Austin

An Inside Look at the Austin Grand Prix, According to Famed Formula 1 Drivers

Red Bull's Sergio "Checo" Perez and Mercedes ambassador Esteban Gutiérrez talk F1 culture-and all its glamour, drama, and hard work.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez

Despite a storied history and devoted international fanbase, Formula 1 racing has only just recently found mainstream popularity in the US. The sport that’s become synonymous with dollar signs and danger has seen a steady spike in viewership over the past four years, with a 47% increase since 2021 alone-some of which I’m sure we can attribute to the prodigious success of drama-filled Netflix docu-series Drive to Survive.To put it plainly, F1 is unlike anything you’ll catch in the ESPN highlight reels, and not just because of the 200 mph speeds. It’s an entire world behind velvet rope-one with a lineup of A-list spectators, luxury brand sponsorships, and celebratory Champagne showers. The latter of which you can expect with only the crème de la crème of bubbly. Formula 1 racing has earned a reputation as the world’s most glamorous sport, and one with rising prestige at that. The smell of burnt rubber and gasoline has become a status symbol. And what can we say? Everyone loves a bad boy.

The Austin Grand Prix is a pinnacle of the season-especially with its rising star power in America-and boasts peak prestige as celebrities and Formula 1 royalty alike descend upon the Lonestar State. For the athletes themselves, the Circuit of the Americas is an important stop as their season rounds the corner towards its finish. For fire-hot Red Bull racing star, Sergio “Checo” Perez, who was recently crowned Singapore Grand Prix champ, it’s about repeating his success and propelling that momentum into the remaining competitions.

Esteban Gutiérrez
Esteban Gutiérrez
Esteban Gutiérrez

“It’s obviously a very big race for us,” Checo told Thrillist. “The season is coming to an end. It’s a weekend where we all want to do well, where we all want to succeed, and do things right … The circuit is very [challenging]. It has very high-speed corners, very low-speed ones so it’s certainly a test.”

Former F1 star-turned-Mercedes ambassador and Edasi founder Esteban Gutiérrez echoes Checo’s sentiments, calling the competition one of the “most popular,” especially as it falls back-to-back with the similarly beloved Mexican GP.

“I’m looking forward to experiencing the energy of the fans at these races, as we are currently undergoing a period of change in F1 due to the increased popularity of the sport,” Gutiérrez said.

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez

As I’m sure you guessed-remember those Champagne showers and luxury brand sponsors?-the culture of Formula 1 extends beyond the confines of a race track. But it’s more than just the opulence. The sport is a political one too, as Gutiérrez notes himself, adding that they are always “pushing boundaries and facing pressure to maximize every opportunity.” Drivers are forced to navigate the complex relationships between their own team, sponsors, other teams, and fellow competitors.

“It’s part of the sport,” Checo said. “It’s part of the competition. You want to beat them on the track, off the track, and the competition never really settles.”

And while it might seem like all glamour-after all, even Checo himself is teaming up with Cash App for a string of VIP activations across Austin and actually cash giveaways-the sport is, more so than anything, about the grind.

“Formula 1 from the outside has a lot of glamour. It’s a pinnacled sport, but once you are in it, it’s all about hard work, dedication, commitment, and making sure everyone wins. It’s a team sport,” Checo said.One thing the pair seems to agree on? The level of talent it takes to achieve that success they’re driving for.

“It is such a high-stakes sport,” Gutiérrez concludes. “There is an abundance of fierce competition and drama. The amount of sheer innovation and science that goes into creating these machines is magnificent. Everything about it is the best in the world-the drivers to the technology.”

Megan Schaltegger is a news writer at Thrillist. She likes strong coffee, discussing celebs like they’re personal friends, and her dog, Marshall. She promises not to speak about herself in third person IRL.

Austin

Get Lucky at These Irish Bars in Austin

Drink a green pint on St Patrick's Day at these Irish bars in Austin.

Photo by Melissa Vinsik, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by Melissa Vinsik, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by Melissa Vinsik, courtesy of Cork + Barrel

In the midst of all the SXSW chaos, it helps to remember that there’s a rainbow at the festival’s end-that is, the hangover-blessing we’ve been granted of having St. Patrick’s Day 2023 fall on a Friday. Whether you attribute this small win to the Gregorian calendar or the luck of the Irish, it’s sure to amp up the already liver-damaging activities associated with this cultural celebration. However, √Čire is more than just leprechauns and Colin Farrell-it’s a breathtaking land full of warm, welcoming, and good-hearted people. Fortunately, there’s a way you can get a taste of the Republic’s spirit, and a dark stout, at the same time by hitting up one of Austin’s various Irish pubs. From cozy, intimate spaces decked out like small taverns in Cobh, to modern dives with all the party energy of Temple Bar, our list has the best spots in the city to “erin go bragh” all out on March 17.

Photo by Jane Yun, courtesy of BD Rileys
Photo by Jane Yun, courtesy of BD Rileys
Photo by Jane Yun, courtesy of BD Rileys

B.D. Riley’s Irish Pub at Mueller

Mueller
With a giant model of a beer tap literally decorating their front door, you can’t miss B.D Riley’s, nor doubt that this East Austin hang is a spot to down some serious brewskis. And its name, and perfect pours of Guinness, aren’t the only aspects they draw from the Emerald Isle-the entire pub itself was actually designed and built in Dundalk, Ireland, and shipped over for assembly in Bat City. Such authentic decor calls for equally authentic sounds, therefore, on St. Patrick’s Day, B.D. Riley’s will feature an all-day, four-artist bill of live, trad-inspired music. So, while you may not start the day knowing all the words to “The Galway Girl,” you are bound to sing along by last call.

Kelly’s Irish Pub

Bouldin Creek
Having only opened this past December, Kelly’s is the new kid with a brogue on the block. Occupying the space which formerly housed tapas restaurant Winebelly, this pub had big shoes to fill for South Austin barflies, but quickly won them over with an impressive whiskey selection and friendly atmosphere. A big reason behind the real deal √Čire vibes can, most likely, be chalked up to the fact that one of Kelly’s owners was actually born and bred in Ireland-and the dedication to delivering a true-to-life experience is evident in everything from the shepherd’s pie to the witty bartenders. For St. Patrick’s Day, they are getting the party started early with live music and an opening time of 8 am.

Photo courtesy of Jack & Ginger's
Photo courtesy of Jack & Ginger’s
Photo courtesy of Jack & Ginger’s

Jack & Ginger’s

The Domain
While The Domain may boast more bars than you can shake a shamrock at, there’s only one spot in the North Austin entertainment behemoth that can be properly called an Irish pub: Jack & Ginger’s. Start off the night with selecting a tasting flight from their over 82 beers on tap, then, move onto shots poured straight from their Irish Whiskey Tours-after loosening up with a round or two, you might just find yourself with the gift of gab. And, before snapping a selfie over Jack & Ginger’s see-through glass floor, balance out that buzz with food offerings like a giant soft pretzel or a round of fried pickles.

Photo courtesy of Foxy's Proper Pub
Photo courtesy of Foxy’s Proper Pub
Photo courtesy of Foxy’s Proper Pub

Foxy’s Proper Pub

Downtown
Here’s a spot that visibly radiates with Irish pride-at Foxy’s, the glow of green beams out from the bar’s lighted panels, and across their chandelier made of Jameson bottles. When it comes to cups and chow, their commitment to the theme continues-the use of the word,”proper,” in the pub’s name alone indicates you’re in for a heavy pour of the standards. Consequently, the taps are abundant with essential Irish sips, including Guinness, Magners, and Smithwick’s. With Lone Star on draft, there’s also a nod to Texas tradition as well. But don’t fear if you’re bored of beer-Foxy’s variety of whiskey-based cocktails will let you switch it up (and still keep it Celtic). March 17 will find them celebrating with live music, whiskey tastings, and swag giveaways.

Photo by LEVY Architects, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by LEVY Architects, courtesy of Cork + Barrel
Photo by LEVY Architects, courtesy of Cork + Barrel

Cork & Barrel Craft Kitchen + Microbrewery

Round Rock
Compared to a flight to Dublin, the 30-minute drive to Round Rock’s Cork & Barrel is much more convenient-not to mention, won’t require waiting in a TSA line. A mix between a modern Austin beer garden and a historical Irish pub, this spot’s spacious interior and expansive outdoor patio guarantees there will be enough room for the whole crew to cheer “sl√°inte.” And, their microbrewery’s signature beers are the ideal drinks to do such a toast with. The menu of specially crafted drafts includes a blueberry wheat, an Irish red ale, and a vanilla stout. This St. Patrick’s Day also marks Cork & Barrel’s two-year anniversary, and they are throwing down for the double-celebration with live music, yard games, Irish food specials, and plentiful amounts of green beer and Irish Car Bombs.

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Molly Moltzen is a Thrillist contributor.

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