A new Netflix series, storied rivalries and nearly two years of no F1 have driven the sport to exponential success this year in the United States. That extra excitement will be on full display at this weekend's U.S. Grand Prix at Austin's Circuit of the Americas, an international spectacle that COTA chairman Bobby Epstein says will be the "biggest event on the planet this year."
Fans new and old are gearing up for the race as they prep for a packed arena filled with up to 350,000 F1 fans.
A California native, Kevin Andrew has aways been near a racetrack—growing up, it was the Long Beach Grand Prix, and now Andrews lives down the road from Austin in San Antonio.
Andrew shares his passion for racing with his two daughters. (Kevin Andrew)
A longtime F1 fan, Andrew said that the race is a chance to showcase Austin to the world as international visitors mix and mingle at the venue.
"I don't know how many people are coming into Austin internationally, but there's going to be a lot of variety," Andrew said. "It's a win for Austin... it's kind of their time to shine, and for that brief moment of the weekend, the sporting world is kind of focused on you."
Andrew, who calls the Grand Prix a sort of "World's Fair," is bringing more than sunscreen or a folding chair to the race—he'll be joined by 18 other friends from around the United States for the weekend-long party.
"It's huge," Andrew said. "Having it close to home is really big. It allows me to get a little bit more into it knowing that I'm going to see a race every year, (and) it's a good excuse to get a lot of people together."
While Andrew has been going to races for as long as he can remember, Florida resident Tracy Fives is a newer fan.
Florida native Tracy Fives is attending her first Grand Prix after becoming an F1 fan during the pandemic. (Tracy Fives)
F1 became Fives' pandemic passion as she watched Netflix's "Drive to Survive," an immensely popular documentary series that takes fans through the backstories of each driver.
"One thing the series did for me is that a lot of the drivers are young, they've all come up together and now they're going to hit their stride," Fives said. "I feel like I'm getting in on a sort of rebirth of the sport."
Fives has been hooked ever since, even attending a preview event at the new Miami Grand Prix track scheduled to open in 2022.
"My friend actually went to Monaco right before COVID, and I was like, 'yeah, that's great, but I couldn't imagine spending money to go to a race,'" Fives said. "So we kind of laugh about that now as we're going to Miami together."
That rebirth has been reflected in the ratings. With an average of 946,000 viewers per race on ESPN, this season is up 41% from 2019 and up 56% from a pandemic-addled 2020 season.
Katerina Lachinova, who will be traveling to the race from Virginia with her boyfriend, said that the new craze is also fueled by fans' excitement to attend a large event after bans on travel during the pandemic.
Katerina Lachinova will be attending her second U.S. Grand Prix to cheer on Lewis Hamilton. (Katerina Lachinova)
"There's definitely huge excitement just to be in a place face to face, to be able to see things in real life," Lachinova said. "I just love the whole thing, it feels like the Olympic Games. You meet people from all over the world."
And adding even more fuel to the F1 fire is a historic neck-and-neck rivalry that hasn't been seen in years. Even as the season nears its end, two contenders—36-year-old reigning champ Lewis Hamilton and a young Max Verstappen—are still very much in the running for the championship trophy.
Verstappen 🆚 Hamilton
A Texan showdown we've seen before... 👀#USGP 🇺🇸 #F1pic.twitter.com/U5Rs5ml5vq
— Formula 1 (@F1) October 21, 2021
The rivalry has fans divided and more plugged in than ever. Lachinova and her boyfriend are Hamilton fans, and they hope to see him win just as he did at their last COTA race in 2015.
Andrews, meanwhile, is in a split household—his daughters are Hamilton fans, his wife is a fan of Carlos Sainz and he usually roots for McLaren Mercedes' Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. And Fives supports all of them—though she tends to be a McLaren gal as well, she thinks Verstappen's got the best odds at winning.
But all of them, especially Andrew, are all just looking for "a good race" after two years without.
Know before you go:
- Could the US Grand Prix 'F1 be done with Austin's COTA? - austonia ›
- Formula 1 announces Miami Grand Prix, COTA no longer only U.S. ... ›
- Formula 1 in Austin: A complete guide to the 'biggest event on the ... ›
- F1 at COTA: Verstappen grabs pole position for Sunday's race at gloomy Grand Prix Qualifiers - austonia ›
- LIVE: It's a Verstappen vs. Hamilton battle at F1's U.S. Grand Prix - austonia ›
- F1 at COTA: Verstappen wins first U.S. Grand Prix! - austonia ›
- Austin's COTA sees biggest race ever as Formula 1 tightens grip on U.S. market - austonia ›
- 2022 U.S. Grand Prix tickets go on sale, but no peep yet from COTA officials - austonia ›
- Oracle buys title rights for F1's Red Bull Racing - austonia ›
- F1 tickets at Circuit of the Americas go on sale March 16 - austonia ›
So you want to buy a house?
To anyone trying to get on the "housing ladder," it's been a discouraging couple of years as prices skyrocketed in a market crowded with buyers bidding against each other for just about any available home.
Things may be calming down, with the Austin Board of REALTORS reporting fewer sales and more available homes this summer.
Mortgage rates have more than doubled in the last year, from around 3% to well over 6% on a 30-year fixed rate loan, getting even more of a bump this week after the Federal Reserve raised bank rates on Wednesday.
So how affordable are homes right now? That, of course, depends on what you want and how much you're able or willing to pay, but here are some rough estimates of what a typical buyer would pay to buy a $650,000 home, which would be considered "mid-price" in today's market.
Mortgage banker Chris Holland (NMLS 211033) of Austin's Sente Mortgage ran some numbers for Austonia to illustrate a typical purchase.
Holland says that while the 30-year fixed rate mortgage is often mentioned in the media, the most popular loan that he's seeing now is a 7/1 adjustable rate mortgage, which has a fixed rate for 7 years and then adjusts every year based on market rates, with a limit on how much it can increase each year. The interest is amortized over a 30-year period. Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARMs) offer lower rates than fixed rate loans.
Here are the numbers, which are examples. In practice, exact numbers vary with a buyer's credit rating and overall financial situation, and with the rate, which can move up or down at any time.
- $650,000 home purchase price
- 7/1 ARM at 5.875%
- 5% down payment, equals $32,500
- 95% financed, equals $617,500
- $4,990 payment, including principle and interest (P&I), insurance, and property tax
- Typically, a borrower's debt to income ratio needs to be at or below 45%. So for this mortgage, a borrower, or borrowers, would need income of roughly $11,100/month, or $133,200/year. That number could be higher, depending on the buyer's outstanding credit balances on things like credit cards and car loans.
Holland says he's had a lot of clients approved for loans who were house hunting but have put that on hold, hoping prices come down.
Camp Fimfo Waco, a brand new camping resort, is kicking off football and fall camping season in style! With top-notch amenities, premium accommodations, and 10 weekends of fall fun, there’s no better place to have a fall camping getaway, especially if you’re a Baylor football fan!
Fall promises to be a one-of-a-kind camping experience. From Sept. 16 to Nov. 24, weekends will be packed with fall-themed activities, including special Halloween weekends in October. Campers can enjoy activities like fall crafts, campground trick-or-treating, costume contests, site decorating, outdoor movie nights, and more!
Packages and Ways to Stay
Camp Fimfo Waco
Located just 5 miles from McLane Stadium, Camp Fimfo Waco is the perfect place to stay during home game weekends. Skip the stuffy hotel room and embrace the great outdoors before cheering on the Baylor Bears! Campers can purchase a Baylor Tailgating Package that includes a pre-game meal from Executive Chef Sean Kelley and transportation to and from the game! Chef Kelley will also be cooking up delicious, elevated tailgating meals near the stadium so make sure to check out The Plaid Plate food truck before the game.
Stay in style and comfort, no matter your camping preference! At Camp Fimfo Waco, there are multiple ways to stay. Red Carpet RV sites come with a concrete pad and patio, full hook-ups, cable hook-up, a charcoal grill, fire ring and fire pit. Back-in or pull-thru options are available, as well as coveted spots tucked along the Bosque River!
Don’t have an RV? Not a problem, Camp Fimfo Waco has cabins too! Book a Riverview Firewheel Cabin if you’re looking for an air-conditioned oasis for the whole family. Complete with a kitchen and private bathroom, this cabin can fit up to 10 people. Elevate your stay by adding on a golf cart or snag a private cabana by the pool for guaranteed shade. With wifi available throughout the park, you can stay connected during your stay!
Amenities and Activities
Camp Fimfo Waco
Camp Fimfo Waco features lots of amenities to fill your days with fun, whether you’re a kid or kid at heart. After challenging your friends to a game of pickleball, basketball, or mini golf, go for a dip in the resort-style, heated pool - open daily through October! Stay on the weekends through October to enjoy the interactive splash playground. With plenty of ways to burn off energy, like the jumping pillow or playground, you can be sure to end the day with a peaceful night around the campfire!
Right now, you can get the fourth night FREE when you book three nights with the promo code BONUS! Check out the Offers page for full details and more promo codes!