My sixth and final Formula 1 race of the 2012 season took me to Austin, Texas this November… via a few stops along the way in Dallas and Houston. I decided to book a flight to an alternate city for two reasons, first the price of the flight was cheaper and more importantly the price for a rental car was a fraction of the cost that the Austin businesses were charging. The drive from Houston to Austin was a little over three hours and I went straight in for the worker party which was set up for us near the track by the marshal organizers – United States Auto Club – USAC.
On Friday I got my first glimpse of the track and it looked quite impressive. It didn’t seem as exotic as say Sepang or Yas Marina Circuit, but it had some hints of modernity and plenty of elevation changes. Nothing like Mosport in Canada, but similar nonetheless. My station assignment was at “Alpha” which is on the main straight directly opposite the pit exit. The station itself had a major flaw for blue flagger, which happened to be me, because they placed a large brake marker on the pole where the flag cutout was, basically eliminating any view down the track.
This situation was fixed towards the end of the practice day as my post chief was super accommodating and listened to my suggestions. This doesn’t always happens but since it did I was very happy. Saturday and Sunday it was quite exiting to see so many spectators at our turn. The traffic didn’t cause a problem and we were able to enter and exit the track without much of an issue. Of course we were the first to arrive, and close to last to leave.
The racing itself was not what it could have been. Too clean. Hardly anything spectacular happened in terms of incidents. No safety car deployed. So pretty quiet. With so many Mexicans and Latin Americans in attendance I was expecting a few drivers to step up their game, but that didn’t quite happen. Similarly, the organizers didn’t really give us any opportunity to get US F1 GP memorabilia… we were all provided with Circuit of the Americas hats and t-shirts, but that’s obviously not the same as getting United States F1 Grand Prix hats and t-shirts. Oh well!
I had an absolute blast and am hopeful I’ll get to do this again next year. Thanks to everyone that made this trip possible, especially the good folks at USAC!
One of the perks of working Alpha is it’s proximity to all the track entertainment 🙂