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Full Throttle Productions

New Year, New Toys

As we await F1 Winter Testing to begin, we're working on other creative ways to keep you engaged.

Pinterest - the virtual pinboard

New on the social networking scene is Pinterest. It is a virtual pinboard: you find things that you are interested in or inspired by on the internet, and you "pin" online images and videos of the objects to your virtual bulletin boards. Like tumblr, other users can "re-pin" your objects to their boards if they share your interest. Broken down, it is another way to socially interact over shared interests on the web.

Between August and December 2011, Pinterest has grown from 1.2 million users to over 4 million.

The majority of Pinterest users appear to use it for style, design and cooking inspiration. Instead of creating 537 internet bookmarks for every gluten-free recipe that you find, you can "Pin" them to your self-titled "Gluten Free Pinboard" and have them in one spot.

What does this have to do with racing?

I created an Austin Grand Prix Pinterest account in December with the intent of organizing pictures and videos of motorsport and everything related - What books can I read about Formula 1? What movies are out there about historic motorsport moments? Who are the F1 drivers and teams? Instead of getting sucked into a black hole of F1 info, you can peruse our boards and if you're interested on knowing more about a specific topic, just "follow" that Pinterest board for updates.

What appeals to me the most about Pinterest is that you can find others who share your interests and discover related content that you may never have known about before.  To learn more about Pinterest, check out their website, read this beginner's guide from Mashable or the Wikipedia entry.  Other racing brands are jumping on the bandwagon, as SPEED TV announced their Pinterest account today.  As they say in the Pinterest world, Happy Pinning!

Here is a link to The Austin Grand Prix on Pinterest. I will be updating our "Pins" frequently so check back for new content weekly.

TIP: You must request an invitation to join Pinterest. If you need one, send me your email address at Pinterest {at}

The Austin Grand Prix on

Austin Formula For Negotiations 101

After the past few days of speculation about the future of Formula 1 in Austin, it's hard to begin this with a level head.

I've seen the articles from Reuters, Autosport, Autosport (pay for access), Autoweek, ESPN (AP source), SPEED, our local newspaper Austin-American Statesman, and countless other sources.  If you walked into the world of Formula 1 in the last four days, you would probably think the Austin race would not be happening and might even expect to see at least one lawsuit come out of this situation.  Truth is, I wouldn't blame you for reacting this way even if you've been following the news since May 25th, 2010 when Austin first became a reality.

Bernie Ecclestone - "Can you hear me now?"

I am, however, not at all surprised by the flamboyant statements made by Ecclestone and the frantic media that bows to his demands for a controversy.  Bernie has fully mastered this art, there are few others in the world who can utter a casual comment and watch the reaction spread like a wildfire. From the spectator's point of view, it's sold to us as fact, growing quickly out of proportion and turning into a full-on scandal.  Like rubberneckers captivated by an accident on the highway, we end up staring at the story as if it's our only chance to see this, ever.

But the reality is this is nothing new, and what we are really witnessing is not a cover-up or controversial truth telling, but instead a very public and high-stakes negotiation between a couple of powerful people with deep pockets.  Out of all of the stories this past few days, one thing is apparent:  Tavo Hellmund and his company Full Throttle Productions, who negotiated the 2012-2021 contract with Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, own the rights to the USGP independent of Circuit of The Americas (though Tavo is clearly part of the COTA team according to their website). 

What is on the line is hundreds of millions of dollars in jobs, investment, ticket sales, and TV viewers that all hinge on the ability of these parties to come to terms.

If you have followed Formula 1 for the last decade or longer, then this is nothing new to you. If you're just joining, then go ahead: spend an afternoon on Google reading about each time "Bernie Ecclestone casts doubt" and the claims Bernie's made in his defense; the man is an expert at controlling the conversation and maintaining power.  So is it any surprise we're being taken for a roller coaster ride right now, knowing that there are some hard-core negotiations going on?

Absolutely not. In fact, I'd be a bit surprised if we didn't see this given what's at stake.

Exclusive: LBJ Future Forum with Bruce Knox of Circuit of The Americas

Bruce Knox, EVP of COTA, speaking at LBJ Future ForumWe continue to highlight the brain trusts here in Austin because Austin continues to top the "Best Of" lists across the board.

Last month, we had the fortunate opportunity to hear Bruce Knox speak at the University of Texas at Austin ("UT") LBJ Future Forum. Bruce is the Executive Vice President of Circuit of The Americas.

As a bit of a history lesson, Lyndon Baines Johnson, the 36th President of the United States of America who was from Texas (and an alma matter of my own Southwest Texas State University), always had strong ties to our state and his legacy lives on through the LBJ Future Forum at UT. The forum provides educational and cultural information through various speakers and events spanning a broad range of topics.

LBJ's artistic and intimate presidential library resides at UT and he and his graceful First Lady, "Lady Bird," continue to leave their mark through their respective legacies. Heck; some of Austin's top outdoor draws - Lady Bird Lake (aka Town Lake) and The Wildflower Center were established in honor of Lady Bird's legacy.

Austin Skyline by Lou Neff Point Okay, right. Back to the presi at hand. If you've never had a chance to hear the Circuit of The Americas overview, then this is a great opportunity to do so. The slides hit all the statistics and we can personally attest that Bruce Knox is a real F1 fan that "gets it." Enjoy.

Formula 1: The Basics and Beyond from LBJ Future Forum on Vimeo.

 Here are some pictures from the event and LBJ's Presidential Library, which is open to the public.

Unofficial but Suggestive "2012 ‘New York Grand Prix’ plans" from 2010

I found this sketch of a possible street race circuit for a New Jersey/New York Grand Prix.

A draft "night race" in Liberty State ParkThis is from a 2010 blog post which shares an "official presentation document" for a "2012 United States Grand Prix - Jersey City." Obviously Circuit of the Americas and Full Throttle Productions, LP (Tavo's original entity as promoter) own the title rights to the race name "The Formula 1 United States Grand Prix". Although it is an unconfirmed and unofficial blog post, it did include some interesting facts which could have been used in pitching a New Jersey/New York Formula 1 race:

Video Update: Construction Ramping Up

There have been some concerns lately about work at the circuit "slowing down" - we understand this to have been a timing issue. The groundwork progressed amazingly quickly because of the lack of rain during the Texas summer, so they were able to exceed normal construction deadlines & speed up the timeline. We've been told vertical construction would start in October, and our friends at Friends of Circuit of the Americas updated us on Tuesday, confirming new equipment arrived at the circuit.

We decided to head out to the circuit on this lovely Texas October afternoon (albeit still HOT!) and share it with you.