From Mexico City to Austin, we’lle be back on track soon… it’s race week again, straight away!
“The Circuit of the Americas is another track that’s quite cool in many ways. The various sections have different characteristics: the first one is quick with that interesting first corner after the start, which features a significant change in altitude! There’s also some very fast esses and longish straights all of which combine to let you race other cars. The final part is a bit more twisty, with some slower corners so that makes it interesting because it presents a challenge when it comes to finding the best car set-up and the right level of downforce, so there’s a bit of everything at this circuit. Some of the corners have different lines you can take, as the track is very wide. For example, at Turn 1, it has a wide entry which is a good overtaking opportunity and we’ve seen some interesting duels there in the past. Overall, this is a nice place to go racing, there’s a good atmosphere from the fans at the track and I think all the drivers appreciate the city of Austin itself, so we like going there. The sport is growing in the States where motor racing in general is very popular and they seem to be taking to Formula 1 gradually. Of course, the USA is a very important market for our sport.”
“Last year was the first time I raced in Austin. In 2017, I missed it as I was meant to be competing in the final round of the Japanese Super Formula on the same weekend, because I had a chance of winning the title, but the race was cancelled due to bad weather. Before then, I had been to Austin a couple of times as a third driver and it always appealed to me because it really is a beautiful circuit. I love the “esses” at Suzuka and you have a similar section here, although with a bit more run-off and the whole first section is very flowing, with sixth and seventh gear corners. It’s so fast in a Formula 1 car – really exciting. There are some straights and slow sections too, with overtaking opportunities, such as at the first corner, which is quite unique as you are braking uphill and the entry really opens up. It’s strange braking going up such a steep hill and at first it feels odd, as you can’t see the apex and so you must know exactly where and how to turn in to hit the apex. And in the fast section you need to get the first corner right as it affects all the ones that follow. In the slow part, it’s very technical with difficult braking points when you need a lot of steering input, such as Turn 15, where you see a lot of drivers locking up, as you have to brake actually in the corner. There are two or three overtaking opportunities. I remember last year we had some rain and generally, the weather seems hard to predict, so let’s see what we get this time. On top of that, the place has a typical Texan, American atmosphere with a sense of a show about it and Austin itself is a city I like a lot. In fact, I have some family there and we usually find time to see them. So overall, it’s a great weekend, both on and off the track with a nice atmosphere. We’ll be trying our best to get a good result to round off our North American trip.”