RBR Team Photo

The weather is overcast, warm and muggy, at Circuit of the Americas for Sunday’s second United States Grand Prix Formula One race.

Saturday’s attendance was reported at 78,886. This, along with Friday’s 58,276, total so far 137,162. This year the track is selling Sunday only tickets, so maybe a figure of 110,000-120,000 will reach the track-anticipated record of 250,000+. Sunday’s good weather should help.

When I arrived at 7:30am the gates there were crowds. A reported suspicious incident delayed opening while it was checked out and then given the all clear. The TV pans of the crowds show lots of people in all the open spaces.

The Red Bull Garage was busy. Up close and personal, by team invitation, I was able to view and admire the lovely double-secret Infiniti iridescent purple-colored side pods, as well as hear the story. It’s not actually paint, but very high tech, very lightweight plastic sheets carefully wrapped on to the carbon-fiber car part – an upscale version of what many NASCAR stock car teams do.The team has a special in-house vendor, who has now started his own business. He has a secret secure booth where all the work is done, including the graphic design.

The mystery of Pole Sitter’s SEBASTIAN VETTEL’s Red Bull Racing helmet changes has been solved, at least to satisfy my curiosity. As a corner worker I rely on various markers on the identical team cars for differentiating the drivers. Numbers are small and well-hidden among the graphics. Helmets is one way, if you are in a position to see it over/behind the wind screen.

Vettel wears a helmet until he wins, and then he swaps it out for a new one. And he has an Infiniti design contest going, so for First Friday F1 practice and Saturday’s practice, Vettel wears a helmet with the winning design. Then he swaps back to his new helmet for the weekend. Pity the poor corner workers the past seven races. Just when you think you’ve got it figured out, Vettel goes and wins a race and gets a new helmet for the next race. And he tries to key his new helmet designs to the venue of the race. This weekend Vettel has the iconic red bull with a noise ring.

Another thing which most corner workers have long since figured out – the obligatory camera mounts on top of the cars are painted different colors for each team driver. In the case of Red Bull, Vettel has the all black camera mount, while MARK WEBBER’s is neon lime green.

And for those who aren’t bored with the ongoing saga of the naked signage over the garage of newbie Lotus driver, HEIKKI KOVALAINEN, never fear, the sign is here.

Niki Lauda

Mario Andretti

Nigel Mansell

The area behind the F1 garages, which I call The Esplanade or The Promenade, is starting to get busy and filled with people to see and who want to be seen. It’s A-List, high level people watching.

Out in front of the track entrance, there was a parking lot display of all the vintage cars being used for the F1 Driver Parade around the course before the race start. Beautiful cars. Webber will be in a blue Shelby 350 convertible, and Vettel will be in a Shelby 427, with an autographed glove box.

Mark Webber's Shelby GT350

Heikki Kovalainen's Garage Sign

Sebastian Vettel's Shelby 427

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