This was my first F1 race. From nothing to f1 host in 2 years, pretty remarkable, no doubt aided by dry weather. I had tickets at turn 12, which looked like and turned out to be the best place to pass someone, right at the end of the DRS zone.
You would never know an F1 race was going on judging by traffic on the north side of austin, no traffic until I got to the expo center, which was no problem on friday, a bit worse on saturday when I arrived at 1030. Sunday was pretty bad though, spent about 20 minutes waiting in line outside the expo center after leaving the house at 845; had an asshat try to cut in right in front of the cops at the turn into the expo center but went around him and gave him a piece of mind.
The line to get on the buses followed suit, with the worst being sunday. Once on the buses though things went pretty quick, about a 15 minute ride to the track with no stops, but the 3/4 mile walk from the bus to the track, mostly uphill was a challenge. Then climbing up the grandstand was good for pushing the limits. Bag checks were mostly cursory
and went quickly.
Plenty of vendors, and lots of long lines. I never ate any of the food but brought BLTs the first two days. Plenty of beer the first 2 days, and most were served in the 16oz size, including stella artois. They also sold beer on sunday morning before noon, which is the law of the land outside of COTA. Merchandise was outrageously priced, with team t-shirts starting at $60.
The cars were awesome and blindingly fast, fighting for traction leaving turn 14, gearing down from 12 to 13 as the shifting up and down caused the occasional backfire. We saw a couple crashes between ferraris at 12 during practice.
As fast as the f1 cars were, the audible aura from the vintage f1 cars was even more intense, most were flat 12 ferraris but what a glorious racket.
The stands were packed tight on saturday and sunday, and the lines to get on the busses to leave were bad on saturday and especially sunday, when it backed up a half mile or so. Lots of people just ignored the end of the line and walked to the front making the wait longer, so I sat off to the side and waited about a half hour before it started moving again. Even so, i was home right around sunset.
The race itself was somewhat eventful with alonzo making another great start. Webber got in front of LH for a time, the LH got it back. Webber dropped out with the team's 3rd alternator DNF this year. LH got close to vettel, then dropped back until they all pitted. He made another run and got close enough to use his DRS when vettel hit some traffic and got past. Vettel stayed close enough to make a run himself, but LH never had to slow for traffic in the last few laps, keeping vettel out of the DRS zone. The nearby monitor gave us all a head up when to stand up and we did plenty of that as LH and vettel, JB, and a few others did their passing there. Lots of national flags flying and sergio had a vocal contingent every time he came by.
Anyway, a great job putting it together. There's lots of unfinished bits, chiefly the drop off points for the buses
and permanent restrooms and concession stands. Rain would definitely ruin any event held there now until they
get some road surface laid down outside the track. No night racing until they get lights.
Here is what COTA looked like a bit over 2 years ago (11/7/10)