A is for AUSTIN is AMAZING - A recap of my experience at the US Grand Prix in Austin and Circuit of the Americas

A is for AUSTIN is AMAZING - A recap of my experience at the US Grand Prix in Austin and Circuit of the Americas

The 2022 US Grand Prix in Austin was so special. I returned to the track that inspired my Red Racer Books journey and this year I got to experience so many milestones that I just had to share!

What’s amazing is that when I visited Austin to attend my first Grand Prix last year in 2021, I only had a seed of an idea for a single book.  But after attending the race at Circuit of the Americas (aka COTA) and seeing Formula 1 Racing up close and personal, not to mention the energy and size of the crowds, all the support racing series such as  the W-series, which is the women’s racing, and so much more, I got really inspired.  In fact I already started formulating my plan for a whole series of books on the flight home to Miami! 

That's why it was so special to return to the US Grand Prix, having published three kids books about Formula 1 Racing, all meant to be guides for future lifetime fans and families.

MANY MILESTONES ON MY F1 JOURNEY WHILE IN AUSTIN 

Here are just some of the amazing firsts that I was lucky enough to experience:

✓ I got to walk on the track, more specifically the grid! Above is a photo of my book on P1.  While on the grid walk I got to meet the one and only Ferrari Pope and some adorable dogs dressed up in F1 team outfits and with cute names like Max Furstappen, George Russel Terrier and Charles LeCanine. 

The Ferrari Pope Forza Tifosi

✓ First time on TV- twice! Thanks to Good Day Austinand also NBC's Studio 512

Formula 1 racing books for kids from Red Racer Books Founder and creator Andy Amendola talks about his book series that gets both young and old up to speed on everything F1.

This was really cool experience for me as I had never been on TV before, let alone live! It was great to be able to share my love of F1 racing and Austin, talk about my experience at the US Grand Prix and promote my books on air.  For those of you familiar with my ABCs of Racing book, I feature the observation tower in one of the illustrations - W is for Wings! 

Jost Capito F1 Team Principal for Williams Formula 1

✓ First time meeting an F1 personality - Jost Capito at the Williams pop up. On thursday before the race weekend started, the Williams Racing F1 team had a very cool pop up experience in downtown Austin. It was free and open to the public and it was full of cool activations, show cars and many of the team members spoke including Alex Albon and Nicholas Latifi, Logan Sargeant and even F1 World Champion, Jenson Button.  I was there when Jost Capito, the Williams Team principal spoke and I got to meet him afterwards. He is a great guy and signed one of my books! 

✓ First Track Invasion - So after most F1 Races, fans are typically allowed access to parts of the track to get closer to the podium and take part in the celebrations! It was amazing to see and be part of that! So many people flooded the track and headed straight to the podium. Me and my friend went straight towards the famous turn 1 at Cota (nicknamed Big Red) and walked up the 133 feet to check out the view from that epic corner. 

✓ First time on the BBC! Introduced by Rosanna Tennant - one of my fave F1 journalists and presenters!  This was a huge milestone for me as I've been listening to the BBC alot because they the best resource for official F1 racing news and journalism.  And Rosanna has been such a fixture in our F1 journey because we would always see and listen to her race coverage and is one of my fave presenters on F1TV.  I had a great chat with Rob Butler who is the producer of her podcast called Racing Torque which airs on BBC Norfolk. He's a great guy and we had the best chat about our love of F1 racing, my background and children's book journey and how my whole family helped make it happen. After all my first book was dedicated to my own kids, Blanca and Joaquin. 

 

MAKING NEW FRIENDS AND CONNECTIONS 

What made this Grand Prix trip even better was getting to meet so many other wonderful F1 fans and content creators in Austin. And everyone around town was talking about the race, the whole city was buzzing.  I even got to meet some of my own customers and I'm humbled by their support and kind words.  Here's a picture on me with Marcos and his mom.  They had traveled to Austin for the race and recognized me at the Williams event and it was so nice meeting them I had to grab a picture. 

One of my favorite events that week was attending the Grid Clique Race Week Kickoff Party and Meetup.  If you haven't heard of Grid Clique, it's a group of amazing women passionate about motorsports and their mission is to provide a safe space for everyone in motorsport and are doing so by welcoming all types of fans and giving a voice to those who may not be as represented within the business of racing. 

Enter, Grid Clique. We aim to provide a safe space for everyone in motorsport: the women who are afraid of being judged, the new fans who are trying to avoid gatekeepers, the decades-old supporters - to learn from the individuals pounding the paddock pavement every day. 

The event did not disappoint and I got to meet so many amazing women in motorsport. Content creators, journalists, authors and more, women that I have become familiar within the F1 and motorsports community, who are doing amazing things and are incredibly smart and passionate. So getting to meet and connect with them in person was really amazing!  Diversity and Inclusion is so important to my book series - I have both a son and a daughter - and after this event I'm certain that the future of racing will be more welcoming to both of them and other new fans.  Check out Grid Clique on Instagram

Here are some of the amazing people at this event - some of the raddest women in motorsports:

        • Sarah, Samanta and Melissa the fabulous women behind Grid Clique who organized this awesome event
        • Molly aka abunchofredf1ags - a very smart engineer who makes tik tok videos that help explain all the science and tech behind F1. She's also on the Tech Heads podcast with Bryson Sullivan
        • Toni Cowan Brown aka F1Toni on TikTok and Twitch, She is brilliant and her videos are always so informative - she is so knowledgeable on F1 it's impressive. 
        • Alanis King, automotive journalist and co-author of a new book about Rich Energy, written along with motorsports journalist Elizabeth Blackstock of Jalopnik - She is even funnier in person and I'm reading the book - it's really good. 
        • Bet, aka @StuntwithBet , a stunt driver extraordinaire and stick shift driving instructor and ambassador
        • Katie and Megan of Dirty Driving Pod, two awesome sisters that love talking all things F1. 
        • Ana Cordera a long time F1 fan and big Sebastian Vettel Stan from Mexico who covers racing en Espanol! 
        • Martha Taka of the Apex Takeover Podcast, done with Tonya H - big fans of these ladies who are big fans of F1!
        • Amazing F1 presenters Ariana Bravo and Lissie Mackintosh - can you say star power?!
        • Up and coming motorsports content creator Emma Elsbecker known as The Formula One Nation on TikTok - She's going places! 
        • And many other new friends I can't wait to see again at another racing event soon. 

 

WHAT ABOUT THE RACING!?

Lewis Hamilton and his 44 mercedes amg F1 car

(Image courtesy of friends Kate and Nicole of the amazing and hilarious F1 podcast Two Girls 1 Formula

What a race it was! Circuit of the Americas is always a great circuit for racing and this year's race did not disappoint.  Also it was amazing to see an exciting qualifying round with Ferrari's Carlos Sainz taking his 3rd Pole Position. Sadly his race was cut short due to a collision with George Russel on the famous turn 1.  That wasn't the only safety car this race as Fernando Alonso also made contact with Lance Stroll causing Alonso's car to get some air! Luckily no one was hurt. And with a surprisingly slow pit stop from Red Bull for Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes took the race lead only for Max to catch up at the end and take his 13th victory. All very exciting! 

 Turn 1 at Circuit of the Americas

But I won't go into more detail on the racing as there are many more outlets that will do a better job of covering it than me. 

I was sad to not get to see the W-Series racing in Austin as their season was unfortunately cut short. You can read more about that here from Hazel Southwell another amazing motorsports journalist.

However, it was very cool to witness some Historic F1 cars racing before the big race on Sunday. These cars were very loud as they all come from before the turbo-hybrid era of racing and you can see why some fans reminisce about the guttural sounds of vintage V10 engines. Check out my video of them here.

Credit: Images from F1 Twitter account linked here

And something really special that I was fortunate to witness firsthand was seeing Mario Andretti drive an F1 car. He is arguably the best American Race Car driver of all time and was last American to win a Formula 1 world championship in 1978. He is now 82! You read that right - he is 82 years old and thanks to Zak Brown of McLaren F1 was able to drive a modern day Formula 1 race car around COTA.  Talk about a love for racing that never ends - Mario is an incredible inspiration! 

 Did I mention that we also got to take in an amazing Green Day concert! Race Weekend in Austin at the Circuit of the Americas was an incredible experience and I highly recommend it to any racing enthusiast out there. 

 Check out our social channels to see more of the action from Austin and let me know if you have any questions or suggestions! 

Andy Amendola,

Founder and Creator of Red Racer Books.