When the average American is asked what Formula One is, the general response is something along the lines of…” Yeah. Fast, strange looking cars that run in the Indy 500 right?” Wrong. “Ok, what makes it different?” “Just trust me. Come and Race it.”
And that is exactly what America did this past weekend.
After five long years, the United States finally had its Grand Prix back. But it was not without hardship. For many months over the last two years, it seemed like the dream would be ripped out from under us….again. But in the end, a passionate group of people stood up against those that didn’t believe, and didn’t want to believe, and built us an AMAZING race track which hosted what appeared to be the perfect Grand Prix weekend.
Working my first Grand Prix weekend as a photographer, I could not have asked for a better atmosphere, or a better race. Yes, of course there were kinks in the silky cloth. But at the end of the day, the energy both in the paddock and in the completely sold out grandstands was something that cannot be manufactured or faked. Everyone, from the drivers, to the mechanics (except for one angry looking man who guarded the Lotus F1 team garage), team managers, photographers, journalists and trackside staff all had a smile on their faces, all weekend long. Everyone felt like F1 had finally come to a place it really needed to be.
Mario Andretti, the last American F1 World Champion said it best, and I completely agree…..”Welcome home, Formula One.”