The unfortunate saga of the possible third MotoGP race in 2013 at the still-under-construction Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas, continued with MotoGP rightsholders Dorna issuing a statement regarding the lawsuit filed by Schwantz’s company 3fourTexasMGP against the COTA racetrack management.
According to Dorna, “Dorna Sports S.L. entered into a Promoters Contract with 3four Texas MGP LLC in connection with the organization of a FIM MotoGP™ Grand Prix at The Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, on February 11th 2011 to be effective from the 2013 season.” As expected though, the point of contention rests with the fact that the contract that Schwantz had after Tavo Hellmund (the person credited with the original vision of the Austin circuit and making the possibility of an F1 event happen, but who was eventually forced out by COTA management) stepped away after his own legal wranglings with the circuit was that the contract didn’t specify that the race would be held at COTA, only that it would be run in the state of Texas. Dorna stated that it “understood that 3four Texas MGP LLC had an agreement with COTA to run the event.”
Dorna then justifies its termination of the contract with Schwantz by stating that “on the first days of June 2012, Dorna required 3four Texas MGP LLC to provide satisfactory evidence before June 28th about the company having obtained all the necessary rights, licenses and permits related with the availability of the Circuit of the Americas. This is a standard procedure when the Promoter is not the owner of the Circuit.”
“3four Texas MGP LLC was not able to provide such evidence to Dorna (apparently no agreement had ever been entered into between 3four Texas MGP LLC and COTA, the owner of the circuit) within the term granted for such purposes, and therefore Dorna had no other alternative than to terminate the February 11th 2011 Promoters Contract due to such Event of Default. The termination was effective from July 2nd 2012.”
There will surely be many more points of contention if the lawsuit ever gets to court on the intent of COTA’s aim with regards to having Schwantz promote the race, but it’s difficult to overlook the similarities between this situation and the saga that forced out Hellmund from the F1 race promotion picture—specifically that the original contract was circumvented and terminated so that COTA could negotiate directly with the sanctioning body and omit having to pay an outside promoter who had performed most of the legwork in organizing much of the event's logistical framework already.
In apparent disregard for Schwantz’s history and tireless efforts in promoting the sport—nevermind the possibility of a MotoGP race at COTA, which Schwantz reportedly had a hand in designing in order to make sure motorcycle racing could be safely held there—Dorna then states that “conversations continue at this moment” with COTA to host the MotoGP race in 2013.