[Hello to those from the FB link - just learned this entry was linked there.] Americans don't get Formula 1 racing. It's been said time and time again but it's true. The latest evidence of this is the seating fiasco at the new Austin circuit - "Circuit Of The Americas". The best seats for F1 are the main grandstands opposite the pits, or on turn 1. These seats are generally expensive, but open to all at every other F1 race. In America though, they seem to think that this track is a baseball stadium, because the premium seats are only available as a season ticket (as oppose to per-event) and then only if you first pre-purchase the right to purchase a season ticket.
From their website:
"PREMIUM SEATING IS ONLY AVAILABLE THROUGH THE PURCHASE OF THE PSL. THE PSL (PERSONAL SEAT LICENSE) IS A ONE TIME PAYMENT PER SEAT THAT WILL GIVE YOU OWNERSHIP RIGHTS TO PURCHASE SEASON TICKETS AT COTA FOR UP TO 15 YEARS. OWNING A PSL WILL GET YOU ACCESS TO THE MOST DESIRABLE VIEWING AREAS, EXCLUSIVE ACCESS TO PURCHASE TICKETS TO OTHER RACE SERIES, PRE-SALE OPPORTUNITY FOR MAJOR CONCERTS AND THE RIGHT TO PURCHASE ON-SITE PARKING."
In other words, you can't get grandstand seats for just the F1 race - you have to commit to a whole season of events. For 15 years. Nobody's going to do that. My guess is that the FIA will pull the race from the circuit after 2013 once this becomes widely known.The worst part of this is that you have to fill in a 'pre-authorisation' request and then their PSL reps will contact you with a price - ie. they won't even publish the prices online, like it's some sort of exclusive club or something.
Doing this is basically reserving the best seats at the track for the ultra-rich - the Donald Trumps and Mitt Romneys of the world - who are so stratospherically high into the 1% that they don't even know what money is any more.
Look - F1 is an expensive spectator sport - as F1 fans, we know this - but to expect us to pre-pay for 15 years of tickets just demonstrates a comprehensive lack of understanding of F1 and the sort of people who watch it.
Way to go Circuit Of The Americas - I guess you really didn't want to give F1 a chance after all.