Austin + F1 Roundup 2

12/15/2011: You can stop pinching yourself, because it’s true: the US Grand Prix of 2012 is scheduled for November 18th. Tickets aren’t for sale just yet, but you certainly can get a hotel. The Austin area has the bulk of hotel rooms for this F1 race, but there are plenty of other options – see our list of hotels around the track.

Aside from the big F1 news, we’ve collected some other stories of interest this week:

  • Want to take a lap around the Circuit of the Americas? Only a few people have driven on this under-construction circuit, but you can get an idea of the turns and elevation in this driving simulation:
  • On the heels of the US F1 race being confirmed are plenty of opinions about race promotion and marketing. Formula One is hugely popular in Europe, where it has a continuous, decades-long history. This and many other reasons are why the US hasn’t embraced the sport. Here we have thoughts and advice from a few people who truly know F1:
    • - Red Bull team driver Mark Webber has high hopes for our Texas race circuit. He says the US track looks “sensational,” but that F1 needs to work “a bit harder on education with a new audience … this is the best chance Formula One has ever had of doing a good job over there.”
    • - Team Principal of the new Caterham F1 Team, Tony Fernandes, says that “Touching and feeling the sport is important. And we have to get away from the idea that F1 is a once-a-year thing that then goes away. It can’t just be about that. There needs to be bigger, wider promotion of the event, more coverage around the event, more TV programming from behind the scenes, as well as more journalists engaging with the event and more television promoting the rest of the season.”
    • - Finally, Team Principal of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, Martin Whitmarsh, has a plenty of tips for taking hold of the American fan base. Watch his interview with Peter Windsor here.

    realronhoward rush pictures

    • Film director Ron Howard has been tweeting a lot of on-location photos for his new F1 film, “Rush.” The story is about the 1970′s rivalry between racers Niki Lauda and James Hunt. “Rush” is written by Peter Morgan, and will star Daniel Bruhl (Lauda) and Chris Hemsworth (Hunt).

“I wasn’t a die-hard Formula One fan before I read Peter’s script, but I’ve been immersing myself in this world. I think the excitement I feel as a fresh convert may be infectious.”

- Ron Howard

Howard says he’s been visiting F1 tracks, attending F1 races, meeting with luminaries such as Lauda himself, and has watched the Senna documentary seven times in preparation for the film. Filming for Rush, which is being independently financed outside the Hollywood studio system, starts in February. It should hit theaters sometime during the winter of 2012. -Inside Line

Austin Convention Race Hotel JW Marriott 5

  • Austin’s future is full of shiny new hotels. One in particular is the newly-upgraded JW Marriott. a brand which prides itself on “simple elegance” instead of “excess formality.” Until recently, this 1,003-room project was going to open as a Marriott Marquis, but developer White Lodging has announced that Austin will be receiving this elite mark instead. This 30-story convention center hotel is scheduled to break ground on June 1, and should open in January of 2015.
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