First F1 cargo jet arrives, public safety plan announced


by HEATHER KOVAR / KVUE News and photojournalist JOHN FISHER

Bio | Email | Follow: @HeatherK_KVUE

Posted on November 7, 2012 at 7:21 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 7 at 7:21 PM

AUSTIN -- The first of six 747s carrying Formula 1 cargo arrived about 2 p.m. at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport Wednesday.

It took about an hour to unload the large crates. An estimated 200,000 pounds of cargo filled each jet. That's 1.2 million pounds in all.

The jets will fly in intervals through Saturday, all from Abu Dhabi where the last F1 race was held last weekend.

All the cargo will also leave Austin after the race. It will head to Sao Paulo, the site of the final race of the 2012 Formula 1 season.

As the cargo arrives at the airport, much of it will go straight to the Circuit of the Americas, according to its president and CEO Steve Sexton.

"A lot of that is supplies for the paddock area which is Formula 1's back house area for the teams," Sexton said.

Sexton says that is where the teams entertain their sponsors and prepare for race weekend. There is furniture, TV equipment and other goods.

Sexton was among local, state and federal officials as they announced public safety preparations for the upcoming United States Grand Prix at the Emergency Operations Center at the former Austin Airport.

For Formula 1 weekend, Austin City Manager Marc Ott decided to activate Area Command within the Emergency Operations Center. In one room decision makers like Travis County Sheriff's Department, the FBI, Texas Department of Public Safety Austin Police Department and others will all work together.

Ott said it "made sense to centrally locate all of our resources."

"This ensures that all of our experts, including those from transportation, police, EMS, fire and communications will be at one place to effectively and efficiently manage any issues that may arise race weekend," Ott said.

There are also plans for additional emergency equipment throughout the city and county.

Austin Travis County EMS Chief Ernesto Rodriguez says extra ambulances will be placed in communities so they won't have to fight traffic to respond to normal calls.

"All of this is in addition to normal ambulances we have on duty. So no one should feel any difference, unless something really catastrophic happens," Rodriguez said.