A group of Austin city officials and staff arrived July 5 in London for a fact-finding trip in preparation for November's Formula One event.
Circuit of The Americas paid for Mayor Lee Leffingwell and City Manager Marc Ott to travel to London July 5–9 to tour the Formula One track at Silverstone—home to the British Grand Prix—while the city planned to cover flight costs for Austin Police Chief Art Acevado, Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr and two city staff members.
Austin Fire Department spokeswoman Michelle DeCrane said July 6 that Kerr did not attend due to the Fourth of July holiday and the risk of wildfire, but DeCrane clarified Chief Kerr supported the trip's purpose.
City spokeswoman Roxanne Evans said travel and meeting plans were going as scheduled.
“As far as I know, they are seeing a lot and learning a lot,” she said.
Deputy City Manager Michael McDonald provided details of the trip during a June 28 news conference.
According to McDonald, Circuit of The Americas offered to pay for the mayor and city manager to attend the event, and the city would pay $5,556 for four additional staff members to attend.
“Within the last year, much has been learned, and much progress has been made,” he said. “Yet we do not posses the firsthand knowledge and have not spoken directly with any other city that has hosted a Formula One event.
“The genesis of this research to Northampton/Silverstone originated from an offer by Circuit of The Americas to cover full costs of travel of two city officials for this purpose. Make no mistake, this is a working trip," McDonald said.
Austin will host the 2012 Formula One United States Grand Prix on Nov. 18, which is expected to draw 120,000 fans.
Fri., July 6:
- 9 a.m.: Arrive at London Heathrow/travel to Silverstone
- 11 a.m.–5 p.m.: Tour of 400-acre site–grandstands, public areas, emergency services, health and sanitation areas
- 2–4:30 p.m. (concurrent meeting): Meet with Northampton political leaders, emergency service officials and British motorsport businesses to receive information on how the community engages Formula One, including the benefits and challenges
Sat., July 7:
- 10 a.m.–noon: Review of traffic ingress, egress plan and Silverstone camping areas
- 1–2 p.m.: Review of entrance areas and customer checks/regulations
- 2–4 p.m.: Formula One qualifying/support races/Paddock tour of teams and sponsor areas
Sun., July 8:
- 9 a.m.–noon: Meet with Northamptonshire police chief, constable and local officials
- 1:30–5 p.m.: Meet with fire chief and inspector, other regulatory authorities