Monday, December 10, 2012

Formula 1 returns to the United States!

Christian here, racefriv didnt have any of their usual crew going to the US Grand Prix, so I agreed to take some pictures and write about it!  The first Formula 1 race I attended was at Indianapolis in 2006.  This was the year after the Michelin fiasco, so tickets were subsidized and affordable for a college intern.  The experience was incredible.  I had been to ALMS races before, but it did not prepare me for the noise of an F1 car.  Sitting on the front straight during the start still stands as one of my favorite motorsport moments ever.  When the FIA announced that F1 was returning to the US, I knew I had to find a way to the race.  I traveled to Austin, Texas, with my friend Ian to celebrate F1 coming to the first purpose built Formula 1 track in the United States.

We drove in on State Highway 130, which currently boasts the highest posted speed limit in the U.S.  You can fly on this road, just don't hit the wild hogs.  Its like running into a 55 gallon drum laid its side and filled with ham.

We finally made it to Austin! This was the line on Friday morning to get on the shuttle that takes you to the track.  The people who shelled out for on-site parking didn't look so dumb anymore.

We made it!  Welcome to the Circuit of the Americas.  Also, you still had to walk another half mile to the track.

We made it for real this time!  This is the tower at the center of the track - it looks pretty cool up close and you can hang out up top for as long as you want.

Did I mention this was in Texas?

This a the view of Turn 1 from across the track.  Its very steep uphill and is a table top as well, so all your traction goes away right at turn-in.  Drivers struggled with this during the practice sessions.

Turn 19 & 20 provide one of the best views for general admission tickets. Turn 19 is pretty high speed and many drivers were running wide into the runoff all weekend. (actually, not many drivers, just Alonso many times)

The support races included the Ferrari Challenge.  Their rotors glowed bright red braking into 11, even in the Texas sun.  The starting grid had over $10,000,000 worth of Ferrari 458's.

Sebastian Vettel coming out of Turn 11 all alone.

This was our view for the weekend.  Sitting in the upper grandstands at Turn 11.  You can see turns 1, 4, 5, 12, 13, 14, & 15 from these seats - totally worth the money.

Photo credit to FIA for this one.  Yes, those are cowboy hats and, yes, the crowd loved it.  Bonus points if you can identify the owner of a failed Presidential bid.

The tower lights up at night.  Too bad there were no evening races scheduled.

Me and Ian at our seats at the conclusion of the Grand Prix.

Thanks for reading everyone!!!!!

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