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Chinese Grand Prix

Great Race, Great Friends, Great Watch Party

// Downtown Watch Party

Our eleventh watch party in downtown Austin was hosted by Lavaca Street Bar for the Chinese Grand Prix. As with all of our events, there's always a very strong mix of new visitors, averaging around thirty percent over our events this past year. Sunday's event was an exception, with nearly fifty percent of the 75+ attendance visiting the downtown watch party for the first time ever. 

This great balance of old and new fans is making a great conversational environment, allowing those of all knowledge levels to participate and feel welcome. Our more seasoned fans helped to welcome newcomers to the sport by offering advice and sharing their experiences with each other. Most conversations in the room, if not about the exciting race itself, usually focus on individuals sharing their first race experience or excitement for the future GP in Austin.

With a great crowd in attendance, the energy was right for the stunningly entertaining Chinese GP. We all helped congratulate Mercedes GP driver Nico Rosberg on his first win in the sport and Mercedes' first win in 57 years as a factory team. The race had all of the elements to make for great viewing, so good company to watch with on a Sunday afternoon make it all the more enjoyable.  

// Lavaca Street Bar

Our guests raved about the Chinese-themed food provided - fresh egg rolls, savory pots tickers, teriyaki flavored wings, ribs that rival the best local BBQ joints and a fresh noodle & veggie mix. It's no surprise everyone enjoyed the food; Lavaca Street's menu is being redeveloped by Casey Fannin, an amazing chef and close friend of Tyson Cole of Uchi and Uchiko restaurants. If you didn't know before enjoying the fare, it was evident after as the food was delicious!

At the end of the race we raffled off a copy of the SENNA movie DVD and a movie poster to continue to spread the word about this amazing film.  If you haven't seen it, check out the trailer here and rent it on Netflix or buy a copy here. Congratulations to Kärt Klein; enjoy the movie - again! (She has seen it before and is a big fan!)

A very special thanks goes out to DNA Events for their production expertise and support to help make this event possible.  In addition, a special thanks to Premiere Party Central for their donations of the chinese-themed table decor, and thanks to Paul Walhus of Spring.net for stepping up as our photographer at the last minute.

// What's Next?

We're already back in planning mode for our next watch party. We've decided to focus on a hand-picked number of watch parties this season in order to create truly engaging fan experiences. But you won't have to wait long to see your F1 friends and meet new Austinites!

Tomorrow, Thursday, April 19, we're hosting a joint happy hour with EuroCircle - "a free informal community for expats and Europeans or Europhiles." Come celebrate the diversity of Austin at this international networking event and learn about Formula 1™ coming to Austin. Join us back at Icenhauer's tomorrow night from 6:00PM - 10:00PM for networking and mingling over cocktails and light hors d'oeuvres. Icenhauer's is located on the famed Rainey Street and you will feel truly welcome in this renovated 1895 home with an expansive patio and cool drinks!

Icenhauer's - 83 Rainey StreetWhat: Happy Hour with EuroCircle and The Austin Grand Prix

When: Thursday, April 19, 6:00PM - 10:00PM

Where: Icenhauer's, 83 Rainey Street, Austin, TX 78701

Why: Let’s celebrate the diverse crowd that Austin welcomes and embraces as well as the fantastic arrival of F1 in Austin!

Hosts: Kaisa Kokkonen (EuroCircle), Allison Berguin (France) and Kerri Olsen (The Austin Grand Prix)

Cost: Free

Parking: On surrounding streets and a pay lot where Rainey Street intersects with Driskill Street

Facebook Invite Here

 

Race Review: Chinese Grand Prix

Perfect Hair from Winner Nico Rosberg - from "The Essence of Racing" on tumblrHoly silver arrows, Batman! The Chinese Grand Prix was A-MAZ-ING! The takeovers, the tyres performance that kept everyone guessing, the pit stops, the takeovers!! And may I also mention, in addition to taking home the top medal, Rosberg wins "Best Post-Grand Prix Champion Hair" in my books.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. The race started out with Mercedes in P1 and P2, no doubt the Mercedes team and Ross Braun were cautiously optimistic. I was also looking forward to see how fast Vettel can climb back from an abysmal  grid position. Usually I root for a driver or two based on qualifying results, but it’s been increasingly difficult to just root for one or two drivers, everyone is getting more competitive and tyres strategy can make the world of difference between qualifying pole position and race day results.

My first big “oooooohhhhhh!!!” moment of the race came in Lap 11. Raikkonen duked it out and lost a spot to Webber and then lost another spot to Hamilton. I imagine Ice Man saying obscene things in Finnish in his car with the coolest of emotions.  Those passes unfortunately would foreshadow the fall  to 14th place in the last ten laps for Kimi. Better luck next time, Kimi! The Lotus-Renault team should really sort out Kimi’s tyres strategy for next race.

The last 10 laps of the race had me glued to the screen! So many takeovers, so many wheel to wheel actions, not to mention almost everyone could take advantage of DRS zone because the drivers were very close to each other.

All in all, a superb race! I can’t wait until Bahrain this weekend!

Race Preview: Chinese Grand Prix

// Introducing Benedict Wong, Guest Contributor

Guest Contributor, Benedict WongThe Chinese GP preview is the first guest post from Benedict Wong, an F1 fan I befriended a couple years back. Benedict got hooked on F1 from 2008's Monaco race and still watches it because "there's no other sport that provides more thrilling entertainment than an F1 race!"

// Ready to Race

Finally, the three-week wait is over. The Chinese Grand Prix is upon us. I’m not sure about you, but weekends without races always feel a little empty to me. That emptiness may or may not have to do with my race weekend habits – gobbling down homemade Nutella pancakes with chocolate croissant while I glue myself to the qualifying and the race. 

Shanghai International Circuit map and Start/Finish Line.The last race in Malaysia was made ever more exciting with rain that I hope for some rain in Shanghai this weekend. I can never quite get over how the drivers can drive so fast with practically zero visibility in rain, except the blurry blinky light from the car in front. My natural instinct would be to pull over … and that’s why I’ll never be an F1 driver. 

The season has been much more entertaining to watch compared to last season - no clear front runner, half the cars are competing on the tiniest margin on lap time, massive egos from six world champions. Personally, I’m hoping to see any or all of these this weekend:

  • Maldonado actually finish a race
  • Perez to kick some more a$$
  • Webber making to the podium
  • Crazy track antics from Schumacher
  • Rain!

What are you hoping to see in the Chinese Grand Prix? 

// Visual Preview

What does the Chinese GP look like? Check out our Pinterest board.