PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

Sports

November 9, 2013

David Estrada column: Formula 1 racing rolls into Austin

AUSTIN — Next weekend the sports world will descend on Texas again, this time for

the 2013 rendition of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix. The state capital of

Austin will host the event for a second time, making the United States and Texas

the focal point of a worldwide audience.

    Racing enthusiasts, and even the casual fan, will recognize the entrants in the

Grand Prix event – Red Bull, Mercedes, Ferrari, Lotus and others.

    The campfire the legions of worldwide fans will gather around is the qualifying

and championship race itself on Saturday and Sunday, respectively. Like last

year’s USGP in Texas and other Formula 1 Grand Prix races held globally, this

event will bring much more to the region than burnt rubber and the world’s

most advanced racing cars.

    Entertainment is an integral part of the event and

this year’s event will feature international music stars such as Sting and

Pitbull. With the Dallas Cowboys on a bye week, even the Dallas Cowboys

Cheerleaders will be on hand for the event.

    The United States Grand Prix also holds the distinction of being the second to

last Formula 1 Grand Prix of the season, making its outcomes all the more

important. On the line at this penultimate F1 race will be placements in the

World Drivers' Championship (WDC) and the World Constructors' Championship

(WCC).

    Eleven teams of two drivers each race throughout the calendar year with

those two goals in mind.

    First place in both the Drivers' Championship and the Constructors' Championship

is already locked up going in to the Austin event. German Sebastian Vettel and

his Red Bull racing team have already clinched the number one spot for both.

Vettel has proven to be the today's Michael Schumacher. The F1 great won five

consecutive WDCs from 2000-2005, Vettel has won the last four in a row.

    Similar to the Olympics, there is glory beyond first place in Formula 1. Since

this is the pinnacle of auto racing, there is prestige in second and third place;

silver and bronze if you will.

    The drivers to look after in the US Grand Prix will the ones jockeying for

second and third place – Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, Lotus’ Kimi Raikkonen,

and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton. Mercedes and Ferrari are in a virtual dead heat

for second place in the Constructors' Championship with Lotus not too far back.

    Formula 1 auto racing does not get the exposure in America that NASCAR gets, but

this is changing. As the world becomes smaller, fans are able to record

overseas races, and with the bevy of information available on the internet,

Formula 1 is gaining more popularity in the US.

    Texas will continue to be a

focal point with its US Grand Prix, since it’s only one of three F1 races in

the Americas (Montreal’s Canadian Grand Prix and Sao Paulo’s Brazilian Grand

Prix are the other two).

    The further progress of the racing promotion may hinge on the inclusion of an

American driver. All indications show this driver could be California native,

Alexander Rossi. Rossi is a reserve driver for the Caterham-Renault F1 team.

    During the first round of the Friday practice, Rossi is scheduled

to do laps out the race circuit for this team. They may not be official racing

laps but if he proves his skill over time Americans could probably see him

competing in future Grand Prix races.

    For Southeast Texans interested in attending, the event there are still tickets

available for the 110,000 plus capacity Circuit of the Americas. More information

can be found at circuitoftheamericas.com.

    The Friday practice and Saturday

qualifying rounds will be aired on the NBC Sports Network and the championship

race will air Sunday at 1 p.m.Central on NBC.

    David Estrada Jr. is a Mixed Martial Arts and racing columnist for the Port Arthur News. He can be e-mailed at DavidEstrada@DavidEstrada.com

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