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Ultimate Guide to the USA Grand Prix

After the sadness of 2020’s cancellation due to the pandemic, it’s great to be feeling the sorely missed buzz of Grand Prix weekend once again in Austin.

The stage is set and qualifying is just around the corner, so let’s celebrate the triumphant return of the USA Grand Prix with a quick history and some of the key information about the race and the wonderful city of Austin.

Find everything you need in our ultimate USA Grand Prix guide.

The dome of Texas State Capitol in Austin as seen from ground level

Image: Clark Van Der Beken / Unsplash

Where is the USA Grand Prix?

The American Grand Prix takes place at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, where it’s been held since 2012. Texas is America’s fastest-growing state and Austin is booming—the city is fast approaching a population of 1 million (currently sitting at just over 961,000), and gaining a global reputation as a place to be.

The city is hard to pin down culturally. Part technology haven, part throwback Texan charm, and part foodie paradise, Austin is the full package. And on Grand Prix weekend, the biggest action can be found on and around the track at the Circuit of The Americas.

A wide shot of downtown Austin, Texas on a sunny afternoon with the river in the foreground

Image: MJ Tangonan / Unsplash

Circuit of The Americas

The Circuit of The Americas is a modern racetrack with some technical sections that take inspiration from Sliverstone in the UK. The track has two long straights, one of which features the famous climb towards the wide corner number 1. Here’s some of the key information about the Circuit of The Americas:

A Red Bull Racing F1 car closely tails a Ferrari F1 car as they round a corner at the Austin Grand Prix

Image: Bill Stephan / Unsplash

American racing legend Mario Andretti officially took the first lap of the Circuit of The Americas on October 21, 2012. His weapon of choice? None other than his Lotus 79 F1 car—the same car in which he won the 1978 F1 drivers' championship. Decked out in the classic black and gold paint with John Player livery, the Lotus 79 was a racing icon, and matched to the legend Andretti made for the perfect way to kick off a new era of American F1.

A close up of the American flag with the setting sun behind

Image: Andrew Ruiz / Unsplash

A brief history of F1 in the USA

The American Grand Prix’s history is one of the more turbulent stories in Formula 1. The race has run on and off for over 100 years, originally under the name ‘Grand Prize'. It’s been hosted at exotic locations like Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, as well as strongholds of American motorsport like Indianapolis.

F1 has called the following places home in the USA, for varying lengths of time:

So you can see this race has a nomadic past, unlike most of its European counterparts—travelling from city to city, and coast to coast in search of a place to call home, before settling in Texas in 2012.

Fierce loyalty to homegrown motorsport events like NASCAR and the Indianapolis 500 have undoubtedly made F1’s successful entrance into the huge US market more challenging than in other nations. But with the Miami GP now confirmed to join the Austin race in the calendar, it looks like F1 is once again on the up and up in the land of stars and stripes.

Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas seen from the main boulevard

Image: Wesley Tingey / Unsplash

Weather

Texas is known for its humid climate, and Austin is no exception. Weather in October averages in the mid to high 20s (Centigrade), with lows in the mid teens.

2021’s race weekend is looking to be a scorcher though, with the mercury soaring to temperatures of 31°C (87°F) and even hotter every day across the whole weekend—pack your sunscreen if you’re heading to the race!

A wooden rack full of traditional cowboy boots

Image: Megan Markham Bucknall / Unsplash

Spectator tips

The Austin Grand Prix is famous for its vibrant atmosphere, thanks in part to the circuit’s massive capacity, as well as Austin’s famous hospitality and unique vibe.

Spirits are especially high this year after the disruption of 2020, and the event is a sell out—with more than 360,000 people expected to descend on the circuit across the Grand Prix weekend.

Circuit of The Americas is well regarded as a track with great views from many of its grandstands, though perhaps the most coveted seats are those on the eastern side of the main grandstand, where spectators can enjoy good views of the first turn (a hot-spot for overtaking), and the start-finish line.

2021 will also be F1 legend Kimi Räikkönen’s last appearance at the USA Grand Prix, as the veteran Finnish driver calls time on an illustrious career spanning 20 years, 1 championship, 21 wins, and 103 podiums.

Kimi Raikonnen speeding down a straight in his Ferrari F1 car

Image: Tim Carey / Unsplash

USA Grand Prix hospitality

A brass star embedded in the sidewalk as a survey marker in Austin, Texas

Image: George Pagan / Unsplash

Love Formula 1 but can’t make it to Austin for the GP? Join us in Florida for the 2022 Miami Grand Prix to enjoy exceptional luxury hospitality at the hottest new race in the F1 calendar.

Watching along on race weekend? Stay updated with the latest news from the USA Grand Prix by following #USGP. Will it be Hamilton popping the champagne once again in Austin? Let us know by tagging us into the conversation on social media: @ultimatedrivingtours

Enquire today to reserve your place.


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