Category Archives: F1 and NFL

The NFL Season and F1

It’s that time of year again in America when each Fall, televisions in every sports bar across the US blare with a crowd’s roar, network trumpeting ID’s blare, and the whistle of referees arresting play – cue to – even more blaring advertising.  It’s a tradition. As a fan of both the NFL and F1, it’s a bittersweet moment.  Locally, a group of F1 fans I’ve led, the San Francisco F1 Group, shifts from sports bars to the local karting track to watch races so as not to go head-to-head with a parched 49ers fan base.

Since 2005, running a group of dedicated Formula 1 fans in a major US city has created a bit of a learning lab and how best to bring fans, bars and venues together in the right mix, and during this time of the year, it’s never more difficult to organize an F1 viewing group around a live or DVR’d Grand Prix at a US sports bar. If you’re looking for a group to join, or have one you’d like to share (several have been forming since the announcement of the new circuit in Austin), here’s an open source map showing groups and F1 friendly venues across the US:

View F1US: F1 venue guide in a larger map

The start of the Fall classic this month has new significance this year as groups of F1 fans who watch racing together have been growing in numbers, and will no doubt find that some venues have a difficult time accommodating both F1 and football on Sunday mornings.  This year, one third of the F1 season will take place during the NFL’s regular season, with the majority of sports bars showing more than one NFL game at a time. As our group in San Francisco started out, it was common for a group of 50 F1 fans watching one race to be offered the same number of screens as 10 NFL fans watching 3 different games.

For many new F1 communities that’s what F1 is up against in this country, and it’s a situation most F1 viewing groups would like to avoid.  The good news is that F1 fans watching their sport at bars and venues in groups were never nearly as large or as well organized as they are today, and with a tightly networked group of fans, it’s possible to switch venues at a moment’s notice, or find a more F1 friendly venue before the next GP.

Find a great venue or a group for watching F1 this season?  Share your comments.

Leave a Comment

Filed under American F1 Fans, Events, F1 and NFL, F1 broadcasting in America, F1 in America, san francisco formula 1 group, Social Media, Uncategorized

‘Circuit of the Americas’ to Host Formula 1 and MotoGP


The new circuit in Austin has a name: “Circuit of the Americas”, announced today at a media event in Austin.   A fitting choice for the global sports and entertainment venue to host both Formula 1 and MotoGP in the coming years – a first for a US circuit.

Today’s press conference highlighted the thinking that has gone into the new circuit, and the connections the new venue will have with the community as not only a home to racing and entertainment, but also the relevance the facility will have economically, educationally, and globally for Austin.  Cited as “a BIG deal” by partner Red McCombs, the impact the Circuit of the Americas, or COTA, was likened to that of “a superbowl every year, for 10 years”.

It’s estimated that over 10 years, COTA will bring $3 to $5 billion into the area.

It’s also clear that the organizers have gone to enormous lengths to integrate the greater Austin area in operational, travel, leisure, educational and commercial roles as Tavo Hellmund, co-founder, said “we’re building a destination.”  Very true, and something Formula 1 is particularly good at doing.

At the event, a new logo was unveiled, along with a new website for inquiries and ticket, sponsorship and volunteer information.  The circuit’s official twitter page is now @circuitamericas.

Midway through the presentation, Kevin Schwantz and Ben Spies took center stage, where it was announced that MotoGP would be appearing at the new circuit, so two wheeled fans will be pleased to hear the news that the race will appear in 2013.

Tavo took questions today in both English and Spanish, and remarked that the new circuit was a “circuito por todos”, so great to see North and South America as one on the road in Austin.  Corner names haven’t been released, but he hinted at a Texas “tradition for naming things locally”, and Jim Hall, AJ Foyt were among several suggested during my twitter coverage of the event this afternoon.

A question on title sponsorship was brought up by some friends over at, in attendance at the event,  but no details were announced.

After the event, media were invited to inspect the construction site, and more news and updates should be coming forth shortly – keep up with the latest on @F1US and on Facebook – meanwhile, who do you think would benefit greatest from a title or presenting partnership with the Circuit of the Americas?  And what would you name the corners in Austin?

What would you name these corners?



Filed under American companies in F1, American F1 circuits, American F1 Events, American F1 Fans, American F1 history, Americans working in F1, brand strategy in F1, Circuit of the Americas, Events, F1 and branding, F1 and business, F1 and NFL, F1 and Social Media, F1 broadcasting in America, F1 in America, Uncategorized, United States Grand Prix, United States Grand Prix in Austin

Dan Gurney at Pebble Beach, Tavo Hellmund on Wind Tunnel, and Peter Windsor on Twitter

Two weekends ago I was able to travel to Monterey with a group from Western Automotive Journalists as a new prospect for the weekend, and went in support the group, tweeting from the track, Pebble Beach, and Concorso Italiano.  With such an expansive set of events featuring so many different types of cars, the tweets help cross pollenate the interests with the people and presentations, so it helps to keep an eye on your friends to get to whom and what you’d like to see quickly at each venue.

Dan Gurney and Peter Habicht at Pebble Beach

Dan Gurney and the author at Pebble Beach 2010

One person who was in demand during the weekend was the legend Dan Gurney.  I had a few words with him at Pebble Beach, and it was great to talk about his days in New York before heading out West (we grew up in the same home town).  He is doing well and still very sharp, recalling a lot from the North Shore of Long Island where he spent his early years.  At the track, many of the cars he built and raced were on hand, as well as many of his fans.  A well organized autograph session was held in front of a capacity crowd, and he was more than happy to sign passes, programs and models.  Many smiles from the fans who waited over an hour to see him.

Gurney's Eagle

Gurney's Eagle was on display with much of his life's work in racing

Yesterday, Tavo Hellmund took a few questions on SPEEDTV’s Wind Tunnel program, putting a little more information out there on the nature of the track and the thinking behind the new course at Austin.  It seems there’s more event orchestration happening behind the scenes right now in the lead up to the official track layout announcement.  I have been seeing lots of tweets from F1 fans who’ve been upset with Tilke’s designs in the past and are holding their breath on this front.  Tavo’s comment about how the nature of such development deals are done revealed some of the complexity of putting together a new F1 venue and event, and his comment about Bahrain’s circuit design shows how he will also be moving forward with FOM, FIA and the bottom line in mind.  The fans are waiting to see what’s next, but Tavo’s put a few morsels out there – 20 turns, 130′ elevation change (about an 9 story building, or not quite twice the drop of the Corkscrew at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca), and 3.2 miles in length.

Tavo Hellmund on SPEED’s ‘Wind Tunnel’ August 22, 2010

It’s been a while since Peter Windsor has made it back onto the media stage, and a few weeks ago, Latin American media had published some news on Peter’s story, his relationship with Bernie, and with Ken Anderson and the rest of the team.  I met both Ken and Peter in 2008, relatively early in their roadshow period for the team when they visited the San Francisco Bay Area, and while many have come down hard on the two of them, it has to be said that Peter’s reputation and place in the hearts and minds of American F1 fans took the largest hit as a result of the team’s failure to race this season.

Lessons learned?  It sounds like he’s certainly given the entire ordeal he’s been through some thought in this interview, and it’s clear from the Twitterverse that while he’s let some fans down, he’s also been missed in his pitlane coverage on SPEED.  Peter’s recently emerged with his own account on Twitter as well, and you can find him here @PeterDWindsor.

I’m looking forward to the next race from Spa, and our group here in San Francisco has been hitting the NFL pre-season with plenty of momentum.  Unfortunately for F1 fans in the US who want to watch their race before noon, much of the sports bar culture is ramping up for months of pent up demand for the NFL season start.  It’s tough when you’ve got 100 F1 fans watching 10 screens who have to compete with a dozen or more people who want to watch their home team play, but more on that fight in a future post . . . meanwhile, everyone here’s looking forward to seeing what develops this weekend in Belgium.

Leave a Comment

Filed under American F1 circuits, American F1 Fans, American F1 history, American teams in F1, Americans working in F1, F1 and NFL, F1 in America, Uncategorized, United States Grand Prix in Austin