Formula 1 is now loaded onto six charter jets, flying west over the Atlantic Ocean for the second time this year – and round 18 of the World Championship, the potential decider, held in the USA...
...which is not only the world’s largest economy, but home to F1’s owner Liberty Media and arguably the sport’s biggest growth market.
One that Red Bull Racing’s Daniel Ricciardo explored earlier this year, with the honey badger heading over for an extensive roadshow that took in San Francisco for a quick pit stop and a run on the city’s famous Golden Gate Bridge…
…before moving to Monument Valley, Utah – where F1 stood out amongst the desolate landscape, taking locals by surprise.
The tour finished on the Las Vegas strip, a location the sport is desperate to return to, with F1’s last visit to Sin City a two year jaunt from 1981 on a temporary track in the Caesar’s Palace car park – the inaugural race won by 1980 World Champion Alan Jones for Williams.
The United States Grand Prix has been been held at six different venues: Sebring, Riverside, Watkins Glen, Phoenix, Indianapolis and Austin. Long Beach, Las Vegas, Detroit and Dallas were handed different event titles.
Austin’s stunning Circuit of the Americas has been the home of F1 in the USA since 2012, the track an instant classic – with a steep 40-metre rise from the start/finish line to Turn 1.
Located 20 minutes from downtown Austin, the 5.513 kilometre track has 20 turns, 11 left and nine right - and a top speed of 330 kilometres an hour. Sebastian Vettel reset the lap record last year in his Ferrari. There are two DRS activation zones, with the first on the back straight, the other located on the pit straight. There are also two DRS detection zones, the first after Turn 10 and the second before Turn 19.
The track is also a fantastic driver challenge, with its combination of curves inspired by F1’s most revered circuits… like turns three to nine that mirror Silverstone’s Maggots/Becketts complex…
Across the history of the US Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton remains top man with six wins including all but one of the victories in Austin, his sixth taken at Indianapolis. Michael Schumacher has five, all at Indy.
Sebastian Vettel is the only other F1 driver to have won the United States Grand Prix at Austin, which he did in 2013: the American round one of 13 victories that year for Red Bull, equalling Schumacher’s 2004 record.
SOUNDBITE (English) SEBASTIAN VETTEL,
RED BULL RACING, 2009-2014:
“People tend to call it domination; I don’t like the word domination because it makes things sound easy and if we look back, I think to every single race, individual race, it was very, very hard work and we put everything in it.”
This year’s milestone 40th United States Grand Prix will be a thriller – with Hamilton able to secure a fifth world championship if he wins and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel finishes third or lower…
…equalling the Maestro, Juan Manuel Fangio, and becoming just the third driver in history to take five or more titles.
For American team Haas, it’s a home round – and it will be hoping it can grab a top result, with a point for Romain Grosjean’s 10th place in 2016 its best result at Austin in two visits.
Bold, brashy, fast and technical. It’s time to go deep in the heart of Texas - for the United States Grand Prix.