Race Preview

14-17 NOVEMBER 2013

For the penultimate race of the 2013 season, Formula One makes it way to Texas and Austin’s Circuit of the Americas, the second time the sport has visited the 5.513km track.Immediately popular with most F1 drivers on its inauguration last year, the counter-clockwise circuit is an intriguing blend of corner types, with sections modelled on famous stretches of some of the world’s most celebrated grand prix tracks.The first sector in particular was singled out for praise by many drivers due to the challenge presented by its first corner, approached up a steep hill and featuring a blind apex, and because of the rapid changes of direction through turns four to six, said to resemble the Maggots-Becketts complex at Silverstone.Sector two contains a long straight ending in a good overtaking opportunity at Turn 12, while the final sector is a more technical stretch similar in style to Hockenheim’s stadium section and the tricky Turn 19, a downhill medium-speed left-hander which many branded the toughest corner on the track to get right.18_USA_E_72DPI 

Last year’s race was notable for high track evolution over the weekend and cold weather that made getting tyres up to optimum working temperature difficult.

With Sebastian Vettel and his Red Bull Racing team untouchable in the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships attention turns to the runners-up spots, particularly in the teams’ competition. There, Mercedes, on 334 points, have an 11-point lead over Ferrari. However, the momentum is marginally with the Silvers Arrows, who have scored 67 points over the last four races compared with the Prancing Horse’s 49.

In the driver’s battle, with third-placed Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus set to miss the final two rounds of the season, second-placed Fernando Alonso of Ferrari looks certain to claim the runners-up spot.



Length of lap: 5.513km
Lap record: 
(Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull Racing, 2012)
Start/finish line offset: 0.323km
Total number of race laps: 56
Total race distance: 308.405km
Pitlane speed limits:
80km/h throughout the weekend.

► Removable kerbs, 50mm high, similar to those used at the apex of Turns Eight and Nine in Abu Dhabi, have been installed at the apex of Turns Three, Four and Five. Similar kerbs, 75mm high, have been placed at the apex of Turns Seven and Nine.

► There will be two DRS zones at COTA. The detection point of the first will be 150 metres after Turn 10, with the activation point 320m after Turn 11. The second zone’s detection point will be 65m after Turn 18, with the activation point 80m after Turn 20, just before the start/finish line.


United States GP

Fast Facts

► Including Austin, Formula One has staged races at 10 different venues in the United States. Indianapolis Motor Speedway kicked things off with races from 1950-1960 and then staged the US GP again from 2000-2007. Following Indianapolis’ first stint, F1 World Championship races have also been held at Sebring (1959), Riverside (1960), Watkins Glen (1961-’80), Long Beach (1976-’83), Las Vegas (1981-’82), Detroit (1982-’88), Dallas (1984) and Phoenix (1989-’91).

► Alan Jones is the only driver to win at more than two US venues. The Australian racer took his first victory on American soil at the 1980 US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen and the following year he won races at Long Beach and Las Vegas. All three triumphs were achieved at the wheel of Williams cars.

► Lewis Hamilton is the only current driver to have won at more than one US circuit. The Briton took his second grand prix victory at the 2007 race in Indianapolis and landed his 21st win at last year’s inaugural Austin event. On both occasions he was driving for McLaren.

► Michael Schumacher is the most successful Formula One driver at races designated as the United States Grand Prix. The seven-time champion won five times at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, in 2000 and from 2003-’06. The German’s 2005 win was notorioulsy scored at the grand prix with the fewest starters in F1 history. Just six cars raced the ’05 event after questions over tyre safety caused the withdrawal of 14 cars.

► Next on the list of biggest winners are Jim Clark and Graham Hill, with three wins each. The pair dominated the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen for a six-year spell in the 1960s, with Clark winning in 1962 and then claiming back-to-back victories in 1966-’67. Hill, meanwhile, rattled off a hat-trick of wins from 1963-’65.

► Ayrton Senna is the most successful driver at multiple US venues. The three-time Formula One champion took two United States Grand Prix wins in 1990 and 1991 in Phoenix. He also won the Detroit Grand Prix three times from 1986-’88.

► Though California’s Alexander Rossi will take part in this weekend’s first practice session, the last US driver to start a home grand prix was Scott Speed in 2007. Driving for Toro Rosso, he started 20th and finished 13th at Indianapolis. Speed made his GP weekend debut with Red Bull Racing at the Canadian Grand Prix in 2005 in a practice session and made his race debut for Toro Rosso the following year in the opening round in Bahrain. He made 29 more starts for Toro Rosso before losing his race seat after the 2007 European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. His replacement? None other than four-time champion elect Sebastian Vettel.

► If Vettel wins this weekend, he will take the outright record for most consecutive wins in a single season. Vettel currently has seven wins in a row to his credit.

“My best win”, says Hamilton at Circuit of The Americas™
Title fight continues to Brazil with Vettel, Alonso on Austin podium

AUSTIN, Texas (Nov. 18, 2012) – Lewis Hamilton produced one of his finest performances to win the inaugural United States Grand Prix for McLaren Mercedes at the Circuit of the Americas™.
Hamilton passed polewinner Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull on lap 42 of 56 with a clean move at the end of the DRS zone into Turn 12 to claim his fourth win of 2012 and the 21st of his Formula 1 career.
“That was my best win, guys!” yelled a delighted Hamilton to his pit crew, whom he leaves at the end of this season. “That was wicked!”
With Vettel second, the title fight continues to the last race in Brazil as Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari again fought through the field for the final podium position.
Alonso started seventh after teammate Felipe Massa took a late five-place penalty but the Spaniard rocketed through to fourth by the end of the opening lap.
Vettel now leads by 13 points with 25 more on offer next Sunday.
In a clean, absorbing race there were only two retirements. The first was Jean-Eric Vergne in the Toro Rosso, the second was Vettel’s Red Bull teammate Mark Webber. The Australian was running third when he fell victim to another apparent alternator failure, a gremlin that has plagued the Renault-engined team this season.
Despite that, Vettel’s 18 points mean Red Bull have clinched their third straight constructors’ title.



F1 drivers hail “spectacular” Circuit of The Americas™ Enjoyable challenge lies ahead

AUSTIN, Texas (Nov. 15, 2012) – Superlatives were the order of the day when six Formula 1 drivers faced the first official press conference of the first FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas Thursday.  

Among them was Fernando Alonso, the Ferrari star who is gunning for his third drivers’ world title this weekend with Ferrari. “The track seems spectacular, very, very nice, it will be challenging for us drivers and for the engineers as well,” said the 31-year-old Spaniard.   Like most of the 24-driver field, Alonso, a three-time winner in 2012,  already ‘knows’ the circuit thanks to technology.  “We did some simulator programs after Singapore,” explained Alonso, “then we started getting a little bit more intense this week.”   Alonso also resorted to a less sophisticated method: “We also did two laps on the bicycle and hope to do some more this afternoon,” he added. “I think it will be a good show for everybody and hopefully some good overtaking opportunities around the track so it can be a really good weekend.”  

Another F1 world champion, Lewis Hamilton, agreed: “It’s quite difficult to learn initially but it looks fantastic to drive,” said the Englishman who is going into his second to last race with the McLaren Mercedes team. “I really started to enjoy it once I got used to it – it took perhaps a little bit longer than some other circuits to learn, but it’s going to be very interesting this weekend.”  

Alonso’s title rival, Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, was a little more circumspect: “We have to wait until we get out [on track] until we have a judgement on how the circuit feels,” said the reigning champion. “It looks quite interesting but it’s the feeling inside the car which I think is most important so I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”  

Veteran Pedro de la Rosa of the HRT team acknowledged the challenge that lies ahead on the 3.4-mile Texas track.   “It looks like a very difficult track with very big gradient changes and most of the corners are blind,” said De la Rosa, whose team’s future is in some doubt with the news this week that it is up for sale. “It’s going to be difficult and challenging.  

Kimi Raikkonen, winner of the last Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi for Lotus, just got into Austin and couldn’t offer an opinion, but

Sergio Perez summed it up neatly: “I walked the track and it’s amazing,” said the 22-year-old Mexican. “It will be very enjoyable for all the drivers.”