May 26, 2010
Formula 1 in Austin? Hell has just officially frozen over…
By Dr. Bud E. Bryan
Austin. Soze, I was sittin’ here, minding my own damn business for a change, when an announcement out of the blue jolted me right out of my chair: Formula 1 is coming to Austin, Texas. Now, I gotta admit, I’m nursing a hangover serious enough to keep even Keith Richards at bay for the afternoon – I’ll explain later, but then again maybe not – so I could have been mistaken, but no, there it was on the F1 website, plain as all get out, complete with official quotes from Bernie Ecclestone his own self.
“Formula One World Championship Limited and Formula One Administration Limited (together, the F1 Commercial Rights Holder) and Full Throttle Productions, LP, promoter of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™, announce that a historic agreement has been reached for Austin, Texas to serve as the host city of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ for years 2012 through 2021.”
Holy shit, Batman, I wasn’t dreamin’.
And it went on from there, with Bernie “I’ve-never-missed-out-on-making-a-buck-in-my-life” weighing-in with the following:
“For the first time in the history of Formula One in the United States, a world-class facility will be purpose-built to host the event. It was thirty years ago that the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ was last held on a purpose-built permanent road course circuit in Watkins Glen, NY (1961-1980), which enjoyed great success. Since then, Formula One has been hosted by Long Beach, Las Vegas, Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix all on temporary street circuits. Indianapolis joined the ranks of host cities in 2000 when they added a road course inside the famed oval. Lewis Hamilton won the last Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ in 2007, signaling the end to eight years at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. This however, will be the first time a facility is constructed from the ground up specifically for Formula One in the U.S.”
I’m damn near speechless, which admittedly doesn’t happen very often.
Forget about the fact that F1 has become a tedious, processional, technological demonstration – complete with ugly-ass, praying mantis-like cars and bore-you-to-frickin’-death races – that they’re committed to coming to this area for ten years is absolutely astounding.
And they’re going to race at a purpose-built track specifically constructed to F1 standards too. Now, I have to admit, that part of the announcement left me cringing, because if they construct one of those antiseptic, new-wave F1 tracks here I’m going to go berserk. They should go out into the hill country – where there is actual natural terrain that goes up and down hills – and build a kick-ass circuit that will be the envy of the world. Anything less and I will be massively disappointed.
But then again, if they get a decent track built I’m not going to complain all that much.
And here’s one more quote, this one from Tavo Hellmund, Managing Partner of Full Throttle Productions, LP:
“It has been a shared vision and monumental task to reach this agreement. We realize that over the last 30 years there have been one or two missing pieces from the previous editions of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™. We have a tremendous opportunity at hand to do it right - to feature Austin as the backdrop and produce the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix™ as one of the great sporting events in the world.”
I certainly hope so. There’s a vast distance between “entering into a contract with F1 and creating one of the great sporting events of the world,” but I’ll give these guys the benefit of the doubt until otherwise indicated. For now.
And I love some of the stuff they put up on the F1 website about Austin, like:
- State capital nicknamed ‘Silicon Hills’ for being one of the most important regions in the US for the Technology Industry.
Uh yeah, but that’s only one little part of the scene down here. There’s the music, the arts, the Longhorns, the watering holes. We don’t say Keep Austin Weird for nothin’ I’ll tell ya’.
And I really like this one:
- Desirable year-round climate, with an average annual temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit (20 Celsius).
That may be what the Chamber of Commerce likes to say, but if the U.S. Grand Prix takes place in August, or September, they’ll be lucky if it dips below 100 degrees on most days. I just thought I’d throw that out now in case anyone is surprised is all…
And then there’s this (with my comments):
Austin’s National Recognition -
- Known as “The Live Music Capital of the World” (This is absolutely true)
- Voted “Greenest City in America” (MSN) (You gotta be frickin’ kidding me)
- Voted “Least Stressful Large Metro” in the United States (Forbes) (Uh, not in my world it isn’t)
- Voted Top Two “Best Cities” in the United States (Money Magazine) (Agreed)
- Voted Top Three “Hippest Cities” in the United States (Forbes) (Yeah, but sometimes too hip for our own damn good)
- Voted Top Five “Safest Cities” in the United States (Forbes) (Define safe?)
- Voted Top Ten “Sports & Fitness Cities” in the USA (Sports Business Journal) (I guess, you certainly have to be on your damn toes around here what with all the runners, cyclists, and mindless walkers wandering out into the road without warning)
The net-net in all of this? I may not be a fan of what F1 has become, but maybe by 2012 they’ll be on the way to fixin’ it. At any rate, I’m thrilled the F1 circus is coming. I guar-an-damn-tee ya’ that the teams, the drivers, the owners and the fans will have a hell of a great time down here.
That all said, I have to apologize for not showing up on the website, even though I did say I wouldn’t be on here while I was finishing “the book.” Except that the problem is I haven’t finished it yet, and I’m falling behind, and I’m damn guilty about it too.
But you gotta understand, there’s just too much chaos going on down here for one man to take. Jolene is about to go off the reservation, permanently. Janey is lookin’ at her watch wondering how much more she can take. My young friend is raring to go, hell bent on getting her life jump-started again.
Well, when she’s the calming voice of reason in the center of the shit storm, you know I’m in deep, deep trouble.
Ah well, I’m hangin’ in, as Renzo would say, albeit nursing a headache from a hangover that just will not quit. It probably has something to do with the fact that I stumbled out of El Arroyo at closing time. Not unusual? I'll grant you that, except I got there at 5:30 the previous afternoon. Ouch, Baby.
All I remember is that I had coeds to the left of me, and coeds to the right, and the prettiest one of 'em all hangin' on my every word. It was a beautiful thing.
Not so much at the moment, however.
But I am determined to survive, one way or the other, with or without female accompaniment.
Although I gotta admit, life without that would barely be worth living, if you ask me…
(Even though any one of ‘em could do me in at any given moment, it’s still better than being holed-up in some dead-end job, in some dead-end hell hole, wonderin’ what was for dinner, while I was still having lunch).
Adios until the next time…whenever that may be.