Austin United States Grand Prix hailed a success

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by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News and photojournalist JOHN FISHER

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on November 19, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 20 at 6:15 PM

AUSTIN-- The return of the United States Grand Prix is considered a victory and not just for driver Lewis Hamilton. City and county officials say plans to control the 120,000 fans went off as planned. Plus, Austin is getting good press around the world.

Rodney Gonzales is the deputy director for the Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services office with the City of Austin. "It was very successful by all measures," he said.

Gonzales said a joint command system with the city, state and county paid off. He also spent 11 months planning.

As for the traffic, Travis County Fire Rescue Chief Ken Bailey said there was a constant stream around the track, but everything went smoothly with no major injuries. However, the verdict is still out on business.

"There were businesses that were reporting this was their best weekend ever. We had businesses that reported that they saw minimal activity related to F1," Gonzales said.

As for what the world had to say, Gonzales says it's all positive. "We've been receiving and reading about accolades from various journalists, from F1 fans that were in Austin, and from the F1 organization itself," he said.

One journalist who has been in Austin almost a week, Ian Parkes with the Press Association in the United Kingdom, said he wasn't sure what to expect, but that Austin exceeded all expectations.

"I think it's just a great city. Really friendly, welcoming people and that's really what made it for everybody that has been here," Parkes said.

Parkes says he liked how downtown Austin closed streets for Fan Fest.

Tom Cary, a journalist who covers Formula 1 for the Telegraph in the United Kingdom, told KVUE in an email that he thinks "the sport is generally very, very pleased this morning with how it all went."

He says it's good to have the United States Grand Prix back. There hasn't been one since 2007 in Indianapolis, but he warns people to keep up interest. 

"We mustn't be complacent. We have seen sellout crowds at many venues in the first year, only for attendances to drop off," said Cary.

Many people were amazed this race actually took place. It remains to be seen if that 10-year contract Circuit of the Americas signed with Formula 1 keeps the race in Austin over time.

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