Formula 1 is a motorsport that sends its teams on a whirlwind schedule that spans the world each and every season. From late March until the end of November 20-odd races will be held across the globe, from Bahrain, to Britain, Brazil, and beyond.
It should be of no surprise that my goal is to see as many of these races, in as many countries as possible. 2014 saw a spur of the moment trek to Montreal, my first-ever GP. October 2015 sent me to Austin, Texas.
Each race weekend, which runs Friday through Sunday, is comprised of practices, a qualifying, and the race itself, combined with undercard competitions in other motorsport classes. I wish I could say I was able to enjoy three solid days of racing and BBQ, but a combination of thoroughly unlucky weather fronts battered the area, which cancelled several sessions, delayed others, and left thousands of fans stalled with either mud-trapped cars or absurdly long waits for the shuttles back into town.
Thankfully the race day saw clearer skies, though a drier track didn’t serve the drivers too well. Over the course of 308.9km challenge only 12 of the 20 cars finished. Happily for the crowd, one of them was the Manor Marussia of Alexander Rossi, the only American driver in the race, and the first American to drive in a USGP held at the Circuit of the Americas.
The result of the race, with Lewis Hamilton capturing his 4th USGP win, gave that same Mercedes driver enough points to clinch his 3rd championship.
After three days of living in wet shoes on wet lawn chairs with a wet Williams baseball cap, I can’t say that the experience was perfect. Especially since Williams had a dreadful showing and retired both cars. The crowds, despite the rain, were intense, and the lack of transportation organization created restless fans. At one point in the shuttle line I was confident that a fist fight was going to break out between a middle aged Texan woman and an elderly Swedish man.
Perhaps things would have been more optimal in another year, with better weather and a less obvious result (Mercedes nearly swept this entire season). I’m glad I went though, I get to check off that box. And we did find some damned good BBQ. Two down, twenty-ish to go.