Skip to content

‘This is our Super Bowl’ when it comes to US Grand Prix coverage

Nov 12, 2013, 1:48 PM EDT

F1 Grand Prix of USA Getty Images

Words like “greatness,” “storylines,” and “electricity” were used to describe the first United States Grand Prix at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas in 2012. That’s the goal again this weekend for NBC Sports at the 2013 USGP.

The viewing details first: free practice two will air live on NBCSN at 2 p.m. ET on Friday, with qualifying at 1 p.m. ET on CNBC on Saturday, and a one-hour pre-race on NBC at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday leading up to lights out immediately after at 2 p.m. ET. All sessions will also be live streamed via NBC Sports Live Extra.

Austin will mark the third of four Grands Prix aired on NBC this season, after Monaco and Canada earlier this year. More than 1.5 million viewers watched Monaco earlier this year, making it the most-watched Formula One race in the U.S. in six years.

And for this, the second USGP in Austin, the goal is to highlight how incredible Sebastian Vettel has been this year, and how much buzz there is in Texas, and the U.S. as a whole, for Formula One.

“Last year’s F1 race at Austin was the first I’d been to,” NBC Sports Group motorsports producer Rich O’Connor said on today’s media teleconference. “When I walked away from it, it was incredible to me what a great race it was and great event the weekend was. I’ve been to Super Bowls, Olympics, Final Fours and Kentucky Derbies, and the continuous weekend-long electricity and activity at the track was just incredible. For the entire weekend, you know you’d been to a great event.

“In planning for this event, we knew what we wanted to do was make this as a big event as a big race,” he added. “We’ll be doing – especially on Sunday in our one hour pre-race show – conveying certain aspects of what Austin’s doing through the weekend.”

Ron Howard, director of the critically acclaimed Universal Studios picture “Rush,” has voiced the open for the Sunday show. NBC’s “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno drove some hot laps at the track in October, which have been filmed and will be showcased. Lead broadcaster Leigh Diffey has an extended sit-down interview set with Vettel, and racing’s foremost essayist and former driver Sam Posey will have an essay on Vettel’s rein of dominance and where he stacks not just among the F1 greats, but the sports greats as a whole at age 26.

“This is our Super Bowl,” Diffey said. “In athletic terms, we’re gearing up for the biggest game of our year. There’s quite a bit of anticipation to bring the best show we can.”

As ever, David Hobbs and Steve Matchett join Diffey in the broadcast booth for analysis. Will Buxton, NBC’s F1 insider, will join the trio on the ground in Austin for reports from pit lane and the paddock.

Hobbs first called a USGP in 1976, and welcomed the opportunity to call this year’s on site in Austin. Matchett, a former Benetton mechanic when Michael Schumacher won his first two of a record seven World Championships, is in awe of Vettel’s performance this year.

“When I joined NBC, I was very proud to be asked, and I’ve been knocked over by the incredible effort that’s gone into all the Formula One shows,” Hobbs said. “The studio layout, the group of people, has been absolutely outstanding. It’s among the best over the last 30 years.”

“It’s going to be a great event for several reasons,” Matchett added. “Everyone’s in awe of what (Vettel) is doing. To be able to go and see this kid in action, in 5-10 years from now you’ll look back and say ‘Wow.’ This is likely to be the one race U.S. fans can attend. It’s a phenomenal event. I know everyone at NBC can’t wait, and to meet the enthusiasts, to meet the people in the paddock will be great.”

Buxton – who will also host the second annual “Buxton’s Big Time Bash” Thursday night – has already arrived in Austin and spoke of the fever already there.

“It’s amazing. The city is still embracing F1 this year, banners and flags all over the place,” Buxton said. “This is one of their only opportunities to experience it in the flesh. This is where we can take people off the couch and put them in the paddock. I can’t wait to see all the fans.”

We’ll have extensive Austin coverage here on MotorSportsTalk over the next several days and on the ground in Austin, as well.

Latest Posts
  1. Vettel upbeat despite engine troubles in Singapore

    Sep 19, 2014, 1:45 PM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    German driver rallies to finish in the top five in both sessions despite an engine failure.

  2. Brad Keselowski tops Friday Sprint Cup practice at N.H.

    Sep 19, 2014, 1:30 PM EDT

    Sylvania 300 - Practice Getty Images

    Already in the Contender Round for the Chase, Keselowski gets his weekend at New Hampshire off to a good start.

  3. Red flag limits Rosberg to P13 in second Singapore practice

    Sep 19, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    Nico Rosberg AP

    German driver feeling comfortable ahead of qualifying in Singapore tomorrow.

  4. Firestone IndyCar test next week to feature Castroneves, RHR, Carpenter, Pagenaud

    Sep 19, 2014, 12:43 PM EDT

    Ryan Hunter-Reay AP

    IndyCars get their first postseason running with Firestone tire test next week.

  5. VIDEO: Maldonado’s FP2 ends in the wall at Singapore

    Sep 19, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    Pastor Maldonado AP

    Not what the Venezuelan would have planned heading into his Friday programme at Marina Bay.

  6. NASCAR: Erik Jones fastest in first of three Truck practices today at Loudon

    Sep 19, 2014, 12:00 PM EDT

    (Photo: Jonathan Moore/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Returning to Kyle Busch’s No. 51 Truck, the 17-year-old Jones is making his first appearance this weekend at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

  7. F1’s double points rule to be axed for 2015?

    Sep 19, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi - Race Getty Images

    One of the most controversial F1 rulings in history could be scrapped after just one season.

  8. Hamilton tops FP2 as night falls in Singapore

    Sep 19, 2014, 11:03 AM EDT

    Lewis Hamilton AP

    A red flag for Pastor Maldonado stops Nico Rosberg from posting a quick lap time, forcing him to settle for P12 at the finish.

  9. Indy Lights: Belardi signs Felix Serralles for 2015 program

    Sep 19, 2014, 10:53 AM EDT

    IndyLightsLogo

    Belardi Auto Racing confirms its first Indy Lights driver for 2015.

  10. WATCH LIVE: FP2 for the Singapore Grand Prix

    Sep 19, 2014, 9:15 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Practice Getty Images

    Can Fernando Alonso double up to top FP2? Or will Mercedes rise to the top as night falls in Singapore?

  11. MotorSportsTalk’s Predictions: Singapore GP

    Sep 19, 2014, 8:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Previews Getty Images

    Who will star under the lights in Singapore? The MST writing team has its say.

  12. F1 Paddock Pass: Singapore Grand Prix (VIDEO)

    Sep 19, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Previews Getty Images

    Will Buxton brings you the latest news and interviews from the paddock in Singapore.

  13. Alonso fastest in first practice for Singapore GP

    Sep 19, 2014, 7:33 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Singapore - Practice Getty Images

    First blood goes to Ferrari in Singapore as Vettel and Vergne hit trouble.

  14. FIA backtracks on F1 radio limits; driver coaching still banned

    Sep 19, 2014, 6:30 AM EDT

    F1 Grand Prix of Austria Getty Images

    Teams put pressure on F1’s governing body to perform u-turn on the planned radio limits.

  15. WATCH LIVE: FP1 for the Singapore Grand Prix

    Sep 19, 2014, 5:45 AM EDT

    Singapore F1 GP Auto Racing AP

    FP1 offers the first chance for drivers to get to grips with the Marina Bay Street Circuit in the 2014 cars. Watch live on Live Extra from 6am ET.

  16. Ever wonder what Dale Jr., Danica, and others would look like as Boris Said?

    Sep 18, 2014, 9:21 PM EDT

    (Image courtesy FoxSports.com's Shake and Bake) (Image courtesy FoxSports.com's Shake and Bake)

    While Boris Said was getting ready for this weekend’s IMSA Tudor Championship event at Circuit of the America’s in Austin, Texas, it’s noteworthy to mention that Thursday was his 52nd birthday.

  17. Michael Waltrip challenges Dale Jr. to go Dancing With The Stars

    Sep 18, 2014, 9:02 PM EDT

    (Courtesy Dancing With The Stars) (Courtesy Dancing With The Stars)

    Michael Waltrip took a big step when he agreed to compete on Season 19 of “Dancing With the Stars.” Now, Waltrip has gone and put his foot in his mouth by trying to kick Dale Earnhardt Jr. in the behind, so to speak.

  18. Phoenix track bringing in more muscle for Chase race: UFC legend Chuck Liddell

    Sep 18, 2014, 8:15 PM EDT

    Chuck Liddell (Photo courtesy UFC) Chuck Liddell (Photo courtesy UFC)

    Given how important – and potentially how wild – the ninth and next-to-last race of the Chase for the Sprint Cup will be, Phoenix International Raceway is calling in some extra muscle for drivers who may potentially get out of hand.

  19. Report: NASCAR’s top 9 richest teams worth a collective $1.25 billion

    Sep 18, 2014, 7:04 PM EDT

    (Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Getty Images

    Owning a NASCAR team is like being a contestant on Wheel of Fortune, they both answer to “Big money, big money.”

  20. NASCAR America video: How New England is helping NASCAR grow

    Sep 18, 2014, 6:29 PM EDT

    nhms logo 2014

    New Hampshire is one of four New England states to host a NASCAR event and is huge to the racing community in the area. Having four tracks that far North allowed the sport to grow from its southern roots.

Video from NASCAR America

Which longshot will advance in Chase?
Top 10 NASCAR Driver Searches
  1. K. Busch (1682)
  2. B. Keselowski (1603)
  3. K. Harvick (1470)
  4. J. Gordon (1380)
  5. D. Mayhew (1373)