US Grand Prix vs. Miami: How Miami's luxe first race compares to Austin's festival-esque F1 experience
With an estimated 300,000 expected to pour into Miami for the freshly-minted Miami Grand Prix race this weekend, Austin's Circuit of the Americas will no longer be the only F1 race in the States.
COTA, which was the U.S.'s sole F1 headquarters for a decade, has new competition in Miami as the fellow up-and-coming tech hub gears up for the inaugural Grand Prix at Hard Rock Stadium May 6-8.
Here's a side-by-side comparison of the two Grand Prixs:
While Austin's track is still the only permanent purpose-built F1 track in the United States, Miami's temporary track has also been custom-made for Formula 1's open-wheel racecars.
Here's a look at the two tracks:
Circuit of the AmericasNew amusement park to bring rollercoasters to COTA
- Built on an 890 acre-plot in southeast Austin
- 20 turns
- 3.41 miles
- Holds a weekend attendance record of ~400,000
Miami International Autodrome
- Built around the Miami Dolphins' Hard Rock Stadium
- 19 turns
- 3.36 miles
- More than 300,000 are anticipated for the first Miami Grand Prix
While F1 is known for its popularity among the wealthy, Austin's brand of F1 has become the people's F1 race. General admission tickets for each of the first two race days, which include preliminary races, entertainment and more, are on sale for as low as $59, while tickets to the Sunday U.S. Grand Prix are yet to go on sale. Single-day Sunday tickets started at $210 in 2021, while sold-out 3-day grandstand tickets started at $724 for the 2022 race.
Miami, however has embraced the luxury appeal of the global racing sport. Raceday tickets are averaging at $2,179, three times more expensive than Austin's 2021 race, according to SeatGeek. Some immersive packages are being resold for upwards of $25,000, while the lowest Friday ticket is selling for around $100.
The rest of Miami is bracing for the surge of wealthy ticketholders, with spending expected to exceed the 2020 Super Bowl's $571.9 million in revenue. Price tags over $100,000 are dotting the city over the weekend, with some hotel suites and exclusive nightclub tables priced at six figures each.
“This is going to be the biggest week in Miami history,” Jeff Zalaznick, managing partner of Major Food Group, told NBC. “It’s going to be a very hedonistic experience.”
Meanwhile, COTA claims it brings in almost $1 billion each year as hundreds of thousands file into Austin for one of the city's biggest travel weekends of the year.
While on the throne as the U.S's sole F1 experience, COTA has sought to bring a festival-like atmosphere to each USGP. Every year, celebrities from Megan Thee Stallion to Ben Stiller and Gordon Ramsay dot the Austin event, while famous performers including Billy Joel, Shaquille O'Neal and Twenty One Pilots took to the stage at last year's race.
The 2022 event will feature Ed Sheeran as its headliner, with more announcements to come. And if it's anything like last year, the event will come packed with dozens of local food venues, musical guests, and amusement park-style entertainment from the Major League Eating Championship to stilt walkers and on-site tattoo artists.
"Austin is such a great host city, and an absolute highlight of the sport’s global tour," COTA Chairman Bobby Epstein told Austonia. "With the campgrounds, the entertainment, and the themed villages, the grand prix at COTA takes on an unrivaled atmosphere. The COTA experience is much more like that of a historic, traditional Formula 1 track."
Among others, Miami's race is expected to host celebritiesLeBron James, David Beckham, Michael Jordan and Serena Williams, who attended the 2021 USGP. The event will also last for three days and include local food, music and entertainment, including a Miami-style beach club zone with poolside views of the race in the center of the track. And just like the hoity-toity Monaco F1 race, the luxe Miami GP will include a "Yacht Club"—one that the landlocked venue has created entirely from scratch with a faux marina and about a dozen dry-docked yachts.
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Flyers are less satisfied with the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport than a year ago, a new study shows.
Research firm J.D. Power placed ABIA at No. 15 on a list ranking overall customer satisfaction at large airports, a slip from last year’s spot at No. 7. Other Texas airports secured rankings ahead of Austin, with Dallas Love Field at third, Houston Hobby at eight, and San Antonio International Airport at ninth.
Dallas/Ft. Worth ranked eight in the "mega airport" category.
The study examined airports based on the following factors: terminal facilities; airport arrival/departure; baggage claim; security check; check-in/baggage check; and food, beverage and retail.
On a 1,000-point scale, Austin-Bergstrom received 785 points this year compared to its score of 819 in 2021.
Passenger experiences at Austin-Bergstrom have been influenced by population growth in Central Texas, which has brought record traffic and longer wait times at TSA. And a recent power outage at Austin-Bergstrom caused flight delays. Michael Taylor, travel intelligence lead at J.D. Power., said that consumer satisfaction with flying has decreased overall.
“The combination of pent-up demand for air travel, the nationwide labor shortage and steadily rising prices on everything from jet fuel to a bottle of water have created a scenario in which airports are extremely crowded and passengers are increasingly frustrated—and it is likely to continue through 2023,” Taylor said.
Bailey Grimmett, a spokesperson for ABIA, commented on the ranking.
“We're grateful that AUS customers continue to rank our airport above average, especially during this year that saw air travel disruption here in Austin and across the globe as airports, airlines and the air travel industry continued navigating the impacts of the pandemic,” Grimmett said. “We look forward to delivering near-term and long-term improvements through our Journey With AUS program to improve the passenger experience.”
That program is slated to bring a new midfield concourse to increase gates and connect to the Barbara Jordan Terminal through an underground connector tunnel.
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By Jonathan Lee
The Planning Commission was split Tuesday on whether to help save an eclectic lakefront estate from demolition by zoning it historic amid concerns over tax breaks and the likelihood that a previous owner participated in segregation as a business owner.
The property in question, known as the Delisle House, is located at 2002 Scenic Drive in Tarrytown. The main house, with Spanish and Modern influences, was built in 1923 by Raymond Delisle, an optician. A Gothic Revival accessory apartment was built in 1946. The current owner applied to demolish the structures in order to build a new home.'
Historic preservationists, for their part, overwhelmingly support historic zoning, which would preserve the buildings in perpetuity. The Historic Landmark Commission unanimously voted to initiate historic zoning in July, citing architectural significance, landscape features and association to historic figures. City staffers recommend historic zoning, calling both structures one-of-a-kind examples of vernacular architecture.
Tarrytown neighbors have also banded together to stop the demolition. Many have written letters, and a few spoke at the meeting. “How could anyone buy this property with the intent of destroying it?” Ila Falvey said. “I think it’s an architectural treasure.”
Michael Whellan, an attorney representing the property owner, said that the claims made by preservationists are shaky. The buildings are run down, he said, and have had substantial renovations. A structural engineer hired by the owner said any attempt at preservation would involve tearing down and rebuilding – an undertaking Whellan said would likely cost millions.
Whellan also argued that any historical significance derived from the property’s association with Delisle and longtime owner C.H. Slator is dubious. “These men are not noted for any civic, philanthropic or historic impact,” he said.
What’s more, according to Whellan, Slator likely participated in segregation as the owner of the Tavern on North Lamar Boulevard between 1953 and 1960.
A city staffer, however, said she found no evidence to support the claim. “We would never landmark a property where a segregationist lived, or there was a racist person,” Kimberly Collins with the Historic Preservation Office said.
Commissioner Awais Azhar couldn’t support historic zoning in part due to lingering uncertainty about Slator. “Focusing on that factor is not here to disparage an individual or family. It is not about playing the race card. This is an important assertion for us to consider as Planning commissioners,” Azhar said.
Commissioner Carmen Llanes Pulido said that allegations of racism should come as no surprise. “We’re talking about white male property owners in the 1950s, in Austin, on the west side – and of course they were racist,” she said. But she argued that allowing the house to be demolished based on these grounds does nothing to help people of color who have been harmed by racism and segregation.
The question of tax breaks was also controversial. Michael Gaudini, representing the property owner, said that the tax breaks associated with historic zoning would exacerbate inequality by shifting property tax burdens to less affluent communities. City staffers estimate that the property, appraised at $3.5 million, would get either a $8,500 or $16,107 property tax break annually, depending on whether a homestead exemption is applied.
Commissioner Grayson Cox preferred the commission focus not on tax breaks but on whether the structures merit preservation. “To me, nothing in the historic preservation criteria lists, is this person deserving of a tax break or not?”
Azhar, on the other hand, said he plans to propose a code amendment getting rid of city property tax breaks for historic properties.
The commission fell one vote short of recommending historic zoning, with six commissioners in support and three opposed. Azhar and commissioners Claire Hempel and Greg Anderson voted against.
The odds of City Council zoning over an owner’s wishes are slim. Nine out of 11 members must vote in favor, and there have only been a handful of such cases over the past several decades.