Brought to you by TJ13 contributor Adam Macdonald who is in Austin for the GP.
The initial skepticism in 2012 of whether Formula One would be able to capture the interest of the Americans was answered with a resounding ‘yes.’ The attendance of 265, 499 people shows in the plainest of terms how F1 gripped the Texan city. With an estimated $191.2 million worth of media coverage, the people of Austin have every reason to continue to support the Grand Prix.
Like many others, I have made the journey over the Mexican border into the United States to watch what should be a great race. With so much going on in relation to driver transfers in the past 48 hours, this race has become so much more important than first anticipated.
The thing that has really struck me so far is the way that everything seems to have been considered, from exiting the plane to large scale events throughout the city and the surroundings. Everyone seems to be involved in the event, but what is more, is that everyone wants to be a part of the action.
My Taxi driver from the airport (oddly enough called Felipe), is going to be driving the Santander corporate guests and was proud to be telling me about it. Having been at Melbourne in 2011 and Silverstone in 2012, and then 2013 with TJ13’s manager John, you really got the sense of a division between the F1 circus and the fans who follow the sport so loyally. Here in Austin it is completely different.
With most of the teams and media staying in the 4 main hotels, it is easy enough to catch your favorite drivers or team members. Speaking to a couple at the airport, they bumped into Nico Rosberg as he went into the Hilton last year. F1 seems far removed from everyone in the UK, but here it is a different world.
The only thing that had been a slight disappointment from last year was the downtown concert attendances, which ranged from 2,000 to 4,000, when organizers had originally expected up to 12,000. The Austin Fest concerts start tomorrow, with Christian Horner and Sebastian Vettel rumored to be opening it. If one thing is certain this weekend, it’s that the ‘boo bus’ will not be in town.
Another stumbling block could be the University of Texas American Football match against rivals Oklahoma, which will push resources to their limits on Saturday. It will be interesting to see how the city copes with two major events happening at once.
And finally, the picture above was the view I had as we circled Austin before landing. All in all, a great start to the week so hopefully it all continues in the same vein.