F1 Business Diary 2015: the US Grand Prix

A thrilling race capped a weekend hampered by Hurricane Patricia and a haphazard approach to managing a rather wet situation by the Texan Circuit of the Americas (COTA) organisers.

A thrilling race capped a weekend hampered by Hurricane Patricia and a haphazard approach to managing a rather wet situation by the Texan Circuit of the Americas (COTA) organisers. 

The Austin-American Statesman put it in local terms: 'The rollicking nature of Sunday’s race with spin-outs and lead changes and the raw emotions of the winner combined to make the event one of the most aesthetically successful in COTA’s brief history. There was much more passing than in a Texas football game.' Ultimately, though, another Mercedes one-two saw Lewis Hamilton's third driver's championship added to the team's constructor's championship, and with three races still to come in 2015 there is very little to race for. And as Sir Elton John brought the curtain down with brief but accomplished interviews on the podium in Texas, it looks like it's goodbye Yellow Brick Road for another year.

Hamilton's achievement is nothing to be scoffed at. The 30-year-old has driven supremely all season and becomes only the tenth man and the second Briton to win three Formula One world championships. The pressure will be on Formula One's organisers to maintain the tension for the duration of the season, especially if they are to insist on another expansion to 21 dates in the calendar next year. 

Of the three remaining 2015 races, Mexico should be sustained by its novelty factor, but the Brazilian and Abu Dhabi organisers can feel hard done by. The season-ending spots are sought after ones, and you can rest assured that FOM chief Bernie Ecclestone charges a premium for them. The lights of the Yas Marina circuit can put a sheen of glitz on a lot of things, but a dead rubber is not among them.

I guess that's why they call it the blues.

Blow me down

The winds and rains of Hurricane Patricia, a threat to next week's returning Mexican Grand Prix too, caused havoc at the Circuit of the Americas. In the end, both qualifying and the race itself took place in captivating neither-here-nor-there weather conditions on the Sunday. Conditions were so poor earlier in the race weekend that very little on-track action could even be contemplated on the Friday or Saturday. Credit to the organisers, therefore, when they found break enough in the weather to put on a cobbled-together practice session on Friday afternoon to give the fans a show. Credit withdrawn for failing to let those fans into the grandstands.

Own the airwaves

The weather was so bad on Saturday that even the most uninformed of observers could have seen that any kind of qualification session was a non-starter from the outset. But a session is never cancelled until the fat lady sings, and Formula One cannily kept her mute for long enough to guarantee that a live three-hour Formula One chit-chat show had been disseminated across the global television schedules. Perhaps it was the same savviness that saw COTA register an attendance of 101,667 for Sunday, and 224,011 across the three days – figures The Austin-American Statesman called ‘gaudy’ and ‘clearly embellished.’ 

The Bayliff comes calling

With Red Bull Racing's future still uncertain, Australian driver Daniel Ricciardo may well be looking for a new seat next year. If he is, he'll be doing it with one of the smartest young agents in his corner. Having announced last week that he has signed with the London-based Areté agency, Ricciardo is now represented by Simon Bayliff, the former Wasserman agent who has masterminded Mark Cavendish's commercial endeavours in cycling.


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