Currently the F1 community is in a holding pattern. Sitting, waiting on the deluge from Hurricane Patricia to either drown the Lone Star state or mercifully lessen just enough to squeak in qualifying.
The prognosis isn’t encouraging. They just brought in the marshals and as I type we just received confirmation of yet another 30 minute rain delay. Everyone is making the best of it. The fans, God bless them are all still here, cheering, dancing, waving banners for the cameras. Two Sauber crew members rode up the pit lane in a cart pretending to be in a row boat. Will Buxton danced past me, umbrella in hand, doing his best Singing in the Rain bit. Nico Rosberg and Niki Lauda played a bit of pit lane soccer while Sergio Perez waved to the many Mexican fans in attendance.
With rain forecast to be 100 percent till the early evening hours, it looks like either the wet and wild FP3 times will determine the grid or, hopefully Charlie Whiting and company will decide to hold qualifying tomorrow morning when the precipitation chances are predicted to drop below 20 percent.
Some are likening the chaos and delays to the farcical 2005 US Grand Prix where only the six Bridgestone shod cars raced in what was an insult to the sport. The naysayers think that it will hurt F1’s credibility and fledgling fan base in America. I beg to differ. There are as many fans here soaking up the rain today as I saw during September’s Lone Star Le Mans WEC and IMSA double header. They are passionate, knowledgable and they aren’t going anywhere. They have worked hard and paid good money to be here. As I sit in the media center, shoes squishing with water and cold, I empathize with them. It is my first US Grand Prix as member of the media and no amount of rain is going to dampen my spirits nor discount the immense amount of work it took to get here today.
No matter how today or the rest of the weekend works out, Formula One has a home in America, it is here at this track, where this town and these fans have returned to once again welcome it with open arms.
And the Sauber row boat rides again.