United States Grand Prix
22nd – 24th October 2021
Popular grandstands sell out fast. Buy US Grand Prix tickets with one of these recommended official retailers.
Disclosure: F1S gets a small commission which helps to keep the lights on. The best part is it doesn’t cost you any extra :)
The Circuit of the Americas has proven popular with F1 fans as an all round great place to watch live motorsports. The circuit’s elevation changes help to create ideal viewing from the grandstands and general admission areas, the best seats allowing spectators to see vast amounts of the track.
Best Grandstands at CoTA
In Texas, its not so much about which grandstand you’re in but which row. Wherever you are just keep in mind that while upper sections of grandstands are spectacular in the breadth of what you can see, lower rows in the same grandstand can often be quite average.
Start / Finish Straight – Main Grandstand and Trackside Bleachers
Grandstands on the main straight offer the best seats to enjoy the build up to the race, all the pitlane action, podium ceremony and the chance to be first in line for the track invasion.
There are three sections in CoTA’s main grandstand, plus the adjoining trackside bleachers, that give fans with varying budgets the chance to experience being in the heart of the action at the US Grand Prix.
The main straight seats known as the trackside bleachers occupy an area to either side of the main grandstand. Facing the track, there are 3 blocks to the left (west) and 6 blocks to the right (east).
It’s the seats on the right of the stand that offer the better views. These seats line the first few rows of the grid and it’s for this and the closer proximity to turn one make them more desirable than not just the west side bleachers but also the more expensive Lower section of the main grandstand.
The only real benefit to the trackside bleacher seats on the left is the direct view of parc ferme, where the post race interviews take place, and the podium. Come the end of the race while others make the mad dash for the track invasion you can sit comfortably in your seat and doff your Stetson to the top three finishers. Fans here don’t get to have a close up view of the grid or the pit garages however so it can seem like a lot of compromises for little in return.
Of course what all of the trackside bleacher seats lack is any kind of cover, leaving you exposed to sun, rain and perhaps the occasional hurricane.MID BUDGET TV SCREEN COVERED RESERVED SEATS
Main Grandstand – Lower
Along with the trackside bleachers the lower level seats are the closest you can get to the grid at CoTA, lining the track from about the number 10 grid position to the final slots.
This really pays off for the post qualifying interviews that take place here and for the frantic race preparations where the cars sitting on the track seem almost close enough to touch.
Once the sessions get underway though it can all be a bit of a blur and besides the pitstops, you might find yourself watching much of the action on the giant screens rather than risk a neck injury by trying to keep up with the cars on track.
Though not covered, the lower section is in the shade of the grandstand structure for the duration of the Grand Prix, leaving only the possibility of a rain shower to dampen your spirits.MID BUDGET TV SCREEN COVERED RESERVED SEATS
Main Grandstand – Mezzanine
Nicely elevated mid-way up the main grandstand, the view from the Mezzanine level lets you see further than the lower rows and is perfect for experiencing all the action on the main start / finish straight.
Turn 1, though distant, is clearly visible thanks to the steep uphill nature of the circuit. Add to that a roof over your head and these are some of the best seats on the main straight.
Main Grandstand – Club
A seat in the highest level of the grandstand offers a broad panorama that stretches out across the whole start / finish straight, pit complex and the last and first corners. Club ticket holders also benefit from a more exclusive experience with access to a nearby lounge offering food and drinks.
What’s not to love? Well there’s no such thing as a free lunch and these premium nibbles are no exception, coming with an equally premium price tag. And that’s if you can get in – poor organization in past years has meant some guests have had to wait in line for long periods to access a packed lounge.
That doesn’t mean this option should be avoided, but it’s certainly worth keeping in mind and getting to the Club lounge early. Alternatively, choose another option for Sunday and reserve Club tickets for Friday or Saturday when things are considerably more relaxed.
It’s also worth pointing out that though most seats in Club level are covered, some aren’t. Row 6 upwards is under the roof so fans sat in the lower rows may still have to suffer Austin’s changeable weather.HIGH BUDGET TV SCREEN COVERED RESERVED SEATS
Turn 1 Grandstand
Simply some of the best seats to watch the start of an F1 race, not just in Austin but anywhere. It’s often an exciting, carbon-fibre strewn melee into turn 1 on the first lap of a Grand Prix and while CoTA is no exception that’s far from the only benefit of this very special grandstand.
The steep 133 foot run up the hill to turn 1 gives the elevated vantage point of the Turn 1 grandstand a dramatic view of not just the first corner but a view that stretches from the final turn to turn 2 and includes the start / finish straight, the pit stops, as well as distant glimpses of the track all around the lap.
About the only drawback is the not-so-giant giant screen opposite the grandstand, but a digital leaderboard at the pitlane exit makes keeping up with position changes easier.
My tip is to bring a pair of binoculars; not just to look at the screen but for the abundant people watching opportunities in the pitlane and on the grid.MID BUDGET TV SCREEN COVERED RESERVED SEATS BEST IN PRICE RANGE F1S CHOICE
Turn 4 Grandstand
Inspired by Silverstone’s Maggotts / Becketts / Chapel section, the esses are an iconic part of the circuit and although its not a common place for overtakes it’s nonetheless a thrill to watch Formula 1 cars demonstrate what they can do through this fast left-right-left-right sequence.
The nearby observation tower and stars ‘n’ stripes run off area lend a unique look making any photos you take unmistakably CoTA.
That this is probably the weakest grandstand view at the circuit only demonstrates the high quality of views to be had at the Austin track.LOW BUDGET TV SCREEN COVERED RESERVED SEATS
Turn 9 Grandstand
Grandstand 9 is perfectly placed on the crest of a hill over the outer section of track near turn 9.
Cars first appear down the hill from the exit of turn 7, as you look down on the racing from on high. Through a sequence of corners the cars wind their way up to your level before they turn away and dart off down hill towards the turn 11 hairpin.
From here the long back straight carries them towards turn 12. Watching from a distance, the entire straight in sight, you can really appreciate just how much distance a Formula One car can cover in a few short seconds.
For the sheer expanse of the view in from of you, the variation in track, and the elevation changes, this is an engaging place to watch from and only really falls short because of the lack of wheel to wheel action at this part of the track.
At many circuits this vantage point would be a hands down favourite, but with the standard of grandstand views so high at the Austin circuit, Turn 9 grandstand is merely a solid low-priced option.LOW BUDGET TV SCREEN COVERED RESERVED SEATS BEST IN PRICE RANGE
Turn 12 Grandstand
If you’re looking for a grandstand with a broad view over much of the circuit Turn 12 Grandstand is the best at CoTA. Seats here enjoy views over a vast area of track, from turn 1, the esses, right around to the final turn 20 – a staggering 15 corners on a 20 corner race track are visible.
True, many parts of the track are distant and the cars pop in and out of view at some points on the circuit, but you get a sense of being able to follow the racing for the best part of a lap that you don’t get with other grandstands.
Turns 13, 14 and 15 are at a reasonable distance and turn 12, a tight left turn at the end of the long back straight is directly in front of the grandstand, and a common overtaking spot under DRS.
Seats lower down in the stand have a perfectly good view of the nearby sequence of corners but to to see further and really maximize that incredible view it’s well worth paying extra for the upper rows.MID BUDGET TV SCREEN COVERED RESERVED SEATS
Turn 15 Grandstand
Sat at turn 15, high up in the stand you can follow the racing all the way from the back straight where cars brake hard into turn 12, where overtakes are common.
The dueling continues around the next 3 corner sequence before darting off and out of sight around turn 16. This section of the track is reminiscent of one of the all time greats of motorsport spectating – the stadium section at Hockenheim.
From the top level this is another crowd pleasing CoTA view of multiple corners that’s worth every cent, but from the lower rows things are pretty average with little more than an underwhelming view of turn 15.MID BUDGET TV SCREEN COVERED RESERVED SEATS
General Admission at Circuit of the Americas
There are some very attractive views from general admission areas around the Austin circuit and is not a bad choice for fans on a budget and also worth checking out some of these spots for a while even if you have a grandstand ticket.
The undulating topography of the venue means there are many areas that offer an elevated view of the action and in some cases is even preferable to some of the lower rows of the grandstands.
Turn 1 is arguably one of the best spots to unfold your camping chair. It’s rare that a general admission spectator can enjoy such a view looking down the hill at the magnificent start/finish straight and the pit complex and there’s no better place to watch the start of the race.
It’s pure joy to watch an F1 car at speed through the snaking Silverstone-esque turns 3 to 5 section, and just because you’re in general admission doesn’t mean you have to miss out on this. Views are mostly through the fence but its worth spending some time in this area.
There’s a very limited but I can only say, spectacular, view from a pedestrian bridge that crosses over the track between turns 2 and 3. By limited I mean that as the bridge is mostly covered you’ll only be able to stand on the steps if you want to enjoy a view of the action unobstructed by catch-fencing. Worth seeking out for a photo opportunity though not a practical option to spend the entire afternoon.
As we’ve seen, most of the best spots for general admission are covered in the first sector of the circuit but a raised bank adjacent to the penultimate corner affords an elevated view over the end of the lap and the pitlane entry.
A good race strategy for general admission fans is to start at turn one where you can watch the start and when you feel you’ve had your fill of that view meander around the track in either direction, returning later in the race for the pitstops and the checkered flag.