Peter Westmacott

Former Ambassador to the United States of America

Part of UK in USA

20th November 2012 Washington DC, USA

Austin Triumphs with Formula One

There is always a bit of uncertainty, even apprehension, when you embark on a big new adventure. So it was a real pleasure to witness on Sunday the great success, under a cloudless sky, that was Austin’s first ever Formula One Grand Prix motor race.

Watching the Austin Grand Prix
Watching the Austin Grand Prix

A brand new racetrack, with a design which had rave reviews even before anyone had driven it, the warmest of welcomes from Governor Perry, the Mayor and people of Austin, countless State officials, business people and the volunteers of Texas One, the state’s economic development partnership. A weekend of enjoyable events, some designed to remind us how keen Austin was to remain the capital of weird, others simply the supporters of Formula One making sure their guests had a good time. It was a great mixture.

And on the Circuit of the Americas, a great inaugural race in front of a near-capacity crowd of over 100,000 spectators. Even though the sport as a whole is genuinely international, with engines, components and drivers from all over the world, it’s sometimes difficult for us Brits to take sides, because eight of the twelve Formula teams are based in the UK. But it’s always a source of pride when one of your own comes first, so I’m delighted to join millions of others in congratulating Lewis Hamilton and the McLaren team on their fourth victory of the season—a victory that was not decided until the final straight of the fifty-sixth lap. On now to the final race of the season at São Paolo in two weeks’ time.

Beyond the thrill of the race, it’s good to see advanced automotive technology developed in Formula One making a difference across the board—even to public health. Monitoring systems developed by McLaren are now used to monitor the condition of patients in hospitals. Shell executives told me at the race that the cleaner, better fuel and lubricant technologies they have developed to maximize the performance of the race cars are also used to make the products we buy at the gas station cleaner, greener and more efficient.

Thousands of visitors, and millions who watched the race on television, will have formed a wonderfully positive impression of the capital of the Lone Star State and its people. Many, I am sure will be back next year. Congratulations to Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Formula One—and Austin.

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About Peter Westmacott

Sir Peter Westmacott, KCMG, LVO was the British Ambassador to the United States from January 2012 to January 2016. He was born in the village of Edington, Somerset in the…

Sir Peter Westmacott, KCMG, LVO was the British Ambassador to the United States from January 2012 to January 2016.

He was born in the village of Edington, Somerset in the South West of
England in December 1950. He was educated at New College Oxford and
joined the Diplomatic Service in 1972.

After a year in the Middle East Department, and Persian language
training, Ambassador Westmacott was posted to Tehran in 1974. In 1978 he
was loaned to the European Commission in Brussels, before being posted
to Paris from 1980 to 1984.
After 3 years as Chief of Staff to successive Ministers of State in
London, he went to Ankara in 1987, for the first of his two diplomatic
postings to Turkey.
From 1990 to 1993, he was Deputy Private Secretary to HRH The Prince of Wales.
From 1993 to 1997, Ambassador Westmacott was Counsellor for Political
and Public Affairs in Washington, before returning to the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office as Director, Americas.
He joined the Board of the FCO in 2000 as Deputy Under Secretary and returned to Ankara as Ambassador in 2002.
In 2007 he moved to Paris where he served as Ambassador to France until the end of 2011.
Peter married Susie Nemazee in 2001. Between them they have four grown children, Oliver, Laura, Rupert and Safieh.