The Eyes of World Upon Austin

Redbull driver Mark Webber (Photo Courtesy Patrick Breen/Flickr)
Redbull driver Mark Webber (Photo Courtesy Patrick Breen/Flickr)

This weekend in mid-November may the biggest sporting weekend in Austin’s history.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys come in to town to face the Longhorns in a pivotal conference matchup for both teams.

But, while Daje Johnson and Marcus Johnson are streaking along the sidelines, there will be another group a gentlemen going a bit faster across town—to the tune of 200 mph.

Formula One, the pinnacle of motorsports racing around the world, will make its second stop to the Circuit of the Americas this weekend.  Teams like, Red Bull, Ferrari, and Lotus will compete to get their cars (more like rocket ships) in peak condition so their drivers can give them a shot at a podium finish.

The international racing league travels across 5 continents and draws television audiences in the hundreds of millions. Over 117,000 people attended last year’s race, the inaugural F1 race at the Circuit of the Americas. Only England’s famous Silverstone Circuit drew a bigger crowd for a F1 race last season.

Last year was the grid’s first taste of the Austin track and currently the only stop in the United States. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton took first place after out dueling Red Bull phenom Sebastian Vettel.

Vettel and Red Bull come into the race having mathematically secured the driver’s and constructor’s championships. Vettel, a native of Germany, has now won four consecutive world championships and on his way to being one of, if not the best drivers ever.

You might be asking yourself: With the championship all sewed up there’s nothing to race for, right? Wrong.

With only Austin and Brazil left on the schedule until the season finishes, drivers and teams remain desperate for points and podium finishes. Which determine how much the team will get paid out at the end of the season, and how they rank in the constructor's championships. As if the World Championship were not enough, Vettel is still chasing history, looking for his 8th consecutive wins in a season. Currently he is even with countryman Michael Schumacher, an F1 legend, with 7.

So if you go downtown after the game on Saturday, walk up to a bar and are flabbergasted to hear the bouncer ask you $300 to get in, remember F1 brings in some of the wealthiest fan bases in the world.

Parties scattered around downtown will range from the extravagantly posh:

To a bit lower key:

You may not find the Red Bull secret exclusive after party or go the race, but be sure to check out the Austin Fan Fest to get a taste of the fastest (at least for this weekend) sport in town.