Tag Archives: F1 Austin

The Karaoke Circuit

Here’s a nice picture of the future Austin circuit, including elevation differences. Tilke’s using the hilly terrain to re-create some of the famous turns in F1, plus a couple of stretches where overtaking will be relatively easy.

Trust some miserable journos to turn this into a disadvantage. Here’s a piece from Richard Williams over at The Guardian, trying to argue that a) they don’t make circuits like they used to any more and b) if they do, it’s pathetic because they shouldn’t. Calls the Austin track a ‘karaoke circuit.’

Listen, journos, if you got out of the wrong side of the bed because the missus denied you sex once again, don’t take it out on us. We’re trying to make an honest living here. And spare me the drivel about racing on ‘what were originally public roads also follows the hills and valleys sculpted over millennia by wind, water and geology among the pine forests of the Ardennes.’ What are you trying to say? We should convert ancient public roads and pristine hill forests into circuits for the truly pastoral F1 experience? Have you ever heard an F1 engine rip by at 18,000rpm? What do you want, feng shui circuits?

It never ceases to amaze me how morons like that keep their journo jobs. Small wonder newspapers have difficulty surviving in modern times.

On a positive note, it’s great to see that Tilke, on the other hand, does know how to do his job. Do you see that hump on the far left, between turns 11 and 12? Hermann put it especially in there to make overtaking like this possible.

Austin, here we come!

Making F1 more lively, revisited

Truth is stranger than fiction, as we all know. I still remember being ridiculed when suggesting shortcuts and other unorthodox means to make F1 more lively, back when everybody and his mate had their balls in a knot over boring Bahrein.

Well, here’s something nobody thought of yet. Even me. Although in hindsight, Mark Webber came close. Note to self: call Hermann Tilke to see if he can build a couple of humps like these in the Austin circuit.

[Thanks autoblog.com, for bringing this to my attention.]

Monaco at risk?

You bet they are.

Look, I know that F1 would not be the same without a Monaco Grand Prix. Which is relevant if you’re sentimental. I ask you, my dear friends: do I look like a sentimental person?

Think about my position for a moment. I’m sitting on a franchise worth a couple of billion dollars. That sounds great (and believe me it is) but a money mountain like that attracts a lot of greedy people. In increasing order of greed we’re talking about the likes of the FIA (bunch of paupers), the F1 teams, a swarm of locusts private equity capitalists and, last but not least, my beloved ex-wife, who needs to pay the upkeep for the most expensive private jet on the market.

And they all want more. The only reason I can survive this mayhem is by asking more money from race organisers. Is that so unreasonable?

Not if you consider that developing countries like Russia, India and Texas are prepared to shell out tens of millions of dollars for the privilege to host a Grand Prix. So why would I give a giant discount to a bunch of rich people occupying the hottest real estate on France’s Mediterranean coast?

In the end it all comes down to negotiation skills. Which is why I always mention one race in public when I really want to put pressure on another.

Dear burghers of Monaco, I’ve said it before and it goes for your lot too: if you think you’ve got me by the balls, your hands aren’t big enough.

Ari Strauss calls

He’s president of the Monticello Motor Club, a rich boy’s escape about an hour’s drive from New York. He’s under the impression he once stood a serious chance of making Monticello the US Grand Prix venue. It was a nice way of putting a bit of extra pressure on the State of Texas to accept our conditions for an Austin GP, so I indulged him.

But he’s still living the dream. “Bernie,” he says, “I’ve read you’re working on a second venue for the US. It’s always amazing how great minds turn out to think alike. I was thinking exactly the same!”

Well, what a coincidence. But I’m not sure- “Bernie.” he interrupts me, “I know what you’re going to say. Those Southerners can’t be trusted. It’s like one of them told me th’other day: ‘Face it, if it ain’t got fenders and doors and only turns left neither y’allers nor yankees bother to show up.’

“Listen up, Bernie. I’ve got a great concept for you. Continue reading

Mooning F1

Late night call from Sir Big Swinging Dick. He’s on of his Big Branson Ideas again. “Bernie'” he says, “Are you still worrying how to get enough spectators to that US Grand Prix of yours?”

I point out that it’s not me worrying about that, but Tavo Hellmund and the Comptroller of the State of Texas. But he’s not listening. Probably had a couple of Martinis too many at the Paddock Bar.

“D’you know what’s drawing the big crowds in California right now?” he blares. I must admit that nothing in particular springs to mind. The World Soccer Championship, perhaps? “Nope. It’s mooning.”


“Yep. Organised mooning. I’m not making this up. They moon trains. Gather at the tracks and wait till the train’s coming. At the signal they all drop their pants and moon the train. You know, full Moon? Two each, actually. Get it?

I get it. So what do you want to do, have people moon the drivers when they race by? Won’t they be going a little bit too fast for that?

Continue reading

Tavo Hellmund called

Uncle Bernie, he says, I’m here at Silverstone with Aunt Susan and we’re having a great time but she’s getting worried about all these plans surfacing about a second US Grand Prix.

Aunt Susan? I ask. Who’s she? Do I know her? “Don’t you remember?” he says. “She’s the Comptroller for the State of Texas, she’s the nice lady who promised to pay those $25m in penalty clauses if we don’t have a race in 2012.”

Ah, that Aunt Susan. And why would she be worried? Another GP wouldn’t slow down your plans in Austin, would it? He says no it wouldn’t, but she’s an elected official and it wouldn’t make her look good for the voters if we would be, say, a year late and you’d pocket $25m and still get your US Grand Prix elsewhere.

So I tell him, listen, Tavo, the reason you got that contract in the first place is you’re a good lad and you’re going to make sure that Austin circuit gets finished on time. And by the way, since you’re already in business and nobody else has even started yet, your chances of having a Grand Prix up and running in 2012 are better than anyone else’s. So just do your job and neither you or auntie whatshername have anything to worry about.

Wimp. Whatever happened to that famous American pioneer spirit?

(Thanks reader David, for sending me the picture.)