Austin Mayor Lee Leffingwell, City Manager Marc Ott and Police Chief Art Acevedo are just some of the Texans at Silverstone this weekend for the British Grand Prix. Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr had to cancel her trip due to fire danger in Central Texas with our lack of rain and 100' F+ temperatures (typical Texas summer).
The purpose of this trip is for city officials to start to understand the magnitude of a Formula 1 weekend in person. As the Statesman reported last week, representatives at Silverstone will meet with their Austin counterparts in the track's nearby county of Northamptonshire. "Silverstone is similar to the F1 track near Elroy, as both are permanent tracks in somewhat rural areas," said COTA spokeswoman Julie Loignon.
Before he boarded his flight, here is what Chief Acevedo had to say:
On my way to ABIA for London fact finding mission. Look forward to the learning, and hope to bring back some solid lessons learned.
Austin's YNN reporters Russell Wilde and Jeff Stensland are also in England, and took some time to speak with Chief Acevedo after his first day at Silverstone. The 24-hour news channel is the only local Austin news crew in attendance this weekend, gaining valuable first-hand knowledge to share with Austin upon their return. Chief Acevedo shared his thoughts with YNN about the scale of the event:
You can't truly appreciate or grasp the complexity and the monstrosity that this event is going to be for Austin. It's going to be something we've never experienced.
Kudos to Police Chief Art Acevedo who is tweeting up a storm! Pun intended, as Silverstone is getting dumped on by non-stop rain which greatly affected this morning's practice 3 and qualifying sessions. Hey gang - bring back some rain for us, deal?
From his Twitter account, Chief Acevedo is giving his followers a feel for what is to be expected during an F1 weekend. Check out these highlights in conjunction with his photos above.
F-1 traffic is really bad. Today venue only has practice races and the roads in the area are dead stopped. Contra flow will be used in ATX.
Police operations are up and running.
Lot of folks are bringing camper trailers out here in the Silverstone Area.
Lots of rain in Great Britain. Flood warnings issues throughout the county.
My thanks go out to the British Government for their assistance with logistics today.
Just finished nearly 30 hour work day. Getting a bite to eat and get some down time. Good first day discussions with British Officials.
On the road for day two of fact finding mission. Forecast calls for more rain. Slept like a log.
Traffic challenges have been a huge eye opener.
Traffic nightmare started early today. Contra flow is being used tomorrow. Flexibility of operation will be critical.
Traffic lines start early and last all day.
F1 traffic backed up early on qualifying day. No Law Enforcement in sight along traffic route. 80,000 folks expected.
Significant number of attendees are using bicycles as mode of transportation.
F1 traffic on way in to venue is one lane most of the way in. Lots of folks in foot. Extensive use of double decker buses in/around venue.
Inside F1 venue at Silverstone. Cool day with heavy menacing cloud cover.
Double decker buses at F1 being used extensively. (See photo above)
Mobile police and EMS command posts on site.
EMS First Aid station. (See photo above)
Steady flow of helicopters constantly shuttling folks in. With close vicinity of ABIA ATC should plan on extra staff.
Heavy rain on and off here wrecking havoc.
Made it to the event site this morning. Sorry couldn't tweet with the heavy rain and large crowds cell coverage poor.
Mobile police station inside venue. Public safety highly visible presence.
Mobile first aid station inside. Significant EMS presence throughout venue. Hundreds of medical incidents during event.
Received a lot of good information from local officers. Rain related frustration at camp sites were problematic.
Mobile field hospital inside venue. Receives extensive briefing. Issues range from headaches to cardiac arrest.
Plenty of EMS coverage as [seen] below. (See photo above)
[Medical] evacuation copter on site at all times. ATX will have contact with Star Flight.
Inside Command post. We will have EOC at CTECC, DOC at APD and CP at Formula 1 activated.
We can't go on without fuel. Local cod fish and chips. Pretty good stuff. Wish my 4 year old was here to eat my peas! (See photo above)
Overall very good information gathered today. The interaction with local public safety personnel was very informative.
We have meetings set up with local government officials tomorrow. Looking forward to coming home. Missing ATX!
Great to travel with a Mayor and CM who ask questions that are relevant and on point. Observations lead to talk about application to ATX.
security appears to be tight and effective.
Rain has finally taken a time out after heavy down pours.
Interesting to see 43,000 folks camping at sites around F1 venue. ATX will not offer option at site this year but will as early as 2013.
// TV Coverage
Just a reminder that the British Grand Prix will be broadcast at 11AM Central on your local FOX channel tomorrow. The pre-race and post-race show will be on SPEED channel. Enjoy the race!