On the Ground at the U.S. Grand Prix
So far, the U.S. Grand Prix has been a huge success at the Circuit of the Americas.
Attendance is big, the circuit is absolutely massive, and some of the drivers are calling it a challenge, which is usually a compliment. Yes, the Circuit of the Americas has design elements of famous circuits worldwide like Maggots and Becketts at Silverstone and influence of Suzuka, but does it really deliver like a “proper” Formula One circuit? Can the U.S. Grand Prix surge beyond a mere spectacle? Based on what I have experienced so far, I believe the answer will be a solid “yee haw” (loosely translated to “yes” or “excitement reigns”).
While I am enamoured with the U.S. Grand Prix as an American, what really pushed me over the edge were a few discussions on track and at bars last night with international Formula One fans. I had a great chat with a father-and-son duo of Englishmen well into the wee morning hours over drinks. They had visited Spa, Monaco, and a bunch of other tracks including the hallowed grounds of Silverstone and were well versed in the differences between racing in the United States and elsewhere. We all agreed that one of the best aspects of this U.S. Grand Prix is that the circuit conforms to Formula One. The United States is being represented well and respecting the global Formula One model, which is a very good sign. Instead of fly-by-night promoters and investors scratching and clawing over one another, the organizers, politicians, and owners figured out how to make a lengthy commitment to the sport.
The organizers and staff for the U.S. Grand Prix have done a stellar job on the ground as well. Traffic flows quite well and smoothly despite the doomsday reports all over the internet before the race. The circuit is quite easy to navigate, but very large. And live music dominates the grounds and nearby downtown Austin whenever the symphony of Formula One engines is at rest. There are fantastic viewing opportunities ALL OVER the track with wide panoramas available almost everywhere.
The crowds are enthusiastic and the drivers seem to be responding (and even interacting) quite well. Sergio Perez and Lewis Hamilton have been wave-happy and outwardly happy about being in Texas as well as quite a few others. All in all, from the fan’s perspective, this is a wonderful facility that is deserving of Formula One. Book a trip here. You will not regret it.
Mike is a long-time Formula One fan whose favorite drivers of the modern era include Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso. He also believes in racing cars with fenders and fields his own car in SCCAs Spec Miata class in the United States. He most admires racers like Dan Gurney, Bruce McLaren, John Surtees, Jack Brabham, Mark Donohue and Jim Hall–the rarest breed who could build, race, and win in their own machines. Mike is confident the world will not end in 2012.