Austin Officials Attend British Grand Prix, Call Trip "Worthwhile And Valuable"
Austin city officials Tuesday called their recent trip to the British Grand Prix, “criticized by some as a junket, worthwhile and valuable,” according to John Maher of the AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN. Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell said that it “would have been irresponsible for officials not to take the chance to see a Formula One race before Austin hosts its inaugural U.S. Grand Prix" on Nov. 16-18. Officials “seemed impressed by the F1 race.” The flights and hotels for Leffingwell and City Manager Marc Ott “were paid for by Circuit of the Americas, while the city paid $5,600 for the others.” After being “stranded in a traffic jam on his way to a Friday practice session, Leffingwell concluded it might be a good idea to have a contingency plan for when natural parking areas turn into mud pits or for when officials have to drastically alter the planned traffic flow.” He said, "It's an amazing event, extremely complex." Leffingwell added that one thing “he noticed was that a lot of volunteers would be needed for the Austin race.” He said that he “liked the high-pitched scream of the F1 cars,” and that some local officials “told him the F1 cars could be heard four miles away.” Leffingwell: "Nobody should try to soft-pedal the fact that it's going to be noisy" (AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN, 7/11).
NO JOKE: The GUARDIAN's Christian Sylt notes F1 Management Chair Bernie Ecclestone has “confirmed for the first time that he is indeed working on a race" in London. He said, "We are getting on with it. It is no joke, 100% completely no joke.” Ecclestone revealed that work on the race “is progressing following the unveiling last month of plans for a track which would snake past some of the capital's most famous landmarks.” He also said that F1 would “cover the running costs and waive the usual [US$54M] hosting fee” (GUARDIAN, 7/12).