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“Great job with F1 race”

Circuit of The Americas
Ranked #13 of 326 things to do in Austin
Certificate of Excellence
Attraction details
Chicago, Illinois
Level 6 Contributor
76 reviews
28 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 52 helpful votes
“Great job with F1 race”
Reviewed December 12, 2013

I attended the USGP Formula1 race at COTA this November and was pretty pleased with the way everything was run.

The start with the tickets to the event was not auspicious. Tix ordered through Ticketmaster were not distributed until the week before the event and no news of when they would be sent had many people worried that they would not receive them in time before leaving to go to Austin. I got mine in time, but not without a bit of worry. I don't know if this was the fault of Ticketmaster or the track. I will say that the track made provision for people who had left home before receiving their tickets (the case probably with many overseas visitors) to pick them up at will-call even if the tix had been sent to them. Another nice touch was to trade the typical computer-style Ticketmaster tickets for the nice-looking souvenir tickets at conveniently-place info tents at the track. My only other complaint about the tickets was the fact that Ticketmaster charged $15 to MAIL them to me by regular mail. That was in addition to the other handling fees they usually charge. Please, COTA, next year have them available when they're ordered, or better yet, have a print-at-home option.

As far as the prices and availability of hotels in the Austin area, that's not really the fault of COTA. With 120,000 people coming to the race and 100,000+ attending a UT-Okla State football game, you know the hotels are going to profiteer. However, next year the race will be on a non-game weekend and there should be a little more availability.

The transportation system, imo, was handled well. Yes, $100 a day to park at the track is a lot, but there is limited space there. And why would you want to drive to the track when you could take a nice, air-conditioned bus from downtown for $5 or park in a satellite lot and be bused in for $10 or $20? The bus shuttles were great, with the only problem being the half-mile walk from the shuttle stop to the track. It was okay on the way there, but was like a "death march" after the 90-degree day at the track. There must be some way to move this closer to the gates.

Food and drink options were decent. Prices were high, but not really out of line for a major sports event or concert. Ditto for souvenir stands, which were high-priced, but sold at the same prices that these items are sold for online all year.

Sightlines for the race from both grandstands and general admission areas were excellent for a road-racing circuit. Somebody said it was better at Indy. Well, yeah, but that's a banked oval, which means you can see the whole track from most spots.

Bus transit around the course was great, important for a spread-out 3-mile long track.

Big screen TV's to see the race were spread around the track and worked well.

Given how hot the day was (actually a record for the area), a little more shade would have been nice, but there was some and I was satisfied with this aspect.

The free concert each day after the racing was nice, and I wanted to stay and see Pitbull after the race, but it was just too darn hot.

Fan Fest in downtown Austin was also a lot of fun. I'm not sure if COTA had anything to do with that.

In all, a great weekend, and I'll be back.

Visited November 2013
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3 Thank unclebobg
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Dallas, Texas
Level 5 Contributor
56 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“2nd year and getting better.”
Reviewed December 5, 2013

First I do have to agree with the lower ratings that in it's first year of operation things were very disorganized, especially the vendors. From what I understand all concessions were attended by volunteers which would explain the poor service. I attended both F1 and MotoGP. MotoGP had pretty good motorcycle parking.

In 2013 I attended F1 again and things were a lot better organized, especially parking. Traffic is still pretty heavy, but that's expected. I'll be heading back out for MotoGP in April 2014 & I'm sure things will continue to improve.

The track is pretty good for both of these events, and even general admission locations are pretty decent.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank Jose H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Pentwater, Michigan
Level 5 Contributor
89 reviews
24 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
“Felt like a wallet with legs”
Reviewed December 3, 2013

We attended a few of the F1 races at Indy and surely miss that experience. Fan experience is a lot more pleasant at Indy.

Our grandstand seats at Turn 11W were very good - perfect view of Vettel's doughnuts & of the mishaps during the Ferrari support race. But, the screens show the TV feed, which means the standings are in a tiny box in the corner of the screen. Bring binoculars, or get the F1 app on your smartphone, for tracking the results for practice & qualifying.

However, having gone once, we won't be back to Austin. Parking for the weekend was over $200 to park in a grass field. Spent just under $200 a night for a Rodeway (and our innkeeper said to expect rates to go up to $400 a night for 2014). Plenty of porta-potties, but no water stations, so only hand sanitizer (or waste some your $4.50 bottled water) to clean up after lunch.

You can bring sealed bottles of water in with you, but can't bring a cooler. Lack of water is almost criminal when temps approach 90 degrees. Not much in the way of food choices close to turn 11 - need to walk to get some variety.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
Thank JudyR-D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Awecome event and track, but very expensive”
Reviewed December 2, 2013

We were there for the Formula 1 US Grand Prix. Which was awesome and we will be back next year.
As far as the facilities, there were no shortage of them. However, I will never do the park and ride again. They drop you at least 1/2 a mile from the track and that is a long walk to the track and back!
We did learn a lot while we were there and next year we WILL do it differently. We will buy our tickets as soon as they go on sale, both the tickets for the event and the parking tickets. I can't believe the only ticket left when I looked was $265 to park in parking lot #1, come on .. for 3 hours, which was how long we were there. I read in some reviews that drinks were over priced, I didn't think they were, no different than going to an NFL game or other major sporting event.
All in all it was a great day and beautiful weather WE WILL BE BACK!

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Msbrit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Austin, Texas
Level 6 Contributor
105 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Excellent venue”
Reviewed December 1, 2013

Year two and this venue gets even better. The food selection for F1 was far greater than last year, more abundant and more healthy selections. Love that more local food vendors were in the mix. Great job on keeping the porta cans clean and stocked with paper. Can bring in all the unopened bottled water you can carry and it's a good thing since it was $4 per bottle to purchase. It's expensive to eat and drink but tailgating is possible if you have a close parking spot. Parking pass is pricey. Still need improvement on directing traffic entrance and exiting more effectively.

Visited November 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank tessabear2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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