Austin, the capital of Texas, is well-known for music and culture and in recent years it has become famous for Formula One racing as well. The American city has been playing host to F1 Austin, the United States Grand Prix.
Formula One president Bernie Ecclestone, back in August 2009, had indicated that there were no plans for F1 motor racing in the US, and went as far as saying F1 would “never return” to Indianapolis where it had been staged. However, he changed his mind about F1 in America because on 25 May, 2010, Austin was awarded with a contract for 10 years. A deal starting in 2012 was settled with Ecclestone and F1 racing promoters Full Throttle Productions for Austin to host the popular racing event.
A new and specially built track called the Circuit of the Americas was constructed for the United States Grand Prix. Despite some initial problems and delays, the circuit was built and the Grand Prix in Austin took place in 2012 as planned. It was the first custom-built F1 motor racing track constructed in America and was officially opened on 21 October, 2012 by 1978 F1 world champion, Mario Andretti.
The race was a great success and the then reigning champion Sebastian Vettel from Germany took pole position in the first race, with Britain’s Lewis Hamilton, continuing his unbeaten run in F1 racing in America, as the winner. It was the British driver’s third world title.
Of course, success in F1 owes as much to the quality of the F1 racing cars being driven as it does to the skills of the drivers. These single-seater, open-wheeled cars, with an open cockpit and the engine positioned behind the driver, need to be in an optimum state for performance, speed and manoeuvrability. This is why the F1 racing teams, who construct these racing cars, must keep this in mind, when, for example, they buy bearings, as vitally important components needed to ensure smooth running and reliability.
In spite of the great success and popularity of the F1 United States Grand Prix in Austin, there have been worries about the future of the race. The Mexican Grand Prix returned to Mexico City in 2015 and has been a firm rival for F1 fans when it comes to ticket sales and attendances for these events. Very bad weather was another big problem in 2015. On top of that, there were drastic cuts in funding by the state of Texas for the event. However, on 9 March, 2016, the go ahead for the United States Grand Prix in Austin was given. Circuit of the Americas president, Bobby Epstein, described the long-term future for the event as on “very solid ground.”