The Port Arthur News
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
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