The first U.S. Formula One auto race in five years, slated for Austin, Texas, in two days, would’ve been doomed without a state pledge for as much as $290 million in aid over the next decade, backers say. Keeping that money flowing may prove as tricky as negotiating the track’s curves.
Billionaires Red McCombs and John Paul DeJoria joined other locals to build a $450 million speedway, looking to ignite the nation’s interest in races that draw 50 million television viewers worldwide. Their Texas-size bet came despite past failed efforts to keep the series going in the U.S.
“The staying power of the Austin race is its ability to maintain state funding,” said Christian Sylt, editor of the Formula Money report, published in London. “We can’t say for sure the organizers will receive the state’s funding over time, because it is dependent on the event’s economic impact.”