There’s a palpable sense of excitement over the return of the USA to the F1 calendar. Several F1 Fanatic readers are making the trip to the Circuit of the Americas to watch the first race at the track.
Here’s what they have to say about the first United States Grand Prix in five years.
Places to stay
If you’re in need of last-minute accommodation Les, who’s been living in Austin for 40 years, has some suggestions:
There is an RV [motorhome] park on site at COTA though I have not seen anything posted about its availability. If you are in a self-contained RV, there might be neighbours to the venue who would allow you to pay to park on their farm/ranch land for the week.
There is a lot of this type of land near the venue. The ‘town’ where COTA is located is named Elroy. Nothing in the way of accommodations at this time. Bubba?óÔé¼Ôäós Wild Grille is the most known eatery.
Golf resorts in the area that I am guessing may have heliport service could be an option. The heliports will make some locations that seem far away in road traffic very convenient by helicopter. Lakeway (west of Austin) Barton Creek (west of Austin), Hyatt Regency at The Lost Pines (near COTA in Bastrop area).
Don?óÔé¼Ôäót forget to look for Bed and Breakfasts or hunting/fishing camps as well.
Looking forward to this! I?óÔé¼Ôäóm at turn 12, row 15. Luckily my ex-boss lives in Austin so staying with him ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ far better than paying the extortionate hotel prices! Also all the other things they seem to keep trying to overcharge for, like the parking.
Rachel Clarke (@rachelc)
I started to look for hotels way back in January, and even then they were going for $300 at least for even the basic two-star hotels. […]
I guess the prices are not too different from the Montreal race? I remember paying around $450-$500 for a three-day pass at grandstand 11 last year in Montreal. Here the non-premium grandstands run up to a similar price, and higher up for the premium ones.
The pricing structure for grandstand seats runs counter to that seen at other circuits:
I find it strange that they are charging more for tickets higher up the grandstand. I would think that it would be better to sit closer to the cars versus farther away. The only other F1 race I’ve attended was in Silverstone. We sat in the very top row of the bleachers. The wind blew at our backs the entire time and we were very cold. The more expensive seats were closer to the track in the same bleachers. I think they were probably warmer as well because the people behind them blocked the wind.
What am I missing with the Circuit of the America?óÔé¼Ôäós pricing? Is it worth it to pay extra to sit up higher and get a slightly better long distance view of the track? I?óÔé¼Ôäóm not sure that it is.
Mitch Lewis (@mitchmann)
And Jason advises that if you’ve already bought a ticket and want to trade up, there may be options available to you:
When they put a second set of stands near turn 12, they made a big deal of how they were allowing general admission ticket holders to upgrade their purchases. They made it sound like they had made a special exception for those with General Admission, but when I called to do make the upgrade it was clear that anyone at any time can upgrade their tickets if they wish. Only you can never downgrade your ticket.
I don?óÔé¼Ôäót have or remember the number, but you should be able to call the ticket folks and get an upgrade to turn one; they were incredibly helpful, patient, and knowledgeable when I upgraded my general admission to turn 12.
What you can – and can’t – take in
There was a minor furore last month when the Circuit of the Americas published a list of what couldn’t be taken into the circuit. They later clarified that cameras with detachable lenses are allowed but other items are restricted:
This is pretty much par for the course at sporting events here in the US, unfortunately. Bag searches, metal detectors, the whole nine yards. (The rule about the camera lens sizes, though ?óÔé¼ÔÇØ that?óÔé¼Ôäós a new one for me.)
It was an eye-opening experience to go to the British GP this year. All you had to do to get in was show your ticket to the polite teenaged boy at the gate. I had been fully prepared for a security checkpoint of some kind. It was great. Viva Silverstone!
@Codesurge has seen this type of thing before:
I?óÔé¼Ôäóm pretty sure that they won?óÔé¼Ôäót have the time to go dig through each and every bag at the circuit gates. If anything, they?óÔé¼Ôäóll be on the lookout for weapons and other dangerous items ?óÔé¼ÔÇ£ if you stash food/drinks at the bottom of a bag and then pile on magazines/raincoats/caps/cameras/other bulky stuff, I don?óÔé¼Ôäót think they?óÔé¼Ôäód bother forcing you to remove the offending food.
It?óÔé¼Ôäós worked for me at Sepang and Singapore and I?óÔé¼Ôäóm planning to do the same in Austin.
F1 Fanatics going to the 2012 United States Grand Prix
Here are some of the F1 Fanatic readers who?óÔé¼Ôäóve said they?óÔé¼Ôäóre going to this year?óÔé¼Ôäós race. Have a great time everyone and remember to share your images and videos with us when you get back!
First Grand Prix outside of Australia, so pretty pumped! Can?óÔé¼Ôäót wait to meet up with some fellow F1 Fanatics.
Stephen Jones (@aus_steve)
Just received my tickets for the Circuit of the Americas race, woohoo!
You can tell that F1 is all glamour. The MOTO GP tickets i got earlier this year for Indy were all flimsy. These are solid. At least the Premium ones.
If you?óÔé¼Ôäóre heading to the race join in the discussion in the forum:
And remember to share your pictures and video here:
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Image ?é?® COTA/Rizzo