Americans won't watch Formula One. Why the hell are you having a race in Texas? Who would schedule an F1 race opposite football? Who would schedule an F1 race on the same weekend as the big NASCAR race? There are no Americans. Texans have no one to root for. Who would possibly show up?
Well, 117,429 people showed up to the race according to figured provided by the Circuit of the Americas press office, with 265,499 for the entire three-day period. Compare that to barely 50,000 for Abu Dhabi and 114,900 for race day in Australia and Austin is far from the least attended race. Many of those on hand had hometown boy in Sergio Perez, who comes from a place closer to Austin than most of the U.S.
And what an exciting race it was. As I was walking through the paddock I chanced upon former world champion Niki Lauda, who also thought it was a great race.
Would NIki Lauda lie to Jalopnik? Did I pay for any food at the circuit this weekend?
Inside the COTA confines it seems like a success, although we'll have to wait to see if anyone watched it on television (it was scheduled against a dramatic Houton Texans game).
More wrap up later, but hard to see any major issues besides some minor catering snafus. Track owner Bobby Epstein seems overjoyed as he walked around outside the media room, charitably describing the food there as the best at the track (it wasn't). They say success makes everything taste better, so I'll give him a pass.
One thing I must mention is a moment I had with another COTA official about the lack of nasty visible surprises (I'm certain it wasn't as easy as it seemed). She was understandably delighted and the whole conversation would be unremarkable if it didn't end with a sprinkler cover just then falling out of the ceiling onto the ground next to us, perhaps collapsing under the weight of expectations.
She just laughed it off.
If nothing went wrong, what would they have to improve next time?