Growing up in Indonesia, I only knew of one kind of racing. Of course, I didn’t realize that it was F1 until I went to the US Grand Prix this past weekend at the Circuit of the Americas. The thought ran through my head, “Now that’s a real race car!” I’ve probably just pissed off many Nascar fans, but I always thought it was weird that Nascar raced in “regular” cars. The race cars I played with as a little girl were F1 cars…loud, fast, and aerodynamic. You gotta love it!
So what was the F1 experience in Austin? Like many things in Austin, it was a great combination of many things, “eliteness” and “country”, foreigners and locals, F1 and well…Nascar. And now I’ve probaby just pissed off the “elite” F1 fans. Seriously though, let’s take a look at reality. Austin is not Monte Carlo, Shanghai, or Abu Dhabi, nor do we want to be. For goodness sakes, the track is surrounded by trailers and cows. I even saw a man bathing his horse in front of his trailer (not a horse trailer, a house trailer) on the way home. However, Austin is as unique and high tech as Montreal, Melbourne, and other cities who have hosted a grand prix.
I love that Hamilton, Vettel, and Alonso were all given cowboy hats on the podium. Just as often as I heard foreign accents and foreign languages being spoken at the track, I met just as many local F1 fans and supporters. The catered food at the suites included healthy salads and continental foods, as well as burgers and corn dogs. By the way foreigners at the cocktail table behind me, I can NOT believe that you had a plate full of untouched corn dogs. Share the love…I didn’t get any by the time I got up to the buffet table!
The circuit itself received positive reviews from drivers and fans alike. Taking into consideration sequences of turns from other classic and defunct circuits, Circuit of the Americas coordinated features from the Hockenheim, Interlagos, Istanbul, and Silverstone circuits. However, they did add their own little touch…a 133-foot climb to Turn 1. It’s been likened to a roller coaster ride and is apparently a new feature to the F1 circuits. I honestly don’t understand what the big fuss is. Anyone who’s driven Bee Cave Road, especially at night, can see the similarities. Oh wait, most of us don’t accelerate 0-125 mph in five seconds. Not that some haven’t tried.
F1 in Austin is awesome! Sure those globe-trotting billionaires were denied of having their glamourous parties on multimillion dollar yachts on Lady Bird Lake. Apparently, glamourous parties while paddleboarding or kayaking did not appeal to them. However, as evidenced by the foreign invasion of Allens Boots and our food trailers, a little cowboy glamour and Austin weirdness doesn’t hurt anyone! Kudos for having food trailers at the track. We want more of them! Austin can host F1 and its elite crowd as long as we stay true to our “down home” weirdness. Y’all hear that, boutique hotel, water park wielding developers?!