4 Helpful Hints For the Upcoming F1 Race
Whether you're a resident or an out-of-towner, attending the race or not, here are some tips to remember during next month's Formula 1 race.
Source: Flickr Creative Commons
Formula 1 racing is a worldwide draw and, next to soccer, is probably the most popular sporting event internationally. In 2010, Formula 1 racing drew an impressive 527 million viewers around the world. Now, that attention will fall upon Austin as it hosts the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix November 15th through the 17th.
As with South By Southwest and other major events held in Austin, it's important to remember a few things that will help you get through these three days, whether you're attending the race or not.
Source: Flickr Creative Commons
Be Smart About Parking
Those of you who either live here or have visited in the past know that the highway traffic in and out of downtown is an absolute nightmare. Amplify that with the number of visitors during the race and it's gone from nightmare to an absolute horror. So, if you're attending the race, the Austin-American Statesman has a few tips to help you help the city with its congestion problem.
- Already staying downtown? Leave your car there and head to the Convention Center (more specifically the corner of Fourth and Trinity). For $5 per person, you can get a round trip pass from there to the track and back (between 7 am and 7:30 pm).
- If you need to drive, you can park off-site at either the lot on FM 973 near Burleson or FM 812 near Hwy 183 for a price of $10 per day or $20 for the weekend. There's another lot near the Bastrop County line, but it's done sold out. Shuttles will be provided to and from the track from these locations free of charge.
- Parking near the track can run you anywhere from $50 to $100.
Know What You Can & Can't Bring With You
Like any other major sporting event, the venue, in this case the Circuit of the Americas, had guidelines regarding what they will and won't allow you to bring with you beyond the entry gate. Among the items you can't bring are...
- Alcoholic beverages. In fact, no outside food or drink whatsoever is permitted (save for sealed, unopened bottles of water. You can bring those.)
- Animals (save for service animals, of course).
- Bicycles, skateboards, skates and other unauthorized forms of transportation.
- Coolers, thermoses or ice chests.
- No fireworks or other explosive devices (you need to remind people of this, someimes).
- Large, golf-type umbrellas (seriously).
For a full list, check out the FAQ page here.
Creative: Flickr Creative Commons
Downtown is Going To Be Ridiculous
If you thought the craziness was going to be limited to just the racetrack, well, you clearly don't know Austin. From the 14th to the 17th, is the free-to-the-public Austin Fan Fest. If you've been downtown for SXSW or the Pecan Street Festival, you know how busy and crowded it can be. Roads will be blocked off, traffic will be a mess and bars will hike up their drink prices.
We don't mean to sound cynical, as we're big fans of downtown festivals. Especially when this festival includes free live music from such acts as Los Lobos, Everclear, Los Lonely Boys, Berlin and Lou Gramm from Foreigner, as well a really expensive show from Sting at ACL Live. On top of that, there will be plenty of family friendly events and other fun activities.
I guess what we're saying is, downtown is going to be crowded. Avoid it if you hate crowds and come on down if you love festivals. The festival will take up 12 blocks - between San Antonio St. and Congress as well as 2nd and 5th Street. You can find more details here.
Source: Capital Metro Pintrest
Take the Train
If the F1 race and its corresponding aforementioned festival weren't going to congest things that weekend, there's also the University of Texas/Oklahoma State football game that same Saturday, Needless to say, traffic is going to be a nightmare. So, why drive. All weekend, Capital Metro's MetroRail service will be running extended hours back and forth between Downtown Austin to Lakeline (with evening service all the way to Leander). Trains leave from downtown as late at 12:30 am on Friday, Midnight on Saturday and up to 6 pm on Sunday.
Train fares vary depending on how far down the line you need to go, but we suggest just picking up a MetroExpress day pass for $5.75. It will allow you to ride both the train as well as the bus system all day for 24 hours, making getting all around the city extra convenient.