Formula 1 returned to America this weekend with the United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas at the Circuit of The Americas track. We left the comfort of our American football and ventured into the madness that is open-wheel racing.
Beyond just the race, which Sebastian Vettel won, there was much to take in.
There were numerous other races and activities. There were the dynamics of a 3.4-mile race track that seats 120,000 people seemingly in the middle of nowhere. And of course there were the fans.
On the next few pages we’ll take you on a tour of what it is like to experience a Formula 1 race in the United States.
Traffic was the first experience for many as the track is out in the middle of nowhere and is only accessible by a 2-lane road for more than 100,000 fans.
On Friday there was a heavy fog that delayed the start of the practice sessions and made it difficult to even see the track's landmark observation tower..
The main grandstand was directly across from the more exclusive Paddock Club which is situated above the garages and pit lane.
This is where the media watched the events with an entire wall of displays featuring video, statistics, and conditions.
On Saturday, during qualifying, it was clear in the race track lounge that we were still in football country.
The United States Grand Prix was not the only race of the weekend, as there was also this very cool race featuring classic F1 cars.
In between practice, qualifying, and racing, the drivers also appeared at autograph sessions and learned how to rope cattle.
Fans showed their allegiance to their favourite drivers either through a country flag or through the logo of the team's major sponsor.
Many of the first-timers were shocked at how loud F1 cars can be and noise reducers were a common sight.
These American fans embraced the Mexican flavour of the festivities. With two Mexican drivers in the race, many fans drove up from south of the border.
Teams have a limited number of tires that can be used over the course of a weekend, including practice and qualifying. That means tires must be cleaned and maintained before being re-used.
This occurs in the paddock area between the garages on pit row and the team trailers. Fans sitting in the exclusive Paddock Club area can watch the entire scene.
Fans waited to get a glimpse of their favourite driver walking from their trailer to their garage, such as former champion Fernando Alonso.
The track is so big that there are two bridges that allow fans to cross the track even during the race.
Merchandising was a huge aspect of the event with each team having their own stands to sell items to fans.
This seemed like a strange event for a dueling piano show, and this was typical of the crowd size the few times we walked by.
There were also plenty of race-related activities for fans such as taking their own turn in an F1 car.
There was also a Fan Fest area in downtown Austin which included this gigantic truck that turned into a DJ booth.
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