Austin, Texas is about to host one of many largest sporting occasions of the 12 months—maybe the largest. Attendance for the 2021 US Grand Prix topped 400,000 spectators all through the weekend. The game of Components One within the US has since continued its exponential development, thanks largely to the Drive to Survive documentary sequence. This weekend marks the tenth anniversary of internet hosting the US Grand Prix at Circuit of the Americas (COTA), and it’s sure to set a brand new benchmark for F1 in the US.
My first F1 expertise was on the 2018 US Grand Prix, which pre-dated the Netflix present. We stayed on the new Fairmont Austin Resort, which had simply opened. There was actually a way that F1 was on the town, nevertheless it wasn’t the dominant pressure it’s turn into in the present day. I landed in Austin on Tuesday forward of the upcoming race weekend, and F1 is in all places. From the airport to the inns and the famed sixth Road bars, Austin is being reworked from the stay music capital of the world to the house of Components One (for this week, anyway).
The Fairmont is now an Official Components 1 Paddock Associate and has turn into the lodge of selection for F1 drivers. I’ve been clear about my affinity for the Fairmont model, so I welcome the truth that it’s turn into the social middle for the USGP in downtown Austin. Even in the event you’re not staying on the lodge, the property encompasses a half-dozen eating places and bars which you could go to whereas on the town. That is doubtless your greatest probability of recognizing a Drive to Survive star exterior of the paddock itself.
It additionally seems that most of the largest DJs on the planet are taking part in in Austin through the Grand Prix weekend. The Fairmont is reworking one in every of its ballrooms for back-to-back reveals that includes The Chainsmokers on Friday and Marshmello on Saturday night time. These are being promoted by Seize Studios, the place normal admission tickets begin at $175, and personal tables for as much as 20 visitors run as a lot as $35,000. VIP Lounge Passes value $1,000 every and embody entry to a backstage lounge, a premium open bar with servers, and concierge-style service and entrance to the occasions. These occasions are the place the world of F1 will celebration this weekend.
As for the race itself, COTA is a driver favourite that ranks amongst legendary tracks like Spa and Suzuka. It’s each enjoyable to drive and difficult with a number of high-speed corners and loads of overtaking alternatives. The monitor was purpose-built to host F1 races, so this isn’t an enormous shock. Throughout the 2018 Grand Prix, I sat at flip 12, which is a heavy braking zone on the finish of the again straight. You possibly can then watch turns 13 by means of 17 in fast succession, the place there’s at all times wheel-to-wheel motion. After which you possibly can spot flip 20 as drivers enter the principle straight. It’s arguably the most effective place to view the race. That mentioned, one of many key options of COTA is that spectators can see quite a lot of the monitor from any given level, because of its considerate design and elevation adjustments.
This would be the first race at COTA with the new-for-2022 F1 laws, which allow vehicles to comply with nearer for longer with out overheating. Because the monitor already inspired shut racing, we may very well be in for some distinctive battles come Sunday. We’re in search of redemption from Ferrari. We’re in search of Mercedes to return to the rostrum. We’re in search of Leclerc and Perez to combat for second place within the driver’s championship, and we’d see Purple Bull lock up the constructor’s championship with a powerful exhibiting. Thankfully, the climate forecast appears to be like best and maybe even a bit heat with temperatures within the excessive 80s and a really low probability of rain.
You possibly can comply with my Instagram for the play-by-play through the weekend, and I’ll comply with up with a full race recap following the race.