F1: United States Grand Prix Preview
In two weeks’ time the Formula One 2012 season will be done and dusted, fortunately for us we still have two races left, including a brand spanking new track in Austin, Texas. The circuit has been designed by Hermanne Tilke who is the man responsible for pretty much all the recent circuits such as Bahrain, China, Singapore, Valencia, Abu Dhabi, Korea and India! Not everyone is a fan of his work as some tracks have regularly been branded as boring and ultimately provided the least exciting races. The Circuit of the Americas (crap name) will be used to stage the first Grand Prix in the states for five years and I think everyone is expecting something special!
I remember a month or so ago when Martin Brundle was on a grid walk, he talked to an American chap who naturally thought the new track would be the best and said it had “the most stunning visuals”. The track layout also looks like it could be a cracker, elements of Maggotts/Becketts from Silverstone combined with a steep uphill section, elevation changes and straights ending in tight slow corners are encouraging, but no-one will really know until practice on Friday when the drivers can see how the corners link together and the track flows.
Many are saying that this track will suit the Red Bull’s and I tend to agree however McLaren are bringing updates which could be encouraging following Lewis’ pace in Abu Dhabi. With no previous running the tyres could also make for an interesting race, Pirelli have allocated the medium and hard compounds which they admit is pretty conservative. Being conservative could just mean that they don’t particularly know how the tyres will react and how much evolution the track will see so don’t be surprised to see some varying strategies and perhaps a car or two falling off that cliff which happened on numerous occasions at the start of the season.
United States Grand Prix Predictions:
- Sebastian Vettel
- Lewis Hamilton
- Fernando Alonso
- Mark Webber
- Jenson Button
This is a new track that none of the grid will have driven so predictions are a little tricky. Everyone expects the Red Bull to be strong and there isn’t anything that we know about the Austin track which wouldn’t make Red Bull a safe bet. I am not sure why but I can see a real scrap playing out between Webber and Alonso on race day which could prove pivotal in the championship, the scenario above would leave Alonso 20 points behind going to Brazil, Alonso 4th would mean 23 points which could be huge.
I expect it to be a pretty competitive race with no-one shooting off into the sunset, but look for Vettel and Hamilton to be trading times in Qualifying as I think they will learn and adapt to the track very quickly. In the previous few races the McLaren has struggled to get the softer compound tyres into that operating temperature window which has cost them in qualifying. With medium being the softest compound being used in Austin, McLaren may well not have this problem so should be more competitive.
Red Bull could clinch both the driver and constructor championship in Austin which I am sure would make the Americans ecstatic. I am sure they will wrap up the constructors championship but I think the world champion will be crowned in Brazil next week.
This is definitely not one to miss so here are all the times you need:
Qualifying: Green light at 18:00 GMT, Saturday 16 November
Sky F1: 17:00 – 19:45
BBC 2: 21:00 – 22:15 – highlights
Race: Lights out at 19:00 GMT, Sunday 17 November
Sky F1: 17:30 – 22:15
BBC 1: 22:25 – 00:25 – highlights
Check back early next week for the review.