COTA shines on triumphant F1™ return to US 19 Nov 2012
After a five-year absence from the United States, Formula One racing was greeted by packed grandstands and an incredible atmosphere as it arrived at its new Texan home, the spectacular Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin. Some of those closest to the inaugural event explain why Sundays Grand Prix was the start of something big
Rick Perry, Governor of the State of Texas:
It is a great day for the country and America is again starting to embrace Formula One like it has never done before. From an economic standpoint we have been looking at Formula One for three years now - and regarding the outcome of this race my bottom line was let the best man win. Why it took Texan entrepreneurs to bring Formula One back to the US? Well, I think it is not such an extraordinary concept in the first decade of the 21st century to have economic developments like this. Texas has been driving this train for the last 12 years now. To bring Formula One to Texas was just one aspect of that concept. Of course, I have to say that Red McCombs is indeed a very farsighted gentleman, a visionary entrepreneur who at eighty-plus years is just as dynamic now as he was in his thirties! God knows what hell doing when he is in his nineties (laughs) I am still a freshman when it comes to Formula One. I was at the Italian Grand Prix last September promoting this race and the excitement that this is the inaugural race, the excitement that this is happening in Texas, the excitement that this is the first ever purpose-built Formula One track in the United States makes this a very, very unique experience. It was quite a show today and I am already pretty much hooked on this sport.
Adrian Newey, Red Bulls chief technical officer:
It is fantastic. A good circuit and I would dare a bet in saying that this is going to be one of the favourite races in the future. There seems to be a huge enthusiasm - full grandstands, incredible vibes - so I would say that Formula One has again arrived in the USA.
Mario Andretti, 1978 Formula One world champion:
Wow, I think this is the start of something beautiful to come. The drivers like the circuit and the fans really go with it. There is so much enthusiasm that I predict that this is the just beginning of something still bigger in this big country. I am so proud of my people today. I never had any doubt that the Formula One fan base is very much underestimated in the States and today was the proof, because I think that no one would have believed that you have such a terrific audience. Formula One is back in the USA!
Patrick Dempsey, actor, star of Greys Anatomy:
I am a huge fan of Formula One so it was certain that I would be here today. It was a fantastic race and I think it is great for Formula One in this country, as this was a faultless race on a state-of-the-art track. I think the Austiners understood the order of the day to get the race to their hometown - and I think Austin is a good fit for Formula One. Today was my second race - and boy am I proud to be here.
Hermann Tilke, COTA designer:
That was quite a race. If you plan a track you hope that it will turn out that way, but you can never really be sure. So its a big stone off my chest, as it shows that if you give the fans what they like they will follow you anywhere. And the drivers really delivered - there was action all over the place. (laughs) Corner one really did the job - the perfect spot for inviting overtaking. The fans were simply awesome - they stayed until the very end which is a huge compliment in the US. (laughs) Hats off to Bernie Ecclestone - it was a masterstroke to come here to Texas and try to sweep the US from here.
Sergio Marchionne, Fiat CEO:
It was a fantastic day for Formula One - state-of-the-art racetrack, enthusiastic fans and an exciting race. I am pleased to be here today having witnessed the triumphant return of Formula One to the United States. Personally I always love to come to Texas - so this was killing two birds with one stone. (laughs)
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