Circuit of the Americas officials said Friday that they were working to resolve ticketing problems for the upcoming Formula One race, a snag that one fan called “a real black eye for Austin tourism.”
The circuit’s chairman, Bobby Epstein, said fans will be able to pick up their replacement tickets and parking passes next week at several will-call locations. He said track employees will even deliver tickets to local hotels for out-of-town visitors.
“We don’t want anyone to have a bad experience because of ticket delivery,” Epstein said. He added that Ticketmaster informed the circuit that the last batch of U.S. Grand Prix tickets, a group of 400, was sent out Monday.
This week, the circuit’s Facebook page was lighting up with fans’ complaints that, with the big race now just a week away, they had yet to receive their tickets. Others complained that the tickets they had received were not of souvenir quality.
“I still don’t have my tickets despite contacting both Ticketmaster and COTA. Each points the finger at the other, and neither can tell me when or how my tickets were shipped,” Stephen Clark posted.
Tom Clark’s post indicated he had received his tickets but stated, “When you spend $600 on a seat for an F1 race, the ticket should be something you can keep as a reminder of the event. These are like something from a Garth Brooks concert — nice but not F1 quality!”
Robert Beatty, a financial adviser in Scottsdale, Ariz., said he ordered his tickets in April but still had not received them or his parking passes or even a tracking number.
Beatty said he prepaid for both a hotel and a rental car and would be out thousands of dollars if he didn’t receive his tickets. He was planning to attend the race with his brother, a big F1 fan who has purchased Ferrari gear for the weekend.
“I should be all pumped up,” said Beatty, who said he was instead worried about his tickets.
Circuit officials said the tickets did ship a week later this year because of design and information updates required by Formula One Management, the rights holder for Formula One.
As for the different quality of tickets, the circuit posted, “Tickets purchased directly from the COTA office before Oct. 8 will be commemorative tickets. Tickets purchased from Ticketmaster will be standard tickets.”
Circuit officials said fans will be able to pick up replacement tickets and parking passes at several locations next week:
- The circuit’s downtown office at 301 Congress Ave., Suite 275.
- The circuit’s track-side ticket office on Circuit of the Americas Blvd.
- The circuit’s welcome center for Austin Fan Fest at the corner of Lavaca and Fourth streets.
Mixing football and F1
With the Texas-Oklahoma State football game next Saturday kicking off shortly after 2:30 p.m., there’s a chance fans could attend both the game and Formula One qualifying that day — if they make like F1 drivers. Qualifying at Circuit of the Americas in Southeast Austin will run from noon to about 1 p.m., track chairman Bobby Epstein wrote Friday in an email.
Longhorns fans who don’t venture out to the track might want to drop in on Austin Fan Fest, the downtown party that celebrates the U.S. Grand Prix. Postgame, Epstein said, “all the UT fans will get to enjoy six blocks of music, entertainment and fun. Should make for the biggest sports, entertainment and party weekend in Texas history.”