2014 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX: Road Racing Returns to Austin

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British driver Lewis Hamilton is speeding toward a second FIA Formula One World Championship™ as the attention of the road racing world shifts to Austin, Texas, in early November for the 2014 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX—a full weekend of racing that will include everything from a Texas saloon village to a Kid Rock concert.

Can Hamilton hold off his Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg, his closest rival in the chase for the F1™ championship?

Austin has hosted the Grand Prix™ since 2012 on a track called the Circuit of the Americas, which is the first track in the nation to be built specifically for Grand Prix racing.

This year’s race—touted as “How the West Was Formula 1”—will mark the 44th installment of a race whose roots stretch back more than a century.

History of the UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX

Road races have taken place in the United States intermittently since 1908. The nation’s interest in racing on road courses has fluctuated over the years, with oval racing competing for fans’ attention.

The earliest incarnation of championship road racing in the United States was known as The Grand Prize, an era of competition between American and European drivers that ended in 1916, due to European participation in World War I and America’s growing interest in oval racing.

Although oval racing became wildly popular, the famous Indianapolis 500 race maintained America’s connection to European racing—running to Grand Prix™ standards between 1923 and 1930, and from 1938 to 1953.

Formula 1™ debuted in the United States in 1959 with the inaugural United States Grand Prix™ at Sebring International Raceway in central Florida. The race moved to Riverside, California in 1960, and then to Watkins Glen in 1961—where it would stay for the next 20 years.

Then came an era of competing races with Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Dallas, and Detroit, all hosting at least one race. Phoenix hosted the Grand Prix™ from 1989 to 1991, although the race proved unpopular with drivers and fans.

After a decade’s absence, the Grand Prix™ moved to Indianapolis in 2000 with a race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, long-time home of the Indianapolis 500. Eight Grand Prix™ events were held on the legendary Indianapolis track, with drivers racing clockwise—the opposite direction of oval events.

Formula 1™ and the IMS announced they could not come to terms for continuing the event, and other cities expressed interest in hosting the Grand Prix™. Austin was awarded a 10-year contract beginning in 2012, and the first two races there have been promising. Race fans will have more than the Grand Prix™ to look forward to over those 10 years, as Austin has a rich history of music, food, and many other attractions for visitors.

Austin: The Live Music Capital

Austin is the 11th-most populous city in the United States and fourth most-populous in the state of Texas (behind Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio). It’s the capital of Texas and home to the University of Texas, a popular university with an inviting campus.

Known as a technology hotbed, Austin has an independent spirit all its own. Promoted as “The Live Music Capital of the World,” the city has a thriving music scene epitomized by the Austin City Limits live music program that’s been running on America’s Public Broadcasting System (PBS) since 1974. Austin has heavily influenced the careers of musicians ranging from country legend Willie Nelson to the late blues guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Foodies love Austin because you can find just about any sort of eatery your heart desires -- from mouth-watering barbecue to Tex-Mex to fine dining. Austinites are passionate about craft beer, so there’s no shortage of local brews to try as well.

Sightseeing options in Austin range from an award-winning ghost tour to a helicopter tour that takes you above the F1™ race track.

Your Definitive Guide to the 2014 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX 

Download our definitive guide to this year’s race to learn more about Austin sightseeing and enhance your Grand Prix™ experience. This free guide will give you:

  • Austin’s top attractions (music, food and more)
  • The best ways to get around Austin
  • Travel resources for your visit to the U.S.
  • Circuit of the Americas insights
  • More history of the UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX
  • Insights into all F1™ drivers and teams

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