In an effort to not only learn more about Formula 1 racing, but to drum up business for Texas overseas, Governor Rick Perry spent the weekend in Italy. Perry met with both government and business leaders during the TexasOne funded seven-day trip. According to Perry in a September 10 teleconference with the media, it turned out to be a “valuable and extraordinary trip.”
Governor Perry met with Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti and Israeli President Shimon Peres to discuss investment and trade with Texas. He also spoke at the 38th Annual Ambrosetti Intelligence on the World, Europe and Italy Forum on September 7 to promote Texas’ business opportunities. Perry attended the Formula One Italian Grand Prix on September 9 to get an idea of what residents can expect when the Grand Prix comes to Austin in November. He compared the intensity of the Italian Grand Prix crowd to that of Texas die hard football fans. The governor also said that because the European economy is stifled at this time, many businesses are looking to Texas as an attractive alternative.
Formula One is the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the FIA. The F1 season consists of a series of races known as Grand Prix that are held on purpose-built circuits and also on public roads throughout the world. Formula One cars are among the fastest circuit-racing cars in the world, reaching speeds up to 210 mph. In 2010, Formula One had a total global television audience of 527 million people.
Formula One’s economic effect and jobs creation in the U.S. is significant. Its high profile and popularity make the organization a merchandising environment, which results in great investments from sponsors and budgets in the hundreds of millions for the constructors. The 2012 Formula One U.S. Grand Prix is scheduled at the COTA facility under construction southeast of Austin on November 16-18. Once fully operational, The United States Grand Prix events should attract about 1.2 million visitors each year, with an expected total spending of $400-500 million in 2012.