Will America Ever Love Formula One?

The Grand Prix is coming to America. To Austin, TX next year, and New Jersey come 2013. But will it take? GQ editor Daniel Riley beholds the sport and spectacle of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. And runs into his famous neighbor at the afterparty:

Someone has ordered a glass container of champagne that can hardly be called a bottle because it’s even larger than the ones the race winner will shower his fans with on Sunday night. When a notable order is placed, a procession of lycra dresses and the girls they’re half-concealing fire up sparklers and lead the purchase to its new owner. During each sparkler session, the dark goes light for a moment, the eyes of most men trailing one of the marching women whose ass looks as though it was conceived by a balloon artist. On one such occasion, I spot something across the room that’s familiar, un-mistakable, from my neighborhood in New York: Adrien Brody’s nose.

He’s all alone, black blazer and black V-neck, thumbing his phone like a twelve-year-old whose friends are late meeting him at the movies. He looks around every few minutes, sadly, until finally a table of what appear to be rich, local Emiratis invites him to drink with them. Like me, he sips wordlessly, probably a little unsure. But then we are saved: a troupe of cross-dressing pirates appears. We can relax in our silence, and watch.

The pirates, mostly women with mascara mustaches doing a sort of Beaux Arts Jack Sparrow thing, assume a ballet dancer’s fourth or fifth position atop scattered booths, and one, suitably flexible, arranges herself in a chandelier that’s affixed with champagne bottles. The pirates are all clearly waiting for something to happen, for someone to start. But the DJ carries on aimlessly, sparking a fellow on the other side of the room, a pirate midget it turns out, to hop from his perch, commit to a short-legged sprint across the dance floor, and reprimand the DJ for his mis-timing. Then it happens: the music is cued, the dancing commences, the champagne-chandelier acrobat twists toward the ceiling. Adrien Brody looks happier.