Circuit of The Americas will become the only venue to host both IndyCar and Formula 1 next season, but there are no guarantees a direct comparison between the two series will be possible.
The 2019 IndyCar schedule was confirmed on Tuesday morning, with COTA taking its spot as the second race of the season after the opener in St. Petersburg. With no other IndyCar venue hosting Formula 1, Austin could provide the opportunity to see how the two series stack up against each other on the same track, but COTA chairman Bobby Epstein told RACER there may be changes made to the layout by March.
“I agree, you’re going to have comparisons and we were actually looking at track modifications,” Epstein said. “There are two that we’ve considered. Years ago we did an Aussie V8 race and we had a different track configuration. We’ve got a slight modification that we think would be really fun to run with the IndyCars. It’s something we’re looking at, for sure. I don’t think the side-by-side comparisons are good for anybody, it’s really about the excitement of the race.”
When asked if those modifications would mean using the different layouts that shorten the track by cutting from Turn 6 to the middle of the back straight, Epstein says a new layout could be constructed.
“There’s a lot of flexibility in that area of things you can do,” he said. “It involves asphalt that’s not there today. We’ve got two designs in place that we’re looking at, and we’re looking at the cost of it. On the other hand, if we don’t do the modification, we’re looking at some creative things we can do in terms of some infield camping opportunities.
“We want it to be a unique event on its own, and I think the nature of the American spirit and what we can build around an IndyCar event doesn’t need to be identical to any other event we have. We’re really looking at things we can do in terms of the on-site weekend experience for the fans.
“This came together very quickly. So from a planning standpoint we’ve got a pretty short runway from here to March, but we’re going to do a lot of things we can do. Both taking advantage of what we think are already existing fun assets, and looking at other things that would be unique twists to the IndyCar event.”