It has been a long time in the making. And personally I was surprised that it would be held in Texas, way down south. I was expecting California or New York to be honest. I suppose Texas is alright as they have loads of land and everything is bigger in Texas.
Also interesting is the fact that this race is the second last race of the season and it is the first time being held here. With the championship so finely balanced between Alonso and Vettel, it will be very hard to predict how it will turn out. And that turnout is so important to the championship as the points between them are so close and there is only one more race after this one. What makes the prediction so hard to do is this track is so new, there are no precedent set. There are no data to work on. We will only know on Friday.
Yes other tracks have the same comment - we'll only know on Friday but teams have years of data already collected and programmed into their simulators. Austin has none. They may be able to simulate the turns, distance, speed and some other factors but how about the surface of the track? Nobody has an idea how the surface is. And Pirelli has gone super safe on that with medium and hard tyres for this race. A one stopper looks good here.
Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery says the race "will be the biggest challenge for us of the year" but thinks the conservative choice of hard and medium tyres won't necessarily mean a boring race.
"Austin is one of just three new tracks for us in Formula One competition this year, alongside Bahrain - which we've tested at previously - and Hockenheim, where we previously raced in GP3," Hembery said. "So in many ways America will be the biggest challenge for us of the year, but stepping into the unknown is a situation that we are used to, last season the majority of tracks were completely new to us. We've chosen the hard and the medium compounds as we think it will be quite a demanding track, based on the asphalt samples and simulation data we have gathered."
But looking at the layout of this track, James Allen seems to think this will be a Red Bull track. It has sectors and turns that resemble other world class classics such as Silverstone, Hockenheim and even Istanbul's turn 8 in reverse. Most of sectors 1 and 3 should be suited to the RB8 and given that the RB8 is the faster car compared to the Ferrari, this will give Vettel a significant advantage in this race.
The circuit officially named The Circuit of The Americas (COTA), is the first in the United States to be purpose-built for Formula One. The layout was conceived by promoter Tavo Hellmund and 1993 Motorcycle World Champion Kevin Schwantz with the assistance of German architect and circuit designer Hermann Tilke, who has also designed the Sepang, Shanghai, Yas Marina, Istanbul, Bahrain, Yeongam, and Buddh circuits, as well as the reprofiling of the Hockenheimring and Fuji Speedway. The observation structure, amphitheater, grand plaza and main grandstands were designed by architectural firm Miró Rivera Architects.
Location : Austin, texas
Capacity : 120,000
Length : 5.516 km
Turns : 20