednesday.

“It isn’t confirmed until we pay, and as of today no money has been paid,” Circuit of the Americas (COTA) President Bobby Epstein told Reuters on Tuesday when asked whether the deal was done.

“We haven’t paid a dime yet. But watch this space.”

The race is currently listed on the official calendar with an asterisk against it as subject to agreement with commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone due to uncertainty over the extent of state funding.

Ecclestone has said repeatedly since December that he expected it to go ahead.

The 2016 season starts in Australia on March 20.

The only round of the championship in the United States is important for teams and sponsors, and popular with fans and drivers. Last year, it saw Britain’s Lewis Hamilton secure his third world championship in a Mercedes.

Media reports in November said that Texas state subsidies were being reduced by more than 20 percent to around $19.5 million from $25 million.

The payment is based on a formula for calculating how much economic activity the race generates for Texas.

Bad weather also hit revenues significantly last year. Saturday’s final practice took place behind closed doors and, when fans were admitted, qualifying could not go ahead and was postponed until the Sunday morning.