COTA Hospitality Guide: Podium Club, Paddock Club & more

Alex Gassman

by Alex Gassman

COTA paddock club hospitality F1 Grand Prix in Austin

The are a number of COTA hospitality options for the F1 in Austin. These include the Paddock Club, Podium Club, Plaza Club, private suites, cabanas and more.

This article provides a guide to all of the different hospitality offerings at Circuit of the Americas for the United States Grand Prix.

Contents

COTA hospitality options

The hospitality options at COTA for the Formula One fall in to two categories – shared hospitality and private hospitality.

The shared hospitality options are:

  • Velocity Lounge main grandstand
  • Podium Club Turn 20
  • Plaza Club Turn 19
  • Club SI Turn 12
  • Paddock Club pit road

The private hospitality options are:

  • Main grandstand suites
  • Main grandstand loge boxes
  • Turn 13 trackside suites
  • Turn 13 cabanas
  • Turn 1 cabanas

All of the hospitality options above are run by COTA themselves with the exception of the Paddock Club, which is run by F1 Experiences, part of the Formula One group.

There used to be a Tower Club shared hospitality area at the base of the COTA Tower but that isn’t an option this year.

The map below shows where each of these hospitality areas is located around the circuit. For more information on the different ways to get in to the circuit, read our guide to COTA entrances.

COTA hospitality - shared options

With the exception of the Paddock Club, the shared hospitality options at the US GP have had very mixed reviews over the last few years, especially the COTA Podium Club and Club SI. 

One of the main negatives of the COTA shared hospitality options is that they don’t have reserved seating, instead it’s first-come first-served. 

Not every vantage point in each of the shared hospitality areas is that great, so being able to see the action relies on grabbing a good seat. To do this it’s a bit of a free for all when the spectator entrance gates open, mainly on the Sunday, as the best seats are often taken almost right away. 

They can also feel overcrowded on the Saturday and Sunday of a weekend, resulting in big queues for food, drink or the restrooms. 

The Paddock Club is truly an incredible experience; as well as having great spaces, views and catering it also offers amazing experiences such as track tours, pitlane walks and private talks from F1 drivers. 

None of the COTA shared hospitality options offer experiences like this, they just provide a space for you to hang out and watch from. Bear that in mind before splurging thousands of dollars on what COTA try and sell you as a ‘VIP experience’.

Below is a look at each of the hospitality areas in a little more detail

Velocity Lounge

The Velocity Lounge is located at the back of the Main Grandstand building and is only available for people who’ve purchased Club Level (200 level) reserved seats within the stand – access comes included with those tickets.

The lounge looks away from the circuit but has its own bar, lounge seating and tables with a bunch of massive screens showing the action.

You’re close to the podium and the 200 level seating will give you a view of the race winner lifting the US GP trophy.

More information on Club Level seating can be found on the COTA Main Grandstand guide. There’s also a useful video showing the lounge here.

Podium Club

The COTA Podium Club is an entry-level hospitality option for the Formula One United States GP but tickets still cost around $2500 each for the 3-day weekend.

The Podium Club is located on the outside of the final corner, and is actually made up of two separate tents; one parallel to the track between Turns 19 and 20, and one parallel to the main straight.

It has a single level outdoor seating area and an indoor lounge and bar area. Views from outdoors are good but this area isn’t fully shaded so it can get too uncomfortable in the sun. Views from indoors under the shade of the tent are pretty restricted as there will be lots of people in front of you, but there are a number of TVs dotted around that let you see the action.

COTA’s promotional material says the Podium Club’s location gives you amazing views of the last-ditch overtaking attempts that happen here, but the reality is that not a lot of overtaking goes on at Turn 20.  You can see the cars approaching you from the left as they exit Turn 19 and then disappear away from you down the main straight once they’ve left turn 20. To get a good view of Turn 1 you’d probably need some binoculars as it’s away in the distance.

You are also in prime position for the podium celebrations at the end of the race, and have very easy access to get on to the circuit for the track invasion.

Drinks are included but food, which can be pretty poor quality, has to be purchased at extra cost.

There are some comprehensive reviews of the COTA Podium Club ‘experience’ here. Make sure you read these before booking as they are pretty enlightening, to say the least.

Plaza Club

The COTA Plaza Club is one step up from the Podium Club, with all-inclusive food and drink for the whole weekend and slightly nicer interior surroundings.

The layout is very similar to the Podium Club with both indoor and outdoor areas, except this time it’s just one tent. It’s located on the outside of Turn 19 at 90 degrees to the Turn 19 Grandstand. The Plaza Club has views of the cars as they exit Turn 18, apex Turn 19 and run down to Turn 20.

Just like the Podium Club, in the past the ‘executive restrooms’ have been temporary trailers with a few stalls in them and the queues can get pretty long at peak times.

Club SI (Sports Illustrated)

COTA Club SI is a two-storey shared hospitality area, located alongside the Turn 12 grandstand right at the start of the stadium section. It’s more expensive than the Podium and Plaza Clubs, usually costing around $5000 per person for the weekend.

It has both indoor and outdoor seating areas, and the outdoor area is shaded. Food and drink is all included throughout the weekend. Here’s a look at the lounge area within Club SI.

Views from here are great; not only can you see everything from Turn 12 to Turn 16, where lots of overtaking happens, but the high vantage point also means you can see across the track to Turn 1 and the high speed ‘esses’ of Turns 3 to 6. Read our article on the COTA Turn 12 grandstand view for more info on what can be seen from Club SI.

Reviews of the COTA Club SI experience are pretty mixed. This Redditer had a pretty good experience. The one below, however, did not.

Paddock Club

The Paddock Club at COTA is the most expensive VIP hospitality experience you can have at the F1 GP at Austin. It’s hosted by F1 texperiences who always deliver a fantastic package and truly make you feel like an A-list VIP.

Unlike all of the COTA shared hospitality, the Paddock Club is a full experience. It includes Pitlane walks, garage tours, a tour of the track on a driver’s parade truck, appearances and talks from F1 drivers, live music, driving simulators, world class food and more.

Add to that it has amazing views directly overlooking the pitlane and you can see why this is the best of the COTA hospitality offerings. You’d hope so anyway for $10000 a ticket.

Here is a very comprehensive review of the whole COTA Paddock Club experience from a ‘normal person’.

Paddock club balcony at the F1 Austin at Circuit of the Americas

COTA hospitality - private options

The private hospitality options are great for corporate entertainment as you can hire an entire space for your whole party, at a cost, and get a great level of service. These are all provided by COTA, and whilst none are a true ‘experience’ like the Paddock Club, they do give you a very comfortable and luxurious way to enjoy the F1 weekend at Austin.

Main Grandstand suites

Located at the very top of the main grandstand above the Club level seating area, these suites have a great vantage point looking over the main straight, Turns 20 and 1, pit lane and the podium.

They each feature a private indoor area that can fit either 16, 22 or 32 people, plus an outdoor balcony with private seating and standing areas that’s fully shaded.  

Here’s a video of the VIP experience in a main grandstand suite during the F1.

Main grandstand suite outdoor balcony at COTA
Main Grandstand suite at Circuit of the Americas

Main Grandstand Loge boxes

The Loge boxes are just above ground level on either side of the main grandstand. They are sat behind the trackside bleacher viewing areas, but high enough to look directly over them. The eastern boxes have a great view of Turn 1, the western ones have a better view of Turn 20 and the podium.

Each box can seat 8 people and comes with a dedicated food and drinks service. These are outdoor boxes but all have huge umbrella to keep you out of the shade all day. If it’s heavy rain though you’ll probably still get a bit wet.

This is a nice to way to experience some VIP treament whilst still being part of the great atmosphere in the main grandstand.

Loge box COTA hospitality option for the F1 in Austin

Turn 13 trackside suites

Much like the main grandstand suites the Turn 13 suites have a private indoor area with food, drink, A/C, large TV and seating. The difference here is that the outdoor area is on the roof of the suite and gives a 360 degree view.

Inside the suites will have views of turns 12 to 16 but the roof terraces will have amazing views that also cover turns 1 to 6,  plus the run through turns 7 to 9, making this one of the best vantage points at the whole circuit.

Turn 13 trackside suites at Circuit of the Americas

Turn 13 cabanas

The Turn 13 cabanas are located along the left-hand side of the track between turns 12 and 13. They are elevated off the ground and have a view looking in towards the full stadium section covering turns 12 to 16, and you can also peer out the back of them to catch a few glimpses of what’s going on across the circuit.

The cabanas are as they sound – glorified tipis that offer some shade, but without any permanent walls or doors there’s no A/C. The outdoor viewing areas are unshaded but you are very close to the action.

Turn 13 cabanas at COTA hospitality option

Turn 1 cabanas

The Turn 1 cabanas have the same setup as those at Turn 13. This time, however, they have an amazing view by being positioned right on the exit of the first corner.

Turn 1 always sees a lot of action, thanks to the circuit getting a lot narrower as the corner progresses. In the F1 race in 2022 Carlos Sainz was spun out at this spot on the first lap and the 2023 Nascar Cup series race saw multiple incidents right here.

Carloz Sainz spins at at COTA F1 United States Grand prix at Austin

COTA hospitality - what to wear

There is a dress code for the COTA hospitality areas.

See our article on the Austin F1 dress code for full details and example of what to wear.

Alex Gassman

I‘m Alex. I write F1 and motorsport travel guides based on my experience as racing driver and full-time motorsport nerd. I’ve traveled the world watching F1 and other racing series.

I started oversteer48 with the aim of helping other motorsport fans who are planning on watching some racing themselves.

leave a comment

Subscribe
Notify of
guest
0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

latest COTA guides

Free email guide

What to expect on your trip to the F1 at COTA

Free email with my tips to help remove any doubts, questions or fears you might have.