Formula 1

Formula 1
2:55 pm
Sun November 18, 2012

F1 Traffic and Safety Survey (Update)

A line of shuttles waits to transport fans to the Circuit of the Americas track.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Update: The Grand Prix has just finished at the Circuit of the Americas track. Regional officials share the following regarding traffic conditions leaving the track: 

Today marks the inaugural United States Grand Prix for Austin and through mid-day no major incidents have occurred this race day, according to City of Austin and Travis County officials. ... 

When departing the race, officials recommend State Highway 21 as an alternate route to State Highway 130 or  IH 35, if southbound;  or Texas 71, if eastbound.

After the race all lanes will be westbound on Pearce Lane.  On  FM 812, three lanes will be westbound and one eastbound.

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formula 1
11:27 am
Sun November 18, 2012

Formula 1 in Austin: Sunday

Circuit of the Americas

It's the last day of Formula 1 racing action. After two days of practice runs and qualifying races, the first U.S. Grand Prix since 2007 gets underway at 1 p.m. today.

KUT News is compiling the best tweets, pics and more about the race, expected to draw some 120,000 people to the Circuit of the Americas.

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formula 1
3:45 pm
Sat November 17, 2012

Austin Race Thrills, But Traffic, Economic Impact of F1 Questioned

The line to board buses at 15th and Trinity Streets moved quickly late Saturday morning.
Nathan Bernier, KUT News

Almost 83,000 people traveled to the Circuit of the Americas track in southeastern Travis County today to watch German driver Sebastian Vettel seize the pole position for Sunday’s Grand Prix. And while the track has received positive reviews, transportation to and from it was not without a few bumps in the road.

“The track is fantastic. The transportation leaves something to be desired,” said Hal Merchant, who travelled from the Reno, Nevada area with his girlfriend Judy Ashton. “The bus ride’s 30 minutes, but you spend an hour standing in line.”

Merchant said he wished he could have parked out at the track, and drove half the way there before being turned back. He said he lacked clear information about where to find a parking garage. Circuit of the America’s website lists shuttle pick-up points, but doesn’t offer details on where to park your car.

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formula 1
12:58 pm
Sat November 17, 2012

Formula 1 in Austin: Saturday

racing photos Charles Coates, via flickr.com/caterhamf1/; ticket photo by Mark dewey for KUT News

After a day of practice yesterday, it's qualifying races at the Circuit of the Americas today. That mean more Formula 1 crowds, as folks on Twitter are attesting. One issue at the COTA track is the lack of credit card acceptance. (If you're going, bring cash.) But it also means mounting excitement, both at the track, at the Austin Fan Fest downtown, and elsewhere.

KUT News is compiling a Storify timeline of news, photos and reactions this Saturday. Keep refreshing this page for updates.

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formula 1
12:02 pm
Sat November 17, 2012

Photos: Austin Fan Fest

An artist works on a F1-emblazoned kiosk at Austin Fan Fest.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

The Formula 1 Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas isn't the only big event this weekend: event organizers have also launched the Austin Fan Fest this race weekend. Located in the Warehouse District downtown, the festival features music, food and drink, and lots of displays and promotions for Formula 1 gearheads.

Photographer Filipa Rodrigues took in the scene Friday evening for KUT News. Take a look at her photos, posted to KUT's Flickr page.

Formula 1
12:50 pm
Fri November 16, 2012

Timeline: F1 Takes Off in Austin

How is Austin reacting to Formula 1? Our F1 timeline may help answer that question.
Ticket photo by Mark Dewey for KUT News; all other photos by Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

It's finally here: Austin's Formula 1 Grand Prix marks the sport's first stateside race in several years. Austinites and F1 fans alike have taken to social media to log their reactions. And KUT News is compiling Twitter users' pictures, rants, raves and traffic updates via Storify.

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Formula 1
11:59 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Austin's Formula 1 Survival Guide: Here's What You Need to Know

An F1 racer parked in downtown Austin.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Just two years after the idea was first floated, Formula 1 is a go in Austin.

The U.S. Grand Prix at Elroy, Texas’ Circuit of the Americas track is this Sunday, Nov. 16.  But a full weekend of practice sessions, qualifying races and more will entertain an estimated 300,000 attendees over the entire weekend.

Meanwhile, local officials and regular citizens alike are prepping for visitors. City management has activated its emergency area command to monitor traffic and public safety in conjunction with additional state and federal authorities. Regular Austinites are facing a choice: batten down the hatches and avoid the madness, or embrace it. Even without F1 tickets, the latter should be easy with events like Austin Fan Fest closing downtown streets and offering free entertainment.

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Formula 1
8:24 am
Fri November 16, 2012

Map: F1-Related Street Closures (Update)


View Formula 1 Closures for Nov. 15 in a larger map

Update: The city has partnered with the University of Texas to allow Centennial Park to be a shuttle pick-up and drop off location. As a result, UT says there may be heavy traffic in the area bound by the perimeter of Trinity Street, MLK Boulevard, I-35 and East 15th Street.

"R" Permit holders for the Trinity Garage will need to relocate for the weekend. "F" and "S" permit holders are not required to relocate, but the University has suggested it. "F" and "S" permit holders may park free of charge at any of university garage, with the exception of the Conference Center Garage (CCG) and Manor Garage (MAG). For more information, check out UT's Formula One parking guide.

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Formula 1
4:15 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Photos: Austin-Bergstrom Busy, But Not Overwhelmed, by F1

Car service drivers await their arrivals at ABIA as F1 roars into town.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Austin’s airport certainly looks a lot different from a normal day. There’s additional security, several car service drivers, and a bunch of people in yellow shirts speaking a bunch of different languages.

But it’s not the insane crush many expected for Formula 1.

Despite the anticipated arrival of 18,000 visitors today, “things seem to be running fairly smoothly,” says Jim Halbrook with Austin Bergstrom International Airport (ABIA). “We’ve got customer service representatives throughout the terminal helping people find their way, helping people find their ground transportation." 

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Formula 1
2:58 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Video: What Does Austin Really Think of F1?

While the Formula 1 Grand Prix’s Austin debut has inspired excitement among racing fans, many Austinites are wary. Since the announcement, questions over public investment in the race and the Circuit of the Americas track have largely dominated the discussion over F1.

Promoters initially asked the city to pay millions into a trust fund to cover fees associated with the event, before private investors offered up the cash themselves. Brinksmanship between local promoters and F1 bosses nearly derailed the project as well.

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Formula 1
9:45 am
Thu November 15, 2012

$10K Tables and Gold Champagne: How Rich F1 Fans Party in Austin

Formula One parties are often held on yachts in Monaco, which has hosted F1 races since 1955. Here's a Monaco Grand Prix party in 2006.
Mark Hintsa

Some of the 100,000 people expected for Austin’s first Formula 1 race have already started streaming into town. The international sporting event has a reputation of attracting the super rich, and already, the rumors are flying.

One tale making the rounds is that a wealthy F1 fan, upon learning the Driskill Hotel was booked up this weekend, offered to buy the entire hotel. (Reached for comment, the Driskill had a good laugh upon hearing the story.)

But truth can be stranger (or richer) than fiction.

“We’re flying in our own celebrity DJ,” says Nicholas Frankl, an event promoter who with his sister runs My Yacht Group. They’re in town for F1 this week. “We have Lamborghini sponsoring the event. We have the most expensive Champagne available in America today, called Comte de Mazeray. It’s 24-karat gold-infused Champagne.”

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The Lead
9:04 am
Thu November 15, 2012

The Lead: F1 Rounds the Corner

Good Thursday morning to all. We’ve got a beautiful day ahead of us as we rev up for the festivities Formula 1 is bringing our way. There will be partly sunny skies, with a high near 65. As for tonight, the skies will be cloudy, with low near 50.

Here are some stories KUT News and our partners have been working on this week:

Some of the 100,000 people expected for Austin’s first Formula One race have already started streaming into town. The international sporting event has a reputation of attracting the super rich, and there may be some truth to that. “We’re flying in our own celebrity DJ,” said Nicholas Frankl, an event promoter who with his sister runs My Yacht Group. “We have Lamborghini sponsoring the event. We have the most expensive Champagne available in America today, called Comte de Mazeray. It’s 24-karat gold-infused Champagne.”

DNA testing that death row inmate Hank Skinner sought for more than a decade further implicates him in the New Year’s Eve 1993 triple murder for which he was sentenced to die, according to an advisory that the Texas Attorney General’s Office filed Wednesday in Gray County state district court. But a lawyer for Skinner, who was convicted in 1995 of the murders of his live-in girlfriend, Twila Busby, and her two adult sons in Pampa, said the DNA testing is incomplete and indicates that another person may have been at the scene of the crimes.

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Formula 1
2:42 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

What Austin Needs to Know About the Actual F1 Race This Weekend

An F1 racer parked in downtown Austin promotes the race.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Ready or not, Formula 1 has arrived.

As Austin readies for an onslaught of some 100,000 visitors, we’ve heard lots about traffic planshelicopter permits, and even counter-terrorism measures.  But what about the actual race: the cars, the drivers and the sport itself? Confused? KUT News has assembled a primer on this weekend’s Formula 1 race.

  • What Sort of Cars Are These?

The FIA Formula One World Championship is the highest class of single-seater auto racing that is authorized by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile.

The "formula" in Formula 1 refers to a set of guidelines that each racing car must adhere to. The results are state-of-the-art.

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Formula 1
2:15 pm
Wed November 14, 2012

Can You Break a Euro? Group Urges Local Businesses to Accept Foreign Currency During F1

The Better Business Bureau notes foreign tourists may not have converted their currency to greenbacks.
Flickr user Images of Money, bit.ly/LeSsiT

Tens of thousands of Formula 1 fans are making their way to Austin for this weekend’s Grand Prix. Many are from foreign countries.

The Austin Better Business Bureau says business owners should be prepared to accept foreign currency or else they may lose out on some customers.

The BBB says business owners should be aware of ever-changing exchange rates and should talk to their banks about whether they’ll charge extra for depositing foreign currency.

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Formula 1
4:48 pm
Tue November 13, 2012

EPA Plane Surveying Downtown and F1 Track, On the Lookout for 'Dirty Bombs' and More

An aerial view of the Circuit of the Americas racetrack. The EPA is testing air samples from the track and downtown.
twitter.com/Austin_Police

An airplane will be taking a low-altitude flight over downtown Austin and the Circuit of the Americas Formula 1 track tomorrow. But it’s doing more than sightseeing: the plane is monitoring for chemical and radiological levels to ensure safety over F1 weekend.

A plane from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will monitor chemical and radiation levels tomorrow. The idea is collect a baseline for when the EPA flies over those sites again during F1 activities. By comparing the levels, the EPA will have an idea whether air quality is acceptable – and whether radioactive material, like the kind found in a dirty bomb, is present anywhere.

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The Lead
8:33 am
Tue November 13, 2012

The Lead: 2013 Lege Gearing Up, Statesman Names New Publisher

Good morning. The National Weather Service says to expect highs in the 60s and gusty winds today. Here’s a look at stories KUT News has been working on:

"The Texas House has formed a committee to look into how the state would handle “sequestration.” That’s the package of automatic federal spending cuts and tax increases that take effect at the end of the year — the so-called 'fiscal cliff.' That includes about $109 billion in cuts.

The committee was put together by House Speaker Joe Straus, who said in a news release that he hoped Congress would be able to find a way to reduce the deficit without increasing taxes or cutting jobs."

"Today is the first day Texas lawmakers can file bills ahead of the 2013 legislative session. The 200 or so early bills are usually a hodgepodge of political statements, second attempts and high priority legislation. …

Several first-day bills filed by Republicans in 2010 focused on illegal immigration, and efforts to curb it in Texas. Maybe because of Mitt Romney's poor performance among Hispanics (or maybe not), there were no immigration bills filed by mid-afternoon today."

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Formula 1
4:21 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

There’s Still (Some) Room to Park Your Jet at the Airport for F1

Private plane parking is filling up at area airports in advance of F1 race weekend.
flickr.com/terryblanchard

Private jet parking at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is starting to fill up.

Airport spokesman Jim Halbrook says more than 150 private planes, ranging from corporate jets to small, propeller-driven Cessnas, have booked parking places for Formula 1 race weekend. There are still a few spots left. 

Other area airports expect to be busy, including Pflugerville's Austin Executive Airport, and airfields in Georgetown, San Marcos, and Horseshoe Bay.

For those flying commercially, Halbrook says there will be a warm Austin welcome at the baggage claim area. More than 70 volunteer hosts will be on hand to help guide visitors – many of whom will be visiting Austin for the first time – to their ground transportation and destination choices.

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The Lead
8:52 am
Fri November 9, 2012

The Lead: Helicopters OK'd for F1 (But Cap Metro Could Strike); SXSW Music and More

Good Friday morning to you. Austin’s in for a warm and breezy weekend until a cold front blows in Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service. Here’s some stories KUT News has been working on.

“Though it’s only November, the springtime music conference that takes over Austin each year, South by Southwest, is already beginning to take shape.  Thursday, organizers released the initial lineup.”

“Austin-based singer-songwriter Darden Smith is working to do something about the thousands of service members affected by PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). …

Smith is the founder of a new program to help promote soldiers’ healing through music. Texas Music Matters’ David Brown reports from a camp outside Fort Hood, site of a recent Songwriting with Soldiers retreat.”

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Austin City Council
9:52 am
Thu November 8, 2012

City Council Preview: F1 Coming In for a Landing

Back at it: City Council shakes off its election hangover today.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Thanks to this week’s election fever, you’d be forgiven for forgetting there’s an Austin City Council meeting this week. But there is (albeit mercifully, the 98-item agenda isn’t a terribly contentious affair). Here’s a few agenda highlights:

Raising Hel(icopters): A pair of items related to helicopter permits hover onto the dais this week. The impending Formula 1 race (eight days away and counting) means charter helicopter companies are looking to ferry high-rolling race attendees to and from the track via chopper.

Council members Laura Morrison and Kathie Tovo have sponsored two resolutions (Items 51 and 52) relating to both temporary and permanent “helistops.” The former would limit temporary stops to a cumulative total of 18 trips, far fewer than the dozens anticipated. The Austin Chronicle says that “judging from Tuesday's work session, it won't be an easy sell, at least not quickly – other members were skeptical that they knew enough yet to regulate the process and, even should such an ordinance pass, it could not take effect in time for this month's race.”

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formula 1
7:29 pm
Wed November 7, 2012

Safety First: City Unveils Public Safety Plans for F1 Weekend

Police Chief Art Acevedo and City Manager Marc Ott talk about the increased public safety measure taken for F1 weekend
Tyler Pratt for KUT News

The City of Austin says it’s prepared to handle any and all public safety issues that may arise during the upcoming F1 weekend 10 days from now.

“I’m smiling because I’m ready,” said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. “We’ll absolutely have a tremendously positive impact in terms of public safety and in terms of the enjoyment of our residents and our visitors.”

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