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Survival Guide for Formula 1 at Circuit of the Americas


Are you planning on attending the Formula One Race event in Austin, Texas?  This year the weekend event takes place October 20-22 and it again will prove to be filled with fun and excitement.  In fact this year Circuit of the Americas has some fun new activities for both kids and adults.

In order to maximize your enjoyment at Formula One, here is a list of 11 things you should consider bringing with you, and 5 things you should just leave at home or in your hotel room.   I’ve also included other TIPS for the weekend!  See you there!

What Should I Bring?

  1. An empty or unopened water bottle.  Anything else will NOT be allowed by staff at the gates.  The empty water bottle can be filled at the Water Stations located thoughout the facilty.
  2. Wear closed toe or athletic shoes.  Circuit of the Americas, or COTA is almost 3.4 miles of circuit.  Your parking spot may not be close to the gates so you will need to walk.  Some events are spaced far apart and although there are shuttles, those only take you from one gate to the next.
  3. Bring a hat, cap, or visor and a pair of sunglasses.  Texas is hot and almost always bright and sunny!  All of the Grandstands and Lawn Areas are in the sun.  Only the Main Grandstand will provide some shade.
  4. Do not forget your SUNBLOCK!  It is best to lather it on 30 minutes before arriving at the gates.  I’ve seen many people red as a tomato by the end of the first day!
  5. Mornings may be cooler and it would be smart to not only watch the weather the night before, but also bringing a light jacket will help keep the cool morning air at bay.
  6. A few years ago we had one of our worst rain events in the history of COTA.  It rained just about every single day that year.  That should not happen again; however, I do recommend a foldable poncho, just in case of an unexpected rain.
  7. Dressing in layers will help keep you comfortable all day.
  8. Most people will bring their cell phones, but I’ve heard many say that they cannot get service: therefore, I recommend you bring a set of good old-fashioned Walkie-Talkies with a good range.  This is especially helpful if you and your family plan on going in diferent directions while at COTA.
  9. One of the most beneficial thing you can bring is a clear pocket lanyard.  Some ticket holders will get theirs with their ticket, but most will not.  Ushers will expect to check your ticket just about everywhere you go.  Having the ticket in the clear pocket will be easy for you to keep up with and  eliminate the need to dig into your pockets to search for the ticket every time you go to your seat!
  10.  Bring a light-weight lawn chair.  If you are a GA (general admission) ticket holder you will be allowed to sit anywhere there a lawn space availble.  It’s a great option since you can always get up move to another Turn when you get tired of the one you’ve been watching.
  11. A backpack or a crossbody bag that will hold everyone’s things is better than bringing many small bags and purses.  All bags will be searched so having just one bag will help at entry also.

This gentleman is there every year! Look for him!

What Should I Leave At Home?

  1. Purses that are heavy or too fancy
  2.  Large umbrellas are not allowed in the Grandstands because they obstruct the view of those behind you.  See #3 above.
  3. Shoes with heels or platform shoes.  Although they are fashionable, they are not functional for this event.  See #2 above.
  4. Bags filled with snack foods or drinks are NOT allowed inside the facitily.  You will be asked to leave them at the gate or to return them to your vehicle (I promise you will not want to have to do that).  The only drink allowed is water.  See # 1 above.
  5. Ice chests are also not allowed.  🏁See TIPS below.

The COTA Tower

Other TIPS?

  1. Consider leaving an ice chest filled with ice, drinks and snacks in your car.  Based on where you are parked you can take a shuttle back to your vehicle for a lunch break.
  2. Food prices range anywhere from $8 to $15.  Drinks range from $5 (soda) to $16 (alchoholic)
  3. Many people make most of their souvenier purchases on Friday, leaving Saturday and Sunday open to just view the qualifying races and enjoy the activities.
  4. Be sure to pick up a daily event schedule at the Guest Services tent near the gates.  This will help you plan out your day’s events.
  5. Autograph sessions fill up FAST!  Be sure to get in line early if you want an autograph from your favorite driver.
  6. The big concerts–Stevie Wonder and Justin Timberlake will be on the Big Stage.  Unless you have a specific ticket all others will be on a first come first serve basis.  Be sure to get in line early.
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