In November, I went to Austin to see the F1 USGP with my cousins Navin and Vishnu.
We elected to park our car far from the track and take free shuttles. Parking at the track was really expensive.
Here we are waiting in line to get on shuttles to the track. If you ever go to a race, be prepared to wait in lines. For hours. Everywhere.
We spotted the track from the bus!
This guy made the most amazing hat that I have ever seen.
The race was held at the Circuit of the Americas, a race track specifically made for Formula One’s return to the United States (the first track specifically made for F1 in the US). It was designed by Hermann Tilke, who has held a monopoly in designing new tracks for F1 for over a decade.
The observation tower was designed by Miró Rivera Architects. The views from it are supposed to be amazing. We didn’t go up because it costs $35 for 10 minutes at the top. o.O
Medical Helicopter. The number of life threatening and fatal accidents in F1 has gone down dramatically but you can never be too safe.
The race control car. Not as cool as the Mercedes-Benz SLS Safety Car.
F1 cars are fast. It is really hard to catch them without good timing or great camera equipment. Here is the nose of Felipe Massa‘s Ferrari F2012. Until recently, Felipe was my favorite driver. He narrowly lost the championship to Lewis Hamilton in 2008 by 1 point. He was injured at the 2009 Hungarian Grand Prix when debris from fellow Brazilian Rubens Barichello‘s car hit him in the head. Even though he recovered and returned to F1, he hasn’t been as successful ever since.
The track had plenty of normal event food like hot dogs and burgers, but there were a few local food trucks. I hope they have more next year. I hear great things about the food trucks in Austin.
I wonder how it feels to be a race photographer. On one hand, lugging around heavy equipment probably sucks. On the other, getting exclusive access must yield some great shots.
Earplugs are a must bring for F1 races. The loud, high pitched whine of the F1 engines isn’t deafening, but is too loud to stand for long periods of time.
Massa! I was lucky to get this shot.
The view of the turn 9 bleachers and general admission areas from our seats at turn 6.
We originally wanted to get the general admission tickets so that we could picnic on the grass, but the tickets sold out quickly. We ended up getting tickets on the bleachers.
The view from my seat.
Even though Ferrari fans were the most common, we saw plenty of support for Red Bull, McLaren and Lotus.
F1 races aren’t limited to just one race on one day. They are actually 3 day long affairs. The first two days are filled with practice sessions and races from other series. The F1 race is only at the end of the last day. Here is a 458 Italia from the Ferrari Challenge, a race series that allows Ferrari customers to race their cars in a one make stock car series.
There was also a leg of the IMSA GT3 Cup Challenge held during the weekend. I got a few shots of the Porsches, but they didn’t come out well. :/
1983 Williams FW08C
1974 Brabham BT-44
One of the famous Tyrell P34 6-wheeled cars. They were perhaps the most radical cars to ever appear in F1.
1974 March 741
The famous 1978 Lotus 79. It was the first car to take full advantage of ground effects. Mario Andretti won five out of eleven races in 1978 in his Lotus 79 and went on to win the world championship that year.
1982 March 821. A lot of people love the blue and orange gulf oil livery, but one of my personal favorites is the white, blue and red Rothmans livery. It looked exceptional on the Group C Porsches like the 956.
The beautiful 1969 Ferrari 312.
The Historic Grand Prix was a great sight. It was great to see cars spanning 3 decades all racing together.
Check back in a few days for part 2 of this post!