It was such a pleasure wrapping up my involvement with the Formula 1 preparation sessions at City Hall on September 4. It is difficult to prepare for such a large inaugural event, but I have faith in those who attended the sessions – they now have plenty of tools to ensure that their guests feel comfortable and have a positive overall experience.
To put things in perspective, Formula 1 weekend is beyond just a large local event. 300,000 visitors are expected to come to Austin from Friday November 16 to Sunday November 18 – more than our ACL Music Festival and South by Southwest guests combined! And it makes sense – with the exception of the Olympics and World Cup, there is no sporting event with more viewers. Think the Superbowl is a big deal? Formula 1 weekend is viewed by over 600 million people — more than five times the most watched Superbowl of all time.
So now that we’ve talked etiquette, how do we mentally prepare for such an event? For one thing, those who do not like crowds should leave town by the Wednesday before the race at the absolute latest. And those who do stay in town should not plan on going anywhere quickly throughout the event days. Move your appointments and add hours of extra time to pick your kids up from school – traffic will likely be at a standstill for much of our fair city, most of the time.
Of course, if you are planning on attending like I am, get ready for a great weekend! And learn all you can beforehand regarding transportation, parking and logistics. Here are a few helpful websites with more information regarding the race weekend:
Official City of Austin F1 Website:
Official Grand Prix website:
The Circuit of the Americas website, where event packages are still available:
Some incredible City of Austin public servants, such as Economic Growth Deputy Director Rodney Gonzales, have been working tirelessly to prepare us for mid-November. And while we will surely learn from our first year “with the gig,” I know that they will have us well on our way to a truly one-of-a-kind Austin experience.
While Formula 1 is new to Austin, it is far from a new event. And with 65 years of experience under its belt. the Grand Prix made a very thoughtful decision to build its newest, specially designed course here. As these 200+ mph vehicles descend on Austin in November, I for one am bursting with pride for our “small town” – a city that never falls short when it comes to finding new fans.