A Dummy’s Guide to Formula 1 in Austin



The Turn 12 grand stands.  Yes, that’s a huge row of porta potties.


Looking through the bleachers, it reminded me of the Death Star.  Oh yeah, George Lucas was at the race.
Lot ‘F’ as seen from Turn 12.


The view from the top of the Turn 12 stands overlooking turns 12-16; Turn 12 was at the end of the 3/4 mile long straight which also had the DRS zone.  Therefore, a lot of passing occurred in this turn.  Turn 1 on the big hill is visible in the background and you could see the cars going down the hill.


Speaking of passing, the cars were doing over 310 km/h going into Turn 12 and slowed down to about 75 km/h.  They would scrub off that speed in less than 100 meters!  I’d watch the cars coming down the straight at full bore thinking there’s no way they’d be able to stop in time.  But they wouldn’t hit the brakes until after the 100 meter brake marker and somehow make the turn.  Every time. Un-freaking-real.  I was watching the onboard telemetry for Turn 12 and the cars were coming down the straight with a top speed around 310km/h and taking the corner at about 75km/h in a braking distance of roughly 85 meters.  Using the basic physics equations above (‘r’ is distance in meters, ‘v’ is velocity in meters/second, and ‘a’ is acceleration meters/second squared), the cars were experiencing an AVERAGE deceleration force of about 4.2Gs!  However, a large part of the braking force for a F1 car is from aero drag which is greater at higher speeds.  According to the commentators, the Brembo engineers were saying the cars were hitting a PEAK deceleration of 6Gs requiring a pedal force of 350lbs!  First, I’m not sure how the drivers keep their eyeballs in their heads and secondly, trying to leg press 350lbs with one leg is no joke.  Yes, the drivers are serious athletes.


Looking to the left, you can see the cars making their way through the tail end of the esses and into Turn 9.


To better enjoy the action and stay informed of what’s going on, rent one of these Fan Vision devices.  It can show live-streaming on-board from any of the F1 cars along with segment times, lap times, etc.  You can also do instant replay on it!  Plus, you can listen to the race commentary.  I think the pre-order rental for the three days was only $70 while getting it on-site was $100.  Interesting stat: at most F1 races they only rent out about 4000 of these things on average with Silverstone having had the highest at 7000.  Well, Austin is full of techno-geeks, and 9000-10000 Fan Visions were rented taking the whole supply.


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