Charlie Whiting gives Circuit of the Americas ‘Grade 1’ status
Whiting is greatly impressed with the new venue
Formula 1’s race director Charlie Whiting has given the new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas ‘Grade 1’ status, after inspecting the track and its surrounding facilities ahead of November’s inaugural race around the 3.427-mile circuit. The track, like many new F1 circuits, has once again been designed by German architect Hermann Tilke.
Since the 2007 United States Grand Prix around the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway infield circuit, Formula 1 has failed to return to America for a race. However, this season will finally see the sport visit the United States once again, with what should be a thrilling penultimate race of the season. The new venue in Texas initially raised suspicion, what with the local NASCAR Sprint and Nationwide Series unquestionably the top form of motor sport in that part of the world.
However, many members within the Formula 1 paddock believe this season’s United States Grand Prix will be a big success, on a track which is already a talking point between the teams and drivers. The track itself features many corners reminiscent of other iconic locations throughout the motor sport world, including Silverstone and Istanbul. The track also features a tremendously intriguing start/finish straight and turn 1 section, which sees the track rise rapidly towards a tight left-hander which should offer many of the fans a superlative view of the action.
“Everything that I’ve seen so far has been absolutely first class and the progress that’s been made since the last time I was here is amazing,” explained Charlie Whiting. “The guys have done an awesome job - it really is quite fantastic! It’s built to the highest quality, exactly as we expected, and I’ve got absolutely no complaints whatsoever.”
“There are three or four corners that are very likely to see overtaking,” continued Charlie Whiting. “If you look at Turn 1, you’ll see that the turns have been designed so that they’re extremely wide and the apex is very short. It’s a very modern approach to slow corners where we hope overtaking will take place, so I’m very confident it will work well. Turn 1 is awesome! It’s the only word I can think of to describe it and I think drivers and teams coming here for the first time will say the same thing.”
The United States Grand Prix will be the penultimate race of the season, before the F1 fraternity heads straight to Sao Paulo for the season finale the following weekend around the Interlagos circuit. It is expected that the DRS zone for the race weekend will be situated between turns 11 and 12, which will include an exceedingly long straight with a perfect overtaking opportunity into turn 12. Charlie Whiting will make a final inspection of the track on November 12th, prior to the race weekend.
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