Formula 1 has not had an easy time of it in the United States. Despite its huge international audience –over 500 million viewers in nearly 200 countries –it’s never quite managed to take hold here. With no US team or driver since the shutdown of the US F1 team in 2010, and with no US F1 champion driver since Mario Andretti in 1978, American motorsports fans have largely contented themselves with the pleasures of NASCAR and IndyCar racing, Formula 1, despite its juggernaut status in the rest of the world, has been relegated to also-ran status as far as American audiences are concerned.
The most vivid memory for most American motorsports fans of Formula 1 isn’t a pretty one –in the 2005 United States Grand Prix over half the teams pulled out over tire concerns, prompting a near-riot from furious fans; and as recently as 2009 F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone said that Formula 1 would never return to the United States.
But American Formula 1 fans now have something to rejoice over –for the first time since 2007, Formula 1 is back in the USA. From the 16th through the 18th of November, the US Grand Prix will be held at the newly constructed “Circuit of the Americas” track in Austin, Texas, and the return of the Formula 1 championship circuit to the United States is being celebrated in style by Hublot, the official watch of Formula 1, with the F1 King Power Austin.
The 48mm case is in satin finished titanium; the bezel is styled after a brake disc, and is also in titanium (edged with carbon fiber) and it’s held in place with 6 “H” (naturally) shaped titanium screws. The push pieces stand boldly out from the case and are covered in black rubber with racing-red inserts, and the dial picks up the red as well, contrasting it with charcoal grey, with the Formula 1 logo placed (rather discreetly) under the Hublot logo at 12:00. There’s just a touch of blue placed on the chronograph minutes register, and while the racing references –and the red, white and blue color scheme –are unmistakable references to both Formula 1 and the USA, it’s done with pleasing subtlety; it’s a ruggedly styled sporting chronograph you’d be happy to wear regardless of the F1 affiliation, and it does an excellent job of avoiding the Cracker Jack prize vibe that themed watches so often run afoul of.
In a limited edition of 250 pieces, it’s an apt symbol and celebration of F1’s return to American soil –and a symbol of the hopes of US F1 fans that this time, Formula 1 is here to stay.
In titanium only, and offered on a black hornback alligator strap with contrasting red stitching, the F1 King Power Austin is offered at $25,200.