Need To Know: 2021 United States Grand Prix

Formula 1 lands in Texas for the seventeenth round of the 2021 season. Here’s everything you need to know about attending the 2021 United States Grand Prix at COTA on October 22-24!

Formula 1 seems to have finally found a stable stateside home at the Circuit of The Americas. This will be the ninth running of the United States Grand Prix at the venue, with the Texas circuit having hosted the event since 2012. 

After a year off due to the coronavirus pandemic, the popular race is back on the schedule in 2021. The circuit configuration has been a hit with drivers, while the A-list entertainment line-up keeps fans satisfied.

COTA is located around 30km from downtown Austin, and there’s plenty to check out in the city. From great gigs to great food, there’s a lot to take in. We’ve rounded up the best places to visit on your United States Grand Prix trip in Off-Track Activities.

Heading to COTA for the first time? All the essential travel information you need is in Travel Basics.

Coronavirus protocols at the 2021 United States Grand Prix

Unlike many other F1 races in 2021, there are currently no coronavirus-related entry requirements in place for the United States Grand Prix. This may change closer to the race date. 

Nevertheless, you should take a face covering with you to the event. Race organisers are encouraging the wearing of face coverings, and they may be required in certain areas of the venue. 

On entry to the circuit, you may be required to take a non-contact temperature check or fill in a short questionnaire to confirm that you are not experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, nor have had recent exposure to the virus. The circuit also advises guests to maintain social distancing and wash their hands regularly. 

Further information can be found on the Ticket Policies page of Circuit of The Americas website

High attendance expected

In 2019, the United States Grand Prix was the sixth best attended race of the year, with almost 268,000 fans passing through the turnstiles during the race weekend. Formula 1’s profile has been boosted in the United States in recent years thanks to more easily accessible television coverage, plus the hit Netflix series Drive to Survive

The event has welcomed over 220,000 spectators in each year since 2012, with the record attendance being 269,889 in 2016. 2021 may well set a new record, with unprecedented demand meaning that the vast majority of tickets are already sold out.

The United States Grand Prix had the seventh most expensive 3-Day General Admission tickets of the 2019 season, but you certainly get what you pay for with the excellent raise viewing areas on offer at COTA, as well as the extensive concert and entertainment schedule. The race in Texas is the sixth most affordable for local fans, with tickets costing around 3.9% of the average monthly wage.

Check out our Budget Planner for the lowdown on what you can expect to spend on a trip to the United States Grand Prix!

Getting to the circuit

Circuit of The Americas offers a more traditional trackside set-up which you’d experience at many of the European races. There’s a free bus service to help you get around the outer-perimeter of the track – which can be helpful if you’re keen to experience the action from various vantage points.

With unprecedented demand for tickets, we recommend getting to the circuit as early as possible, to avoid long queues and to secure the best vantage points – especially if you have General Admission tickets.

Some of the best ways of getting to the circuit include the affordable shuttle buses, taxi/ride-sharing or driving yourself. More information on transport options for the 2021 United States Grand Prix is available in our Getting Around Guide.

Support Races at the 2021 United States Grand Prix

In 2021, both W Series and FIA Formula 4 United States Championship are on the support bill at the United States Grand Prix. FIA Formula 3 was also scheduled to hold its season finale here, but the final meeting of the year was moved to Sochi Autodrom as part of a cost-cutting exercise. 

For W Series, this will be the first race weekend that the championship has held outside of Europe. The series will host the final two races of its second season at Circuit of The Americas this year.  . Going into the final race weekend in Texas, British drivers Alice Powell and Jamie Chadwick are tied on points, with Finland’s Emma Kimiläinen the only other driver still in with a chance of winning the title. The second W Series champion will be crowned at the 2021 United States Grand Prix!

Keep an eye on track between Free Practice 1 and Free Practice 2 on Friday, as there’ll be a NASCAR demonstration. More information on the weekend schedule, including session times, can be found on the updated Trackside post.

Off track entertainment

One of the highlights of the weekend is COTA’s musical line-up. The circuit has secured big name acts in recent years, and 2021 is no different. Twenty One Pilots will take to the COTA Superstage on Friday evening, while Billy Joel will perform on Saturday. Past race weekends at COTA have also featured more acts performing at the Austin 360 Amphitheater, but details have not yet been announced for 2021. 

If you’re not in Texas for this year’s United States Grand Prix but want to attend next year, you can start early preparations for your trip in 2022 by checking out the best available hotels and what the local area has to offer!

18 thoughts on “Need To Know: 2021 United States Grand Prix”

  1. We are staying at a hotel near the airport. Would it be smarter to just Uber to COTA or Uber to downtown and catch the shuttle to COTA?

  2. First time going! Bought the Silver Turn 2 package and it includes all three days of races (practice, qualifying, and finals). Would it be terrible if I missed the Friday Practice 1 and 2? Just trying to sort out logistics and it seems much easier to fly in Friday than Thursday.

    1. That’s totally up to you. Friday is normally quieter, but you still have 2 hours of F1 action. But of course it’s more important to be there on the weekend for qualifying and the race. You’d get better value from your tickets by going for all 3 days, but plenty of people only go for the weekend and still have a great time

    2. Sibylle,
      No, it wouldn’t be terrible, but 2019 was my first race at COTA, and I spent a good deal of time walking around exploring and choosing places to sit for my GA seating. I ventured over to the straight away to watch the cars go by at top speed and go to different turns and watch the cornering…it was awesome.

  3. hi
    just cancelled our flights and hotel as we cant come over due to border closures , absolutely gutted, im trying to sell my 3 day stand 19 tickets and so far no joy , the fact that f1 or cota wont offer a refund sucks :-(
    Any ticket interest please email nigboo@icloud.com

  4. Rafael Andres Flores Breton

    My first time at F1 – COTA with general admission. what is the best place to see the race with general admission?

    1. Lots of great elevated views of the action in General Admission. Are you going for all three days? The best idea is to take a walk around on Friday and then decide which spot you like the most. You will then have to reserve it early for qualifying and the race, as there will be a lot more people there on the weekend.

  5. I will be staying on the Zilker area, would you recommend I get the shuttle form the Barton mall or should I just uber directly to the Circuit?

  6. Staying downtown for the F1 race and flying out at 8:00 PM after the race. Need to go direct to the airport after the race. What can I do with my luggage? Thanks.

    1. I wouldn’t have recommended getting a flight so early on Sunday night, as it will be difficult to enjoy the end of the race and get to your flight on time. I’d say your best bet is to travel to the airport in the morning and use luggage facilities there.

  7. I’m going to be in the stands at turn 9, do you know if we can bring a pad or bleacher seat to the track? I don’t see anything about it in the FAQ’S.

  8. Hi, first time going. Flying in Sunday morning and hoping to just go straight to the track. All I will have is a backpack with some clothes. Is there a place to check the bag or store it somewhere either at the airport or at COTA?

    Looking forward to it!

    1. I’d suggest using luggage storage at the airport, I don’t think you can store it at the track. A quick internet search shows plenty of luggage storage options at Austin Airport.

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