2012 US GP COTA F1 Watcher's Guide - SHAKEDOWN

Uploaded by drive on 16.11.2012

LEO PARENTE: Today, we're going to do the final Drive
"Shakedown" pre-race look at the USGP at the
Circuit of the Americas.
We'll talk technology, including tires, with Paul
Hembery, the head of Pirelli Motorsport.
We're also going to talk Grand Prix image, what will define
success for F1 in the US, and of course, the racing.
And in doing so, I'm not going to insult the US race fans as
NASCAR-centric, F1-ignorant, MonoCell-minded sports fans.
I'm leaving that to the US media, because what I've read
and heard in the general market media so far is either
scary stupid or scarce.
Hey, anyone remember the last time F1 was in Texas?
No, not that.
That was the first Grand Prix race in America, 1908 in Long
Island, New York.
That's a Mercedes, so I guess that must be Michael
No, the last Texas F1 race was in Dallas in 1984 in the
middle of their July heat.
Dallas was one of the nine cities that's hosted a US F1
race so far.
Austin is the 10th.
Two things to remember about that Dallas race.
First, Honda won its first race with
its first turbo design.
And it's certainly not their last win.
And turbos are coming back to F1.
Maybe Honda is, too.
It was Keke Rosberg that raced this Williams Honda
turbo to the win.
He, at the time, was the Kimi Raikkonen of that generation,
cigarettes and drinks all around, boys.
The second thing I recall was enduring image of one Nigel
Mansell, fighting heat and racing-infused exhaustion,
pushing his failed Lotus to the finish line.
The Mansell faint was, I feel, one of those global images of
US Grand Prix racing, like the Ralf Schumacher Michelin tire
debacle crashes of Indy of 2005.
And Ralf, which Baldwin brother was he?
But now with Austin, it's all new, and a new chance for
success, redemption, and really hot grid girls.
That's them?
OK, they call them not grid girls but COTA girls.
What, circuit of the anatomy?
B, who designed those grassy knoll skirts, Oliver Stone?
Hey honey, come over here.
And back and to the left.
Back and to the left.
Back and-- that's a bad joke.
I'm sorry.
And grid girls are supposed to be beautiful.
Now look, I know I'm no take-home prize, but these
COTA girls, [SIGHS]
I wouldn't [BLEEP]
them with Spinelli's--

It is time to talk US F1 one last time
before the actual racing.
And I'm going to do so with someone I want you to meet,
Ian Whalen.
IAN WHALEN: Hi, everyone.
LEO PARENTE: That was cool.
So here's the gig-- besides being a fan and a follower of
F1, Ian's the guy that's been behind the camera, doing the
editing for "Shakedown" for a long, long time.
And he kind of bailed me out.
Pirelli had a press conference with Paul Hembery.
And I, for family reasons, emergency--
everything's OK-- couldn't make it.
But Mike Spinelli and Ian Whalen covered it.
And we're going to have some clips from that
chat with Paul Hembery.
But I wanted to talk with you and get the crowd to know you
about a little bit of this stuff.
So I'm not throwing you to the wolves.
This isn't taking a virgin out on her first date.
He knows his stuff.
But we're going to have a chat.
It's not expert stuff.
We're just going to talk about what's going on with F1.
Fair enough, right?
IAN WHALEN: Thank you, Leo.
I appreciate it.
LEO PARENTE: Yeah, well, we're trying.
We're trying hard.
Where the hell are we, here?
So let's start with, basically, the first question.
What should be the image of the USGP?
I mean, it's back after a few years.
Everyone in the world talks about how maybe F1 isn't
appropriate to the US.
On the other hand, we've heard comments where F1 is excited
to come back.
So what is the image?
What should people think about as the image of American Grand
Prix racing?
What do you think?
IAN WHALEN: Well, I don't know exactly.
But I think that it would be nice if this track can kind of
show off what we can do with a fun track that's fun to watch
and great for the drivers and show that we can build a
world-class facility.
And that's something that would be great
for everyone, I hope.
LEO PARENTE: Well, it's funny, because you use the word
"fun." And I'm kind of thinking that the image of
America to the outside, maybe, is one of fun, a little bit of
technology, and just being modern.
So I hope it comes across as that, versus some really
over-the-top patriotic flag waving or defense of that
"we're NASCAR people, we don't understand." I hope it goes a
little deeper than that.
IAN WHALEN: Well, I hope that it's not just about America.
I mean, it's supposed to be Formula 1.
Formula 1 is a global sport, and I hope that it kind of
brings a little bit of that flavor to the United States
and that's something that the viewers can enjoy, because
when I've gone to Formula 1 races, that's
something that I enjoy.
You feel like you're a part of something greater than just
that one location.
LEO PARENTE: And that's the other part.
I think we've heard a lot of comments about how in America
big events matter.
So hopefully, it's more than just the
literacy of the racing.
It is an experience.
That kind of gets to the point of what is needed
to be a fan of F1.
And I fear sometimes that everyone thinks you need to
know the technology, or you need to be really up on all
the details.
When we talked to David Coulthard with the New Jersey
Grand Prix that may or may not be happening.
IAN WHALEN: I hope so.
Anyway, David had a different opinion.
And I want to cut to him and a little bit of what Paul
Hembery said about what they both thought about what a fan
needs to bring to enjoy F1.
It maybe isn't as complicated as you think.
What do people in the US need to know to want to
come to this race?
DAVID COULTHARD: Well, Red Bull wouldn't be doing this if
they didn't think that it was going to be something that was
going to be popular with the public.
You don't need to know anything about Formula 1.
If you like cars, if you like speed, if you're intrigued to
know what makes Formula 1 the fastest form of closed-circuit
racing in the world--
that's a fact.
We're not just doing that as PR.
These are the fastest cars around a racetrack of this
type of nature.
And the technology is the technology of tomorrow that
you'll have in your road cars.
Carbon fiber was first developed for Formula 1,
traction control, turbocharged engines--
all of those things came because of Formula 1 racing.
PAUL HEMBERY: We actually find that there's a huge number of
fans that make contact with us from the US.
And it always surprises us.
They tend to be some of the most knowledgeable F1 fans, I
have to say, around the world.
The questions we get asked via whatever medium you want from
the US is actually very, very qualified and very, very
thought out and reasoned.
Of course, there's a lot of European purists that would
like to see a Formula 1 format which adds free engines--
you can do what you want with the engines, 1,000-plus
horsepower, tires, whatever you want to do, and you go to
the extremes of the technology.
There are some people out there that believe that's the
way it should be.
However, if you go in that direction, you're never going
to get anyone to turn the telly on in India or China or
other markets where Formula 1, as a sport, is competing
against, well, a lot of your national sports, for example,
where they want excitement, and they want to see something
that keeps them attached to the television.
They don't want to turn it off and go to sleep.
So you'll never please everybody, of course, and
different people have different opinions.
But if we're in the entertainment business, and
sport today is in the entertainment business, no
matter which sport you're in, then you're competing against
many, many sports.
And Formula 1 doesn't just compete against other forms of
It competes against soccer, baseball, basketball, and
cricket, if you're talking India.
It competes against everything.
And you have to come up with a product that the public has an
appetite for.
LEO PARENTE: So I think the other question is, do you
think that F1 is finally ready to commit to America?
Because I always used to get the feeling that they take the
money, they'd show up, do the circus, and get
the hell out of Dodge.
And Bernie, at the time, used to say things-- well, you had
mentioned something.
IAN WHALEN: Yeah, he just said that he doesn't think F1
really needs America.
LEO PARENTE: And now they're talking, well, we need America
more than maybe F1 needs America.
So I'm wondering if they're ready to put forth the effort.
IAN WHALEN: I hope so, because this is a huge market, and the
potential is here.
It just hasn't been fulfilled in the past, I think.
And all these manufacturers--
well, not as many as we once had-- are involved in F1, and
they're all selling cars here.
And I feel like if they really got on the ball, they could
take advantage of this for their own good.
LEO PARENTE: So here are the clues, I think.
Bernie Ecclestone sounds to be talking a little bit
There was a bunch of rumors that even with the Jersey
thing, he maybe has some money behind the scenes to try to
help that out.
The teams--
Martin Whitmarsh from McLaren--
they're all talking differently about wanting,
needing to make America work.
And the other thing that just happened with GP2 and GP3,
although it hasn't been announced as a formal series,
these cars, they've talked about bringing a series to
North America to have races in the United States, Montreal,
Canada, and South America--
to create a feeder series to develop drivers.
I mean, everyone always talks about we need a US driver.
But the whole idea of being more than just a one-stop,
come to our side of the world and get out, goes away if they
really do develop a series here.
Now, by the way, the scream in the background is IndyCar
saying, WTF with this.
They deserve it.
LEO PARENTE: OK, perfect.
Isn't this cool, though, if they actually have another
series here?
IAN WHALEN: I think that would be cool.
And I'll believe it when I see it.
It's one of those things.
Because it's right behind the DTM series
that showed up, right?
I mean, the more world-class racing we can get in the
United States, the better.
I think that would be excellent.
But GP2 in Europe is kind of developed on following the F1
races around.
So it gets attention through that.
I mean, I think it would be interesting to see how they
keep the attention on GP2 in the Americas.
LEO PARENTE: So two things popped in my mind.
Without sounding like a know-it-all, number one, if
I'm a non-American driver, and I'm racing and spending my
money in Indy Lights, I'm so gone from Indy
Lights, I would run this.
And if I'm an American, like a Rossi, that has an aspiration,
rather than shipping myself over to Europe, I could start
to develop a name here.
And it all depends on how they're supported.
So honestly, the last thing, if I was NASCAR, I would stick
it to IndyCar as well and sanction these cars and have
another footprint in US racing but also have that
international connection with FIA, the way they're doing
with buying the American Le Mans series.
LEO PARENTE: OK, so we talked about if F1 is finally ready
to commit to America.
What does the US need to do to make this a success?
IAN WHALEN: Well, I think, first of all, we need much
better television coverage of Formula 1 in this country.
LEO PARENTE: F1 should be on Drive.
IAN WHALEN: That would be great.
LEO PARENTE: Someone get JF.
IAN WHALEN: But if you look at what Sky and BBC have done
with F1 coverage in Europe, it's just a lot more
I mean, they spend a lot of time around the race before
you even see the race, just showing all
kinds of cool video.
It's really well done.
They've won awards on BBC.
LEO PARENTE: I'm just getting in my David Hobbs position.
Isn't this usually--
IAN WHALEN: I mean, those guys, they're knowledgeable,
but they're not even at the races.
And it's nothing against them, but just to have more of a
real presence where you could actually get a sense of the
atmosphere of the race would be helpful.
LEO PARENTE: And I'm going to take a step further.
I'm in complete agreement.
But to be frank, I haven't seen any
promotion for the race.
So what does the US need to do?
Well, I know the promoter.
And Circuit of the Americas spent, like, $450 million to
build the thing.
And I know it's awesome.
And Mike Musto was there, and maybe you
saw that video yesterday.
But I haven't seen any advertising and promotion.
I haven't seen any mention of US F1 in the general market.
All I've seen are things that are in
the racing-only community.
And maybe that's enough to get 100,000 people there.
IAN WHALEN: They've apparently sold out, but that's probably
not good enough for the future, right?
I mean, maybe they don't think they need to promote this year
because they've sold it out.
LEO PARENTE: Yeah, I don't want to sound like marketer
101, but they're building a brand here.
Living in the racing bubble is not enough.
As Coulthard said, you don't need to be an expert of this
stuff to enjoy it.
There's the sound.
Everyone talks about the sound of an F1 car.
IAN WHALEN: It is pretty amazing.
LEO PARENTE: There's the speed.
It's an experience.
It's a big event.
Where is that different from football or the Kentucky Derby
or any type of experience event?
IAN WHALEN: That's true.
You don't need to know anything about how horses are
bred to watch the Kentucky Derby.
LEO PARENTE: Every weekend, I watch European football.
I got it.
I got it.
Goes with my Spinelli joke up front.
I think it's time to finally talk about the racing itself
in the circuit.
Here it is.
20 turns.
I even forgot-- how long is this track, 4-point, 3-point?
IAN WHALEN: I'm not sure.
LEO PARENTE: Whatever.
But it's long enough.
IAN WHALEN: It's a good-sized track.
LEO PARENTE: It's got 20 turns.
It's got everything that Hermann
Tilke wants in a track.
I know we're all going to be fixated on the start-finish
line and the elevation and the blind corner in turn one,
heading down to a bunch of slalom-type activities.
I'm guessing--
and we're going to learn as they get on track-- but I'm
guessing that your passing spots, sure, they could be
turn one, probably six, could be nine,
definitely into the hairpin.
The DRS zone is here, heading into turn 12.
And if I get the numbers right, it's 650 meters before.
So that's about 2,100 feet.
So it's longer than a quarter mile, less than a half mile.
It's a drag race into the corner.
PAUL HEMBERY: I have to say there's huge excitement within
the Formula 1 community to be coming over to the US again.
And certainly everything we've all seen about Austin and the
track, it means that everybody's really, really
looking forward to coming over.
Of course, there's a lot of unknowns for everybody coming
to a new track.
We went over probably a month or so ago when they'd just
laid the track, I think, 24 hours previously.
And we took moldings, basically, and laser
measurements of the track surface to try and understand
what sort of surface we're going to encounter from a tire
We then worked with the teams who have, obviously, a very
detailed simulation of the track layout, where we then
simulate the effects of a Formula 1 car going around the
track and looking at the lateral and longitudinal loads
and the energy going into the tire.
And combined with the information we have on the
surface, we then create our own simulation models to
understand what's likely to be happening to the tire when
it's going around.
Having said that, being a new track, and we only took the
data, as I said, 24 hours after it was laid, you do get
a settling process.
You also risk having all sorts of chemicals coming through
the surface, because when it's first used, you do tend to get
this leeching process.
And combined with we're going to have quite a few support
races there, as well, which is actually good, because it
helps the track settle down.
We could yet have a few surprises, although we try and
limit those, obviously, through experience, of how the
tires are going to perform.
Looks a very interesting layout.
I've spoken to some of the drivers who have actually
driven on it on the simulators, and they say it
looks like it's going to be fascinating.
And they're all looking forward to coming over.
And I guess with the championship so poised, as
well, you've got a lot of people in Milton Keynes, Red
Bull in England, and also in Maranello in Italy working
flat out to try and find the last tenths of seconds to try
and make their driver come through as the world champion.
So a lot of tension.
First race at a new track.
Last, the layout is fascinating.
It's quite a high-energy circuit.
And India is, obviously, the other new circuit we've been
to, which has a similar situation.
The initial data suggests the track is quite smooth.
It has quite low macro.
It's got more abrasion than India and Korea.
But it's still not up there with the more extreme circuits
like Barcelona or Malaysia, for example.
So it'd be interesting to see how that plays out on Friday
when we get there.
But for the moment, there's no big shocks or surprises.
LEO PARENTE: So I guess the real action is really just
down to our boys Alonso versus Vettel.
LEO PARENTE: That's where the championship is left.
IAN WHALEN: I'm kind of disappointed that Kimi
couldn't pull out a few more wins this year.
But these guys are great.
So I'm kind of looking forward to seeing what will happen.
LEO PARENTE: So actually, hold that thought about Kimi,
because if someone is not fighting for the championship,
they've got nothing to lose.
LEO PARENTE: What do you think is going to happen
with these two guys?
And I'm not asking you to make a full-on prediction.
But we've got a situation where 25 points for a win.
Alonso has to stay within that point differential to get to
the last race and be competitive.
If Vettel wins, he has to finish fourth or better.
IAN WHALEN: To stay alive.
LEO PARENTE: Yeah, I'm not going to do the math as I
slide down the grid.
So how do you think Vettel is going to approach it, and how
would you approach it if you were Alonso here?
IAN WHALEN: Well, I have a feeling that we're going to
see Red Bull up front, as they have been lately.
And Alonso, he'll pull everything he can out of that
Ferrari, and he'll probably be in the top three rows
somewhere, I hope.
And he'll probably have to try to catch up to Vettel, or at
least stay in touch with him and enough to
keep his chances alive.
I mean, if he can actually pass Vettel and do better than
him, that would be pretty amazing to watch.
And I really hope that happens, because it will be a
great show.
LEO PARENTE: Well, they've been all over the simulators.
But as Paul Hembery had mentioned, they still don't
really know the surface.
I mean, Pirelli's done their work.
They know what it is.
But the track still seems kind of green.
Plus, they're talking about rain on Friday, which negates
LEO PARENTE: And we've got 20 turns.
We've got an aggressive guy that I'd call a thinker, and
we've got a car that should work great on this track.
But if we're having traction problems, it may turn out to
be a bigger dice roll than we know.
IAN WHALEN: Yeah, I think Alonso is one of those guys
that'll find opportunities.
And this seems like a good chance for him to do that,
because there's a lot of variables here that could play
into his hands, I think.
LEO PARENTE: At the end of the day, it's still all about
managing the tires, isn't it?
PAUL HEMBERY: The driver that's probably impressed all
of us has been Kimi coming back into the sport, bearing
in mind that the tires have changed.
The cars don't have the refueling.
He was coming into a car that now has 150 kilos at the start
of the race, which has a huge impact on the way the car
handles going through a race distance.
He's come back in with the Pirelli Tire Challenge, where
you've got to manage wear, degradation, wheel spin, and
The big issue at the start of the year was probably less
about the tires changing.
It was more about the cars changing dramatically.
They lost the rear diffusers, the top teams.
And the two or three top teams lost what we
call the flexi noses.
They were having a different nose cone with different
flexing ratios for each track.
And that's something the public didn't really see.
And that affected, really, the aero balance.
So some of the top teams had, bizarrely, 20 degrees
temperature difference front to rear, which is something
you never see.
You take those same tires and put them on what was our
Renault test car 2010, and you'd have three or four
degrees difference.
So the car was having a huge impact on the way the tires
were working.
And clearly, 20 degrees difference front to rear made
it seem like there was two different tires on the car.
In terms of the other degradation, you're aiming,
really, for about 1/10 per lap up to 3/10 per lap.
So if it's aggressive, you want a big performance gain,
but you lose 3/10 a lap.
And if you want something conservative, 1/10.
Having said that, the last three races, we've been
working on the hundreds of tenths--
well, to be honest, zero degradation.
The loss of fuel load is compensating the tire
Tires have been going quicker at the end of the stint.
And then we got criticized for being very boring.
So the mid-range is somewhere else.
And we had a lot more criticism for being boring
than we did for being exciting.
Put it that way.
These are the best teams in the world, the best engineers
in the world.
Over a 20-race season, there's no chance involved.
You end up with the best engineers coming through.
And I think from Hungary, which was maybe just over
mid-season, you started to see a pattern developing of where
the teams were.
And when you know the questions certain teams are
asking you, there's no surprise which games were
really getting a handle on maximizing the vehicle and
tire performance.
And I'll give you an example.
One team turned up with a thermal camera looking at the
rear tires.
Within two races, nearly every-- well, every team has a
thermal camera looking at the rear tires.
So that's partly the challenge.
LEO PARENTE: So Ian, when you met with Paul Hembery, pinch
hitting for me-- and I really appreciate it.
IAN WHALEN: No problem.
LEO PARENTE: You had one question
that caught his attention.
IAN WHALEN: Well, I was kind of thinking about how the
bigger teams and the smaller teams might approach their
tire strategy, because the big teams have a lot more tools in
their tool boxes than the smaller teams.
And on each end of the grid, they have different needs.
PAUL HEMBERY: The harder tire we had last year, for example,
needed a lot of energy input to make it work.
And what we had last year was really just McLaren and Red
Bull being able to use that.
So we disadvantaged the vast majority of the grid.
This year, going towards the softer compounds, we've
reduced that impact.
So the aero has been less, let's say, important in
getting the tires working.
Of course, as the season progresses, the top teams have
a rate of development that the smaller teams
can't really follow.
So the gap has been slowly increasing as the
season's gone on.
But it's not really been a huge difference, I would say,
when you're going down through the grid.
It's not quite that simple as it was, maybe, last season.
LEO PARENTE: So Mike Spinelli had a question, trying to get
a sense from Paul Hembery about the long view of tires
and F1 racing.
And Paul grabbed the bull by the horns-- the Red B--
no, forget it.
Just let's run Paul Hembery.
PAUL HEMBERY: If we're able to confirm our presence in
Formula 1 going forward, you will see that we have a
roadmap of innovation and technology going forward that
will be very stimulating.
And road car tires, themselves, are evolving in
different directions.
And I ought to say that we have very different demands
depending on which sector we're working on.
But the type of things I can maybe just throw out, and
being very generic, though, is things like intelligent cyber
tires, where the tire is used as a sensor on the vehicle.
There's going to be a day in motorsport where we start
using those types of technologies to interact,
maybe not even with the car electronics but to provide our
own engineers with operational data of how the product's
operating in a race condition, or even, taking it to an
extreme, providing the public with information about how,
maybe, the tire is working.
So the world will move more and more in that direction.
I mean, we can obviously talk about innovative materials, of
which there are always many coming along in the world of
In terms of tires, there are two elements.
One is in terms of simulation and modeling, which has a big
impact on what we do with our high-performance tires.
I mentioned for 2014, for example, that if we are in the
sport, we will perform the majority of our product
development via simulators.
We will turn up with a tire model and understand how they
perform on the new cars in a virtual sense.
And certainly from a structural point of view, that
works very, very successfully in terms of the tire.
It's more complex when you get to compounding, because it's a
very complex thermal model that relates as well to the
surface that you're working on.
However, in terms of structure and handling performance, you
can get a lot from simulation.
That is the way that the car manufacturers are going.
In the future, Ferraris or McLarens, you will see, will
all be developed via simulators in the future.
So there is a relevant area there where development costs
are reduced.
But also, development times are dramatically reduced by
using simulator technology.
In terms of materials--
thermal management.
In Formula 1, we try and create thermal degradation in
one part of the tire, but there's also a huge amount of
thermal stability and other components used in the tire.
That's a challenge that you also have with
high-performance tires.
You're managing the thermal stability of the tire in
extreme conditions.
So I'm not going to tell you a Formula 1 tire is a direct
cousin to what we put on the high-performance cars of the
world, but there are a huge number of technologies that we
do apply through to that business.
LEO PARENTE: I am going to put you on the spot,
but in an OK way.
Do you think the tires are too much of the
equation right now?
IAN WHALEN: Well, they are a big part of the equation, but
it's a lot different now than it was when we had the tire
battle between Michelin and Bridgestone, where you could
have a great car, but it was all up to the tires
going race to race.
And some tracks suited one tire better or the other.
And it was kind of unpredictable in that way.
You also don't have refueling now.
So yeah, the tires, I think, are a big factor.
And I don't know if I like that or not, but
it is what it is.
LEO PARENTE: So Ian, you want to figure out why I have this
picture up here while we're talking F1?
IAN WHALEN: Well, I think it's some of the other culture of
Austin, right?
LEO PARENTE: You know what, actually, that's Singapore.
But the point is just that the F1 race is going to be bigger
than just the racing itself.
And it's on Austin's shoulders to make this whole trip out
there for all these fans an experience.
So Singapore and all the other F1 venues do a really good job
of having a night life and an experience to the whole thing.
And Austin's kind of known for that.
IAN WHALEN: I've heard that.
I haven't been there, but I've heard that it's kind of like a
little cultural enclave in Texas.
And they have all these festivals, one called South by
Southwest that's kind of an indie music film festival tech
kind of thing.
And they draw a lot of people to that.
And apparently they have good food in Austin.
I've seen an Anthony Bourdain episode about Austin, and it
looked pretty good.
LEO PARENTE: He drank his way through Austin, right?
IAN WHALEN: And ate.
IAN WHALEN: Yeah, it looked like fun.
LEO PARENTE: And Austin's supposed to be almost like not
the typical perception of Texas.
So when all these F1 guys are coming in joking about big
cowboy hats and chasing bulls, it's a different type of town.
I'm not sure it's all hipster or anything, but it's not the
stereotype of downtown Houston or Dallas, right?
IAN WHALEN: Yeah, I think there's a big young population
there, and there's a lot of art stuff going on.
And you have--
LEO PARENTE: "Keep Austin weird."
IAN WHALEN: Yeah, they have that whole thing.
LEO PARENTE: Whatever that is.
IAN WHALEN: I think it might be a little bit of a Portland,
Oregon kind of vibe there.
But again, I haven't been there.
So it's just what I hear.
LEO PARENTE: OK, so not to go negative, but there are a
couple of things that are definitely going to kick in
here to make the experience work.
There is the prices.
I've heard some things.
IAN WHALEN: Yeah, I've heard they're pretty high.
LEO PARENTE: I've heard $7,000 for a motor
coach parking spot.
And then the other thing is access.
And they've been pretty open about the fact that the roads
coming into this place, there's maybe one or two of
them, and they're not superhighways.
And I've heard that they've already set up shuttle kind of
logistics, two shuttle processes.
The locals go one place to get their shuttle bus, and the
visitors go another place, by appointment, to get the
shuttle bus.
But the experience could change if you're
three hours on a bus.
IAN WHALEN: Yeah, and I hope that doesn't happen, because
it'll kind of put a damper on your weekend if you're looking
to get back to your hotel and--
LEO PARENTE: Party bus.
IAN WHALEN: Yeah, get ready for going out that night.
LEO PARENTE: Point is, let's find out what happens when it
really happens before we pass judgment.
Austin is one of those places where, obviously, Leo Hindery
believes GP racing needs to be in New York City.
But this is a major US venue.
It's got technology behind it, industrially.
Toyota has an assembly plant in San Antonio,
kind of down the road.
So even though they're not in F1, it's auto manufacturing.
A lot of assembly plants are down South.
They have hotels with--
I don't even want to comment about that.
Why am I looking at that?
Is that Mike Spinelli visiting the COTA girls?
IAN WHALEN: I think he might have
something to do with that.
LEO PARENTE: That was Mike Spinelli
visiting the COTA girls.
All right.
So let's not do prediction, but let's do this.
What are you looking for to come out of this weekend?
IAN WHALEN: Well, I hope there's close competition at
the front, because if you have Vettel just taking off, and
that's it, then we have kind of a non-existent race, right?
LEO PARENTE: So a close race.
LEO PARENTE: And the place is awesome looking.
I mean, look what $450 million can buy you.
IAN WHALEN: Yeah, and I hope they do well.
And I hope that it looks great on TV and so more people want
to go to the next one.
LEO PARENTE: So we got into this little discussion sidebar
with someone else.
Is this for American racing, or is this an American
statement for global audiences, in your opinion?
IAN WHALEN: Well, I think it's an American statement for
global audiences at this point.
But it could develop.
And I'm still wondering, if you have to pick one North
American race to go to as an F1 fan, would you pick
Montreal, or would you pick Austin?
I mean, they're going to have different flavors, right?
And I've been to Montreal a couple times, and I love it.
And I hate to say it, but I think if I had to spend the
money, I'd still go back to Montreal over this until I see
where this goes or if I have enough money someday to go to
two F1 races in one year.
Might be a little while before that happens.
LEO PARENTE: We're going to do something special for the
Austin F1 race during the race.
And what we want you to do--
and tell me if I get this right, guys--
come back to youtube.com/drive.
And we're going to set up a live chat mechanism.
So during the race--
and what, it's 1:30 Eastern time here in the US?
IAN WHALEN: Something like that.
LEO PARENTE: Something like that.
During the race, we're going to chat.
And not just myself, Ian may be there.
IAN WHALEN: We're going to do a little Google Hangout.
LEO PARENTE: Josh, and if we're good enough, JF, who is
going to the race, maybe he'll be able to kind of give us an
on-the-spot type of thing as well.
IAN WHALEN: That would be great.
So that's the plan, OK?
We do a live chat during the race here at
IAN WHALEN: Yep, Sunday.
Yeah, Sunday.
The F1 race, not the NASCAR race.
LEO PARENTE: But we can talk about
Keselowski if he, you know--
anyway, point is, come here.
You were great.
IAN WHALEN: Yeah, thank you.
LEO PARENTE: Were you comfortable?
IAN WHALEN: Yeah, it was good.
LEO PARENTE: Did you like it?
IAN WHALEN: I had a good time.
LEO PARENTE: You want to sit here?
LEO PARENTE: See you later.

PAUL HEMBERY: Of course, Formula 1 has come and gone in
the US many, many times.
And there's lots of reasons for that.
And there's also a reason that it's maybe not stuck there.
So Formula 1 will have to think about how it approaches
F1 racing and has to learn from what the public enjoy in
the US, in terms of sport.
Can I say Pirelli?
It's not just Pirelli.
It's the sport as a whole that has to look at
all of those elements.
I think the track being in Austin is a good step forward.
It's clearly a very good track.
It's been designed very well.
The drivers who have been on the simulators have described
it as being a very, very interesting track.
So at least the basic infrastructure has been put
in, which has, to some extent, maybe been
lacking in the past.
Of course, building on that, we need to create an event.
And I've been personally able to follow a lot of motorsport
in the US over the years, in either Grand Am or American Le
Mans racing.
And I know the American public has a very different approach
to sports, motorsport, compared to a lot of the other
circuits we visit around the world.
I think one thing that's always struck me is that the
public very much wants an event.
They want an event where it's not simply about just the
race, per se.
It's also about the social aspect.
It's also about having time away with friends and family
and actually having a reason to go away.
And I'm not going to say a holiday, but it's something
where they look forward to on an annual basis.
So if Formula 1 wants to grow in the US, it has to create
You have to create a reason for people going to the track,
and you have to create a good environment, an enjoyable
environment for the people.
We need to entertain the public.
It's just not good enough to turn up with 24 cars, go
racing, pack up and leave.
And that's something that, going forward, as a sport,
we're going to have to do better at.
And I think I have to say that there's a lot of people in the
sport that recognize that.
And going forward, I'm quite sure we'll do a better deal at
bringing in the interest from the American public.