Todayâ€™s news that Formula 1 will return to the United States in 2012 is both stunning and a bit shocking. Itâ€™s stunning because, well, who would have thought it would actually happen. (Not to say something couldnâ€™t trash it still). And itâ€™s shocking because all the recent talk regarding F1 and the U.S. focused on New York and New Jersey.
But Austin, Texas is a great city to be host to the return of F1 to the States. Hereâ€™s a five reasons why.
5. Location. I suppose you could be a â€œglass half emptyâ€ type and say that Austin isnâ€™t really convenient for anyone. But it is in the middle of the country and it isnâ€™t that far south. A grand prix in New York or Long Beach would be far more out of the way for far more people.
4. Experience. It looks like the company thatâ€™s been awarded the grand prix, Full Throttle Productions, has experience putting on motorsport events. But thatâ€™s not really my point. My point is that Austin has experience being host to big events. For one thing, thereâ€™s any and every Texas Longhornâ€™s home football game in a stadium that holds just over 100,000 people. But more to the point is the annual South by Southwest music festival. Ten or so days long, it draws in the neighborhood of 150,000 people. If Austin can handle that many hipsters, it can manage some F1 fans.
3. Cool stuff to do. Austin is a great city. I know a lot of people hear â€œTexasâ€ and think cowboys and longhorns and George Bush, but Austin is really unlike the rest of Texas. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that the main campus of the University of Texas is there. It surely doesnâ€™t have anything to do with the fact that the state government is there. But as Iâ€™m sure youâ€™ll read in the run-up to the event, Austin has tons of nightlife, a long-standing music scene and the hill country really is beautiful. Also, thereâ€™s this. Iâ€™ve also had great barbecue (let the argument start) and Mexican food there. The Mexican food, especially, was fantastic.
2. If Texas ever secedes from the United States, which is an option the state reserved when it joined the union, it would mean we could be in line for a third grand prix here in North America: The Canadian GP, the U.S. GP and the Texas GP.
1. Texans must be among the people who wonâ€™t take Bernieâ€™s crap. Seriously. Can you imagine a Texan, even the enlightened kind that traditionally end up in Austin, putting up with Bernieâ€™s bull? Theyâ€™d drop kick him right through the uprights at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium and not give it another thought.