Last month, F1 author and journalist Andrew Frankl spoke to a full house at Stanford University’s Engineering school in front of faculty, students and F1 fans alike about his career in the sport with anecdotes from his travels and thoughts on the current state of the sport.
Frankl, now living in Northern California, is the Grand Prix editor for FORZA magazine, and recently published a memoir of his time in F1. Originally filmed for a periscope broadcast, enjoy a few minutes of this engaging and warm presentation with Andrew, followed by his son Nicholas, who has a few thoughts on Formula E after having returned recently from Long Beach. An hour well spent.
It’s a chilly Saturday morning here at Circuit of The Americas, and for the first time since 2005, only 9 teams will be qualifying for a grand prix. A lack of finances at Caterham and Marussia has created a situation that provided the backdrop for one of the most revealing Q&A sessions with team principals representing both the front and what’s left of the rear of the grid.
As money takes center stage in any endeavor at the expense of it’s genuine focus, in this case. how can fans enjoy a pure competitive F1 experience?
Watching the interview from one team’s hospitality center, it is clear that the paddock is following this story closely in the hopes of keeping the sport about racing, and not just about the shrinking grid (transcript):
Progress at Circuit of The Americas got an official inspection this week when the FIA sent Charlie Whiting (the real one) to check in on construction at the circuit with representatives of the track and designers from Tilke on hand to answer any questions.
As head of Formula One’s technical department, Whiting is known to many fans at the man who starts each race, but his role also includes circuit safety as well as car inspector for the FIA, and he had high praise for the circuit and construction progress in Austin:
“It is clear that the significant resources Circuit of The Americas has committed to completing this facility on time and to FIA specifications is making a difference . . . The more than 500 construction workers on site daily are making great progress, and I plan to return to Austin at the end of August for an update. My formal pre-race inspection is set for Sept. 25, which is 60 days before the scheduled start of the FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX™. From the world-class motorsports facilities and fan areas to the racecourse itself, which promises to be one of the most challenging new additions to our season, I believe Circuit of The Americas has the ability to put on a great show and spectacular Grand Prix in its inaugural year. I look forward to my next visit in August.”
Circuit of The Americas has also been doing an admirable job of updating it’s Facebook community with weekly updates from the track – doubters, take note – or at least follow their updates.
The FIA’s visit came just days after teams and officials wrapped up a successful Canadian Grand Prix weekend and just ahead of the inaugural Formula Expo event to be held in downtown Austin. This first of it’s kind event will bring the community at large in contact with teams, vendors and circuit representatives to preview the sport’s arrival and I look forward to attending this weekend – stay tuned for more updates from Texas and follow @F1US for the latest.