Austin’s F1 Debut Gets A Checkered Flag
Myself, along with a lot of other Austinites, learned quite a bit about Formula 1 racing over the weekend.
Though I didn’t get out to the track myself, I watched the entire race on TV.
Of course, I also did a bit of research leading into the race, and also interacted with some experts via social media during the race, which made the experience all the more helpful.
My general impressions are wow, those are some bad *** cars! What really struck me about F1 was the “Formula,” where the tinkering with the cars is limited mainly to that, so the focus is instead on strategy and tactics by the “constructor” crews and the drivers themselves.
One tank of gas, two sets of tires, the track (in this case, the “Circuit of the Americas”), and your pit strategy.
That seems to me to equalize the competition in a way you don’t see in every sport, making the viewing experience that much more compelling.
Lewis Hamilton from the U.K. took the top of the podium, forcing Sebastian Vettel to wait until the 20th and final race of the season to determine whether or not he’ll go “back to back to back” and win three straight F1 championships.
As for Austin’s ability to host an event of this size, so far, the reviews are pretty flattering. We were expecting over 200,000 people over the long weekend, and despite the expected traffic challenges, the event went off quite smoothly.
The virgin track certainly had some gripping challenges, but that actually made for a more scintillating race, and certainly didn’t keep the drivers from doing some aggressive passing. And the weather was simply perfect.
To my mind, it really starts to cement Austin’s reputation as an “international” city, and I’m looking forward to our hosting future races.
As for me personally, it’s official: I’m a converted F1 fan, and will be making it even more official by adding a new section to MyESPN home page!