The Formula 1 circus will land in the United States this weekend. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the United States Grand Prix was not held in 2020 and so we are returning after an absence of a year. Time to take a closer look at the country, the city and the circuit in the run-up to this weekend: Fpal goes America.
As usual, we first take a closer look at the country of the race in this section. We also look at a piece of history, culture, geography and culture. But hey, what else is there to say and learn about perhaps the best-known and most influential country in the world? The history of the US is grand, illustrious and long. The country was discovered in 1492 by the Spanish explorer Christopher Columbus. He was actually looking for India, but suddenly came across the existence of another continent on the other side of the Atlantic. At the time, the country was called ‘The New World’ and from there an illustrious history arose.
The country with 332 million inhabitants is now the country with the most inhabitants after China and India and with an area of almost 10 million square kilometers it is the largest country in the world after Russia and Canada. The country is made up of 50 separately administered states, all of which have some degree of independence. The capital of the country is Washington DC. Other major cities in the country include New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix, and Philadelphia. Joe Biden has been the country’s president since January 20, 2021. He then took over from Donald Trump and a long list of illustrious predecessors. Think of names like John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton.
Americans love entertainment and the country is known for its gigantic entertainment industry, with Hollywood leading the way. In terms of sports, sports such as American football, basketball, baseball, ice hockey are very popular in the US, although people also love racing. Remarkably, Formula 1 is not the most popular racing class in the US. The Americans much prefer to watch a ride IndyCar or NASCAR.
The Formula 1 circus used to run on other circuits in the US, such as the famous race in Indianapolis. We now visit Austin in Texas as a regular fixture. Texas is the second largest state in the US after Alaska and with 28 million inhabitants, it is also the most populous state in the country after California. Texas is also known for the many Mexicans living in the state. After all, the state borders the Mexican border. The Texans are also a very proud people and many residents call themselves Texans rather than Americans. In addition to Austin, cities like Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and El Paso are large, well-known cities. Austin is the capital of the state of Texas and we will be racing there this weekend.
This weekend’s podium: Circuit of the Americas
Back to Formula 1. Time to take a closer look at this weekend’s battlefield. The circuit was introduced to the calendar in 2012 and since then drivers have been pleased with the layout and challenge the track has to offer. Lewis Hamilton in particular is likely to travel to Texas with great pleasure with five wins under his belt, of which four consecutively between 2014 and 2017, Sebastian Vettel, Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas won the remaining races before the circus was forced to skip Austin in 2020.
The circuit is indeed one of a kind. Hermann Tilke’s design is inspired by well-known curves from other circuits. Turns 3 through 6, for example, are reminiscent of Silverstone’s famed Maggotts and Becketts, while Turns 7 and 8 thereafter are based on the Senna-S at Interlagos. According to many drivers, the first sector is fast-paced and exciting, while the second and third sectors are a bit slower and require more technique from the helmsmen. Turn 10 is also an interesting one. The drivers arrive there at full speed at a point where it seems the track is ending as it goes up. The riders suddenly start a section there, which is why it is also called ‘the end of the world’.
Of course, this time we also take some memorable moments from Texas. One of Austin’s iconic, memorable moments comes from 2015. Lewis Hamilton won his third world championship in the US by outrunning teammate Nico Rosberg in mixed conditions. Rosberg, fighting for his last chances in the title race, made a crucial steering error eight laps before the end of the race, which allowed Hamilton to pass him and drive towards victory. The points resulted in an unbridgeable deficit for Rosberg and The Hammer was allowed to add his third world title.
The images from the cooldown room are also definitely worth looking up. Hamilton, certainly in ecstasy by his victory, throws the hat of second place to teammate Rosberg. The German, clearly stunned after his mistake, was not pleased and threw the hat back to the brand new world champion. It creates an awkward situation and therefore provides us with beautiful images. Incidentally, Max Verstappen also drove a hell of a race that year. He drove his Toro Rosso from P10 towards fourth place.
Back to the present
With this history in mind, it’s time to focus on next weekend. The men return to Texas and it promises to be another exciting weekend. Verstappen arrives with a meager six-point gap to attacker Lewis Hamilton in the state capital and he will have his claws full on the Briton. Connoisseurs expect Mercedes as the parent party in the US and so it is again a matter of waiting for all Verstappen fans.
Friday October 22
VT1: 6:30 PM VT2: 10:00 PM
Saturday October 23
VT3: 8:00 PM Kwali: 11:00 PM
Sunday 24 October
Race: 9:00 PM