F1 United States Grand Prix diary: Flight to Austin resembled a motorsports convention

My flight from Mobile to Atlanta was one of the most pleasant flights I’ve ever been on. The cabin was half-full and I had a three-seat section all to myself. It was a pretty pleasant way to start the morning after a 5 a.m. wake-up call.

Those who have followed my career over the past few seasons will remember that I often drive myself to races in my pickup truck. And I’ve often been known to sleep in whichever parking lot or rest area suits my fancy. This was prior to hooking up with SB Nation mind you – they’ve taken care of me since coming on board.

I called it “paying my dues.” My editor called it plain crazy.

Flights are still somewhat novel to me and are one of the few situations where I find myself able to sit back and relax. I've always enjoy the process of flying, especially taking off. Perhaps it's the novelty or the excitement of going someplace new but I always think of whimsical things once the jet completely immerses itself in the clouds. How could I not?

I've flown roughly 10 times -- but it's the only atmosphere where I really feel like I can slow down and just relax.

While this story doesn’t focus much on Formula 1 and the United States Grand Prix, I hope this entry serves as an introduction to who I am as a writer and will give you the opportunity to know a little more about me before I ride over to Circuit of the Americas on Friday. I hope to receive feedback or commentary throughout the week via Twitter or the comments section below each of these stories.

In the meantime, I can promise some really exciting content that will appear in the coming days and I'll list some of those at the end of this post.

While landing in Atlanta, the co-pilot came over the radio and delivered the most impressive promotional work I've ever heard -- and that says something coming from a former carnival worker, professional wrestling fan and the son of a short track race car driver.

I've heard it all...until today.

"We have some exciting news to share with you this morning,” the co-pilot said. “News that is more exciting than most of our trips and more exciting than the romance of Romeo and Juliet…”

Despite the dramatic build-up, this was only an advertisement to purchase the new Delta Airlines credit card which came with some pretty impressive perks. Whether or not it meets the standards of Shakespeare is best left up to you, the reader.

The reality of what I was about to experience (Formula 1, not the credit card) didn't truly set in until my layover in Atlanta. It was business as usual at one of the busiest airports in the country until I walked over to Terminal 6A – the one leading to Austin.

It was there that I sat down with a truly international crowd of passengers already adorned in their Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari regalia. It was like attending a motorsports convention with some of the biggest names and biggest fans in racing.

Once I got on the plane I was seated beside a Grand-Am Series official and an American Le-Mans team owner as the two discussed the upcoming merger and evolving rules packages for the 2014 combined series debut. I wanted to get their names but they were embroiled in a pretty lively conversation throughout the flight.

The short of the conversation is that the team owners are happy with the merger as sports car racing under one roof and NASCAR’s marketing arm is a huge positive. However, a merged series will mean the end for a lot of careers in 2014.

Anyway, I promised a preview of what sort of content will appear on this blog in the next few days and here's what I can promise. Keep in mind that I'm going to be adding even more as the weekend progresses -- just stay tuned.

Friday:

11:00 CST: Team Red Bull Garage

11:30 CST: Pit Lane Walk

1:00 CST: Free Practice 2

Saturday:

TBD: Roundtable discussion with Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner

1:00 CST Qualifying

7:00 CST Interview with Infiniti’s Director of Global Marketing/F1 Keith St. Claire and Team Red Bull photographer Andrea Sigl

And that’s all prior to Sunday’s Grand Prix. I’ll divulge my race day coverage as the details get ironed out.

In the meantime, the plan is to hit up downtown Austin, say hi to my hosts at Infiniti and report back just how the city is preparing for Formula 1 on the eve of the first official track action at Circuit of the Americas.

To keep up with my Formula 1 adventure, check back to SB Nation F1 for more United States Grand Prix diary entries and follow me on Twitter at @MattWeaverSBN

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