COTA fail to pay Ecclestone on time


COTA may have seen the last of F1 is Co-owner Bobby Epstein is to be believed. When the state finance office announced they were cutting the circuit’s annual subsidy by 20% ($5.5m), Epstein commented, “’We’re screwed. But the big question now, is – Is the race coming back?’”

It now transpires that COTA, like Silverstone, have failed to pay their 2015 race hosting fee to FOM. However, flyaway races such as COTA are expected to pay three months in advance as the 2012 floatation document revealed. “Payments are often received in advance of the event thereby contributing to our favourable working capital dynamics. This is particularly the case for flyaway events, the fees for which typically fall due three months before the relevant event.”

However, Bernie Ecclestone appears relaxed about COTA’s on-payment thus far. “We said they can pay late this year,” Ecclestone said to the Statesman. “They get money from the state, and the money from the state is late, so that’s why they are late.”

Epstein however, is less optimistic. “It’s OK paying after the race, but if they don’t give you enough to pay the sanction fee, you still can’t do it.”

The method for calculating the state subsidy changed in 2015, hence the $5.5m fall in the payment to COTA. There is still the possibility COTA will take legal action against the legislator. In previous years under the governorship of Rick Perry, state Comptroller Susan Combs office had administered the fund; but both left office in January and the major events incentive budget has been shifted to Gov. Greg Abbott’s office.

“The person who dealt with this in the first place is no longer there”, says Ecclestone. “The governor is no longer there. So they have got new people, but they should pay what was agreed. I think we will get the funding back on track again.”

Bernie has been aware of this situation for some months and announced at the US GP he was looking at another race in Southern California. Further, were COTA to fall off the 2016 calendar the inaugural race in Baku will ensure the total number of races doesn’t fall in number.

11 responses to “COTA fail to pay Ecclestone on time

  1. The state, did not “cut” their payment.
    There was never, a set amount of money, that Cota would receive. The major events trust fund, ( now renamed to the major events reimbursement program) was to be based on economic impact.
    Cota was allowed to use their attendance numbers, to estimate that impact. After many groups started watching what they were doing, the state had to take a better look at the actual impact.
    This was not a shock to Cota. They knew eventually they would be looked at.
    Bobby was just hoping it wouldn’t be this year.
    The idea, that they had 224000 people through their gates , that weekend, was a lie too big for even the politicians Bobby is in bed with.

    • To be fair it would appear that as mentioned above the “method for calculating the state subsidy changed in 2015” – it would certainly seem that after the change in Governor that the political will was now present to find the ‘errors’ in the calculating process that had been allowed under the previous administration to fund COTA? So question would seem to be is it a change/lack of political will to fund the GP going forward or was it simply Grand Theft F1 (as you suggest) – in which case facilitated by the previous administration?

      Either way I’ll be very sad to see the track fall off the F1 calendar, quite enjoyed having it. Better than Sochi anyway.Ah well, maybe Baku will surprise.

  2. This is just one more excuse, in a long line of many, that allows Epstein to blame Cota s failure on anything but him.

    • Tax payers in Canada throw a fair bit of gold in the Trolls pot, but I would rather pay for F1 then the billion we spent on the Pan Am Games this summer, where most of the best athletes, from participating countries, didn’t even come.

  3. It’s ironic that Cota rarely talks about the finances, until now and actually they aren’t really saying much. The press is doing all the talking. Do we really know how much is owed to Berny? Is it really $33 Mil? Or is it closer to $19.5 Mil? Oh…and did we forget about the $4 Mil contribution owed to the City of Austin? Think that check will ever get wrote?

    • Or , how about the fact, they have not paid their property taxas. And that court date just got pushed back until April.
      The question isn’t, will F1 be back.
      The question is, will F1 have a place to come back to.

  4. Yeah. But……
    Ecclestone said to the Statesman, via C Sylt.
    Now is he an impeccable source or what?
    Remember the ejection seats……

  5. why do race tracks have to pay at all, or so much? they expose the sport to the public. this sport is too expensive for new teams and new tracks, and existing teams and existing tracks. why cant the sport just take a cut of the ticket sales instead

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