F101: USGP Set-Up and Take-Down Break Down
What does it take to put on one of the largest sporting events in the world every year? 2022 saw Circuit of The Americas break multiple records, including the most-attended Formula 1 Grand Prix in history to that date with 440,000 spectators over three days. This year’s Formula 1 Lenovo United States Grand Prix plans to show the world why everything is bigger in Texas. To do that, however, it takes remarkable community effort and collaboration from both Formula 1 and COTA.
Though the USGP occurs in late October, campus preparations typically begin five months prior in early June. Hospitality spaces like Club SI, the Circuit Suite, and Podium Club are not permanent buildings at COTA, so crews start construction on the grounds over summer to allow for ample build time.
Around July, attention shifts to smaller suites like the trackside cabanas and sponsored tents. Find these spaces by the support paddock, behind the Observation Deck, and around Big Red – the Turn 1 hill.
Between Germania Insurance Amphitheater’s Summer Concert Series, COTA track rentals, and grounds maintenance, crews update track barriers, work to improve guest areas like walkways and Fan Field, and begin rebuilding semi-permanent grandstands. When September arrives, COTA turns its focus to smaller tents like food halls, concessions, and guest services while also updating larger areas like entryways, backstage preparation tents, and more.
In 2022, 1,084 couches, 1,964 tables and 8,971 chairs were brought to the track for guests to rest, relax, and watch the best racing in the world.
Once the race is a month away, in late September, crews converge on the Paddock for the official Formula 1 buildout. While on the European continent teams are able to take motorhomes set up with offices, a kitchen, and more from race to race, once the series crosses the pond, those HQs relocate into temporary structures built behind the pits. These finish just in time to welcome engineers, strategists, pit crews, and other supporting members of the teams.
After each race, the cars are disassembled, and the individual parts are shipped via cargo plane. Since there is an extra week this year between the Qatar Grand Prix and the USGP, the car parts are sent back to the factory to be inspected and repainted before being flown into Austin. The engineers then meticulously rebuild the cars to be ready by the time the drivers arrive on the Thursday before the race.
This year, between October 19 and 22, hundreds of thousands of race fans – media, spectators, team crew, and the best drivers in the world – will flock to Austin, Texas for the 11th Formula 1 United States Grand Prix at COTA. It takes a while to sweep up all the confetti and restore the track after a long weekend of racing, with crews taking down the final structures from the USGP a month after the checkered flag is waved. In the meantime, a host of other teams at COTA are already looking forward and preparing to secure a podium spot at the 2024 USGP.