Austin F1 track construction begins

F1 Fanatic round-up

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In today’s round-up, video of construction beginning at the site of the 2012 United States Grand Prix.


Video: Construction at the F1 Austin site begins (Austin-American Statesman)

Sporting moments of the year (The Daily Telegraph)

David Coulthard: “Following hard on the heels of the constructors’ title win in Brazil, it was a hell of a week for Red Bull and I take enormous pride at the role I played in their six-year journey to success.”

Webber coming of age a sight for bleary eyes (Sydney Morning Herald)

“For years staff battled to stay awake as in Europe and elsewhere Michael Schumacher ‘won’ Grands Prix, Rubens Barrichello dutifully finished second and Mark Webber was somewhere around eighth. All that changed this year when Webber and his Red Bull team mate, Sebastian Vettel, suddenly had the best cars. Even better, they decided there was no room for silly ideas such as there being no ‘I’ in team.”

December 29th, 2010 (McLaren)

Some interesting facts about the McLaren headquarters for the horticulturally-inclined.

Comment of the day

Can Williams really crack the top four in 2011? Scribe doesn’t think so:

Renault, the closest in the table to Williams in the table, was much closer to the top four than Williams was to them. They easily outpaced them over the season, Williams only started to catch up once Renault stalled development to concentrate on 2011. Remember also that while Williams may have been compromised by a late-ish engine switch, Renault where compromised by the upheaval in their ownership, to the point that when we first saw there car, loads of us on these forums thought it was possibly last years cars with new wings.

This year however, the Enstone team has bagged a massive new multi-year sponsor, while Williams has lost two large sponsors, had to drop a very talented young lad who gained them their first pole in yonks, for a pay driver who Hulkenburg soundly thrashed the previous year.

If anything Renault and Mercedes will only be stronger next year. Williams probably can’t make such a step. Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren, well there already near the top. The gap between them might change in relation to each other and possibly to Renault and Mercedes, but again, to Williams? They’ll have to mess up, don’t think Williams will leapfrog any of them.

From the forum

We’re still sharing details of our F1 presents – I’ve just posted mine.

Happy birthday!

It’s the last F1 Fanatic reader birthday of the year – happy birthday to AlvinK!

Image © Red Bull/Getty images

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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47 comments on “Austin F1 track construction begins”

  1. Happy Birthday AlvinK!

    I was just thinking yesterday that the USGP people hadn’t lived up to their promise that they’d break ground in December, and then this news today! Can’t wait to see it start progressing. This also makes me wonder how the Indian GP is coming along. Haven’t seen pics of that in a month or so.

    1. To keep the promise they dug a hole on the penultimate day of 2010. Hope this isn’t going to become like South Korea where the track was completed just days before the race.

    2. Great news indeed, right on the edge of the year, but they made the first milestone!

      Happy birthday from me as well AlvinK.

  2. Great post there from Scribe. It’s easy to forget with the hullabaloo over the Lotus naming debacle that Renault have signed their first big money, long term sponsorship deal since ING back in 2007… their future is looking much brighter all of a sudden, regardless of what we have to call them

    1. As a Renault fan I prefer that they were in the sexy Yellow Black livery and called Renault, I wouldn’t mind if Renault just stayed in as an engine supplier only.

      I wouldn’t so much mind a Lotus Racing Team whether it was Team Lotus or whatever, providing that lying snake Bahar wasn’t behind it trying to undermine everything anyone else says.

      Funny that, Renault fans such as myself finally manage to ditch Uncle Flavio and in his place we get Bahar.

    2. Cheers Ned! My first COTD for ages, doubt being this satisfied is normal.

      An it’s true that it’s a great story for F1, regardless of the fact that the sponsers seem to be slightly mentalist. Still mentalist money does pay for windtunnels. First big money comming into the sport from the outside since the crunch maybe? Excluding the affiliate companies Branson and Fernandes brought with them.

      Wonder if they’ll start to flow back in a little bit, after all the recession is technically over. Williams will desperately hope so, Sauber and prehaps even McLaren ditto, oh and HRT.

      1. As we know sponsorship deals are announced in days before the car launch I think we’ll see Williams announcing a few deals of their own in January. There have been some noises coming from Qatar for example…

        1. We can only hope and look forward to it. I would love Williams to join the winner circle again next year.

  3. wow austin looks like a wasteland.. exciting stuff though

    1. It’s winter.

      1. They must be glad thats not NY, I saw pictures of the snow storms there. That’s what I call winter!

        1. Yeah, winter in Austin is when it gets down to 60 degrees and there’s a nice breeze (like today).

  4. More info on the MTC for those inclined with the “green” credentials of a company

    The lake, one of the signature features of the building is not simply there for the sake of appearances. Functional as well as aesthetically attractive, its 50,000 cubic metres of water form a vital part of the cooling infrastructure for the building.

    I heard a rumour the designers also imported a certain type of fish (think its Japanese) that feed off algae to stop the lakes becoming polluted with its own fauna, pretty impressive stuff (well to a hippie like me).

    There’s a BMW plant in America as well that uses a mixture of Geothermal energy and pollutants from a landfill to power itself.

    1. Things like these actually show it is not a question of being a tree hugger. Just using knowledge to get the best out of your options. Let’s hope the new engine/chassis rules work out just as good for the racing.

      1. Your right BasCB, I just find it ingenius that instead of relying on an electrically fed cooling system they use a natural resource which they can maintain themselves.

        It be nice if other companies did the same.

        MTC also uses special self cleaning pilkington glass, so no need to waste water washing them, I think its got a layer of Titanium Dioxide they breaks down dirt into nothing. It might be something else but thats the element I’d go for, any chemistry bods here feel free to correct me.

    2. It’s used primarily for cooling the wind tunnel which runs 24/7 apparently.

  5. The narrating was the most dreary thing I ever heard!

    1. I know right, she sounded almost android.

      1. Hopefully that’s not indicative of the level of excitement for F1 in Austin!

    2. Agreed. The woman narrating the video had enunciated her words to such an extreme that I was both distracted and disinterested. Though perhaps reporting on the drilling of soil samples and erecting of silt fencing isn’t exactly the most glamorous assignment for a news correspondent.

  6. I have a question I hope you can help me with Keith.

    When calculating the average finishing positions of the drivers, how do you take into account the DNF’s.

    1. DNF could be considered as ‘0’

      1. No, 0 would make their average lower, i.e. a better place. He must use 24 for DNFs.

  7. Is that Austin Texas? I can understand why Bernie wants a us GP but I think this one will die the death after a couple of years just like those before it. Yes there are some American fans, but as we’ve seen, the yanks aren’t too interested in watching sports that don’t have a decent measure of home grown interest, and who can blame them. The other unfortunate thing is that F1 is logistically a EuroAsian undertaking and generating that much interest, even in the modern digital age is going to be a serious chore.

    Canada is a slightly different case with it’s strong links to europe from early British a French colonisation, but the US have their own classifications and I can’t see them ever having much F1 involvement.

    1. I think the USGP will do just fine, even without a US team or driver. Here’s a few points to consider.

      The US population is similar in size to western Europe so a smaller percentage fan base compared with, say, the UK for one race could be plenty.

      Also: There are a lot of people living in this country who were not born here and who brought interest in ‘global’ sport with them.

      And it’s relatively easy to get to Texas from all the big US, Canadian, Mexican and even S. American cities so fans will travel from all over this part of the world. From Europe too, I hope (including from countries who’ve also lost ‘their’ GP as the US did for a while, – France and Austria for example).

      Plus there’s a bunch of cash floating around here, even after the banks somehow lost a chunk of it. Local, casual fans, which are a part of every F1GP weekend (except maybe in Monaco), will certainly be able to afford to check F1 out.

      Sports in general is a huge weekend pastime in the USA, so any event of this magnitude will have a chance to occupy a small part of that universe and yet do very nicely. I’ve noticed that Indy cars seem to get very little coverage in mainstream or big time sports media these days and yet manage to draw big crowds to most races. NASCAR dominates motor sports but there’s room for other events.

      Most short lived US GPs did not have a dedicated facility or were not actually very close to a large city, as this one is. A parking lot in Vegas, a street circuit in Detroit or Long Beach or a smallish track in upstate New York really can’t compare. I hope.

      So I hope skepticism regarding Austin, TX is wrong! I want to travel to the outskirts of that fine city for the USGP for many years to come, starting in a mere 18 months or so.

      And by the way, the private construction industry seems to be amazingly fast and efficient in the US, so there should be plenty of time to get the place ready. The organizers already got round a potential 6 month delay due to federal flood-plane regulations thanks to local government support, and there are plenty of contractors looking for work. Should all help to get the track up and running in time.

      1. Hmm don’t get me wrong, I certainly have nothing againtst a USGP, though I don’t think most of your points warrant it will be a success at all. Stil, only time will tell. Lets pick the conversation up in lets say 5 years, and if I’m wrong, the beers… at the Austin TExas facility are on me!

        1. USGP always got big crowds at at Indianapolis, an that track was rubbish.

          1. Most visitors were Canadians who didn’t want to fork out the $300+ per night for accommodations and the incredible ticket prices for the Canadian GP. ;)

        2. It’s a date! Hope they have some better beer than last time I was in TX.

          1. scalextric, maybe you didn’t make it to Austin and try walking up and down Sixth Street. There many many pubs there that serve all kinds of beer from around the world including micro breweries from in and around Austin.

        3. just for your info with usa not having people attend the usgp race, the 2000 usgp was one of the largest attended race in f1 history at 225,000 people were there or race day. so all the people who say that the us races were never cared about or just forgotten are dead wrong. The big problem with indy was the track was not that great and f1 ****** the americans off and turned them off to the sport by putting on one of the biggest **** yous they could have ever done to the usa race fans by having a race that 6 cars started in and pretty much didnt do anything to make the problem right, also they didnt care about the fans at all to return money or to come out and say sorry for it. Any chance f1 had to get usa fans were crushed because of that. So i hate how people say the usa fans dont come or dont care about f1 racing when that race in 2000 was one of the biggest attended races in f1 history and if you dont believe me look it up. Everyone will come and reply to this that a race like canada in 2010 had over 300,000 fans attend, that number is over the 3 day race weekend not race day. The 225,000 number was just for race day alone. Im not trying to make trouble but it burns me up. also here are some attendance numbers from 2010….. Chinese Formula One Grand 85,000 even tho that number is not true and inflated, Canadian Formula One Grand Prix almost 300,000 that was over the 3 day weekend so i dont know the race day number but its no where near that its around 125,000 mark im pretty sure, British Formula One Grand Prix 115,000 on race day,German Formula One Grand Prix 65,000, 2009 Turkish F1 Grand Prix 35,000. You get the pic? Our race in america did just as good as the euro races have done.

          1. Actually, Michelin did apologize and gave out free tickets to the the race the following year. I think it was a one-for-one deal because I had 8 tickets the following year (I purchased only four).

  8. Did the entire Sydney Morning Herald staff go into a coma between 2007 and 2009?

    1. That article has me seething with frustration at just how little the writer knows, and how little effort went into researching.

      The inaccuracies are too numerous to fit into one post.

      1. I thought the exact same thing. A lot of Aussie bias coming from someone who know little or nothing about the sport.

        I am an Aussie and even I was cringing while reading that article.

        1. Yeah, putting Schumacher “won” in quotes really takes away any journalistic credibility may have been there. Personal gripes shouldn’t make it into a news article, that’s what editorials are for.

  9. That looks more like around of nowhere, Texas. It’s only empty fields on the video horizon. I wonder where are all those 5 stars hotels Bernie loves so much… Yet, let’s give them a chance. Maybe it comes good at the end.

    1. The track is outside of the city, You cant build a race track right in the middle of one of the largest citys in the world. Look up austin its an amazing city

  10. I think Renault can be a big surprise next year. Everyone just say that next year there will be 4 teams which will fight for the world championship. Renault can overtake Mercedes in 2011 and even close the gap to top teams, because they switched to R31 quite early and they have bigger resources than Mercedes. Besides their rate of development during the course of the year was one of the highest.

  11. happy 2011, everyone

    1. Thanks, I’ll have to wait a couple of hours for that to come true!

  12. Re: Texas
    I hope they seriously consider making overtaking possible, so that it does not happen like in Abu Dahbi.

  13. Congrats on the Cotd Scribe. I completely agree but mostly I just loved your argument and reasoning.

  14. anybody here who compares this project to Korea is a fool.

  15. People in the US and, Texas in particular, will have to be educated about F1. They are used to wheel to wheel racing and watching pit strategy being played out in front of the fans. Because they identify with drivers and not teams, it will be difficult to convince them that it’s ok to let your team mate pass you without a fight for the team’s sake. Drivers are considered ‘men’s men’, rolling over for a team mate would be viewed as…less than a manly thing to do.
    The press in particular will have to be schooled in the nuanses of F1. One well known but, F1 ignorant, journo could devestate F1 in America. This is going to be a big test for F1. Americans can be fickle and turned off at the drop of a dime.

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