Formula 1

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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Texas
8:21 am
Tue November 6, 2012

The Lead: Election Day 2012 Edition

Good Morning, Austin. The National Weather Service says this Election Day should be a beautiful one with highs in the upper 70s and lows in the 50s tonight.

KUT will continue extended Election Day coverage today and tomorrow but, don't worry, John Aielli and Jay Trachtenberg will be back on the air as usual starting Thursday.

Here are some of the stories KUT News has been working on:

Election officials recommend that you vote early today. Get it done before you head into work if you can. If you can’t make it before getting to work; you can still go. By law, you’re entitled to paid time off for voting on Election Day, unless you’re off work for two consecutive hours during the times the polls are open. And remember you don’t have to drive all the way back home to vote in your local precinct this year.

Texans vote today on state representatives, some state senators, and Board of Education members. But do elected officials have the most power in Texas politics? Not always. Jennifer Stayton talks with Dave Mann of The Texas Observer about the seven biggest donors in Texas politics and what they’re getting for their money.

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Austin
5:10 pm
Mon November 5, 2012

Traffic Woes Mar Fun Run Around Austin's F1 Track

Along with the new Formula One racetrack, participants in Saturday’s Formula Run race also saw bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Circuit of the Americas

The first lap around the Formula One racetrack was done on foot: over 5,000 people participated in Saturday’s Formula Run, a 3.4-mile race coordinated by the Circuit of the Americas and RunTex. Austinite Wes Johnson was the first to cross the finish line.

The race was also the first chance for the public to view the newly minted, $400 million track.

But last minute registrars and a dense fog that morning, coupled with traffic jams at the intersection of SH 130 and FM 812, forced organizers to push back the start time of the race by forty minutes. Organizers said that Saturday’s event was not an indicator of the type of traffic congestion that will occur during the weekend of the race.

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The Lead
8:48 am
Mon November 5, 2012

The Lead: Election Day’s Almost Here (And Formula 1’s Up Next)

Good morning. This weekend’s week cold front will lead to highs in the lower 80s, along with a chance for some isolated thunderstorms in the region, according to the National Weather Service. Here’s a look at some stories KUT News has been working on.

"Now let’s get into the big change for this presidential election. You probably know that during early voting you can stop anywhere with a 'Vote Here' sign – usually at a grocery store or other high-traffic public location.

Travis County has decided to adopt that strategy on Election Day. 'You can vote at any one of the polling places that are designated' within Travis County, said County Clerk Dana Debeauvoir."

Voters should also know the state’s contested Photo ID requirement is not in effect this election –  a voter registration card, copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, or other government document showing your name and address are all acceptable forms of ID.

"If Prop 4, the 8-2-1 plan, were to pass, the City Council would presumably be drawing Austin’s new districts. But Prop 3, the 10-1 plan, provides for a redistricting commission. The commission would have 14 members; three auditors would randomly select eight people from a pool of candidates, and those eight would then pick the remaining six, ensuring that they are diverse in race, ethnicity, geography and gender.

Some redistricting commissions in the country have been accused of drawing maps for political gain or with cronyism in mind. Others, like those in San Diego and Minneapolis, have been commended for keeping politics away from the process."

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Formula 1
6:20 am
Mon November 5, 2012

Here's All the Permits Vendors and Promoters Need for F1 Weekend - Deadline Today!

Brandon Mulder for KUT News

Update (Nov. 5, 6:20 a.m): If you are planning to sell t-shirts, handmade necklaces or anything else around town during Formula 1, you need to have a permit. And, as a friendly reminder, the deadline to apply for one is today.

Original Story (Oct. 17)As Austin’s inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix rounds the corner, city officials are reminding business owners and entrepreneurs that permit applications are fast approaching.

At a press event today, city officials emphasized public safety as their main goal, saying F1 will be an event unlike any the region has ever experienced. With that in mind, they spoke to the importance of permitting, running though several upcoming deadlines. Here’s what they had to say:

  • Temporary Use Permit [PDF]: If you want to sell merchandise over events like downtown’s Fan Fest, vendors will need a Temporary Use permit. This allows sales in private commercial zones; selling within public right of ways, like sidewalks, is not allowed. The application deadline is Nov. 5.
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Austin
9:07 am
Thu November 1, 2012

The Lead: Texas Women's Health, Transpo Brawl in Travis Co. Dist. 3, More Cities Prep for F1

RIP, Mark Murray.
Credit KVUE

Good morning and welcome to the month of November! Here's hoping you don’t look scarier this morning that you did last night. It’s going to be another warm day with temperatures in the mid-80s. 

Here’s some stories KUT has been working on:

Texas Women's Health Program Won't Launch As Planned

Despite comments Wednesday morning from Texas Health and Human Services Commission executive director Kyle Janek indicating the program would be ready to start on Nov. 1, an agency spokeswoman confirmed that the state-led program would not begin until ongoing court controversy over the issue is clarified.

Candidates Battle Over Transportation

The results of the Nov. 6 elections will determine the priorities for Austin and Travis County. One of the top concerns in the area is transportation infrastructure. The Texas Department of Transportation has no money to build new roads. It spends what it gets from tax money just doing repairs and maintenance. Different ideas on how to do just that are colliding in the race for Travis County Commissioner.

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