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Formula One: PR strikes at Austin City Hall

Thu, 23 Jun 2011

Free Formula One gear is good, right? That’s what those in charge of F1 public relations seem to think ahead of the Austin City Council’s vote on the Austin Grand Prix racetrack project on Thursday.

Formula One baseball caps, water bottles and bumper stickers were handed out at the Austin City Hall as part of a public-relations campaign, according to KUT News. In fact, when City Council members looked out upon the crowd, they saw white F1 caps among the crowd of more than 250 people.

Many of those present were out in support of the project, with 243 people signing up to speak in favor of the Austin F1 racetrack. Another 26 people signed up to speak against the project and three signed up as neutral, according to KUT.

However, the news outlet discovered many of the promoters were being paid for their presence.

“[Our bosses] told us that they want us all to come down and vote, and support,” Abel Leon told KUT News. Leon was one of a large number of construction workers who work at the site of the Circuit of the Americas.

“We’re getting paid to be here,” Davonna Long, also a construction worker, told KUT News. She said she believes that F1 would be good for Austin.

“I think it would continue more jobs for the people that need jobs. I have five kids that I take care of, and I need this job,” Long said.

The Austin City Council is scheduled to vote on the project later Thursday.

By Brad Constant