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Next race: United States Grand Prix, Austin

United States 2012 - Race information // Everything you need to know about the US Grand Prix

Published by Christine Blachford

We've visited a few new circuits over the past seasons, and the latter half of the 2012 calendar features many of them. However, this weekend sees a brand new location join the fold, with a shiny, fresh built track to play host to all the action. Formula One returns to the US after being absent for five years, with an exciting new venue at the Circuit of the Americas.

Event schedule

Almost everything that could have been thrown at Red Bull, and more specifically Sebastian Vettel, was done so at the last race in Abu Dhabi, but he batted the problems away and managed to limit the damage to his championship challenge. The battle between he and Fernando Alonso is still on, with two races to go and ten points in it. Meanwhile, there are other races going on than just the inaugural COTA action, as drivers continue to hope for their continued presence in F1 in 2013.

Session Timetable
DateDaySessionGMTLocal
16 NovFridayFree Practice 115:0009:00
Free Practice 219:0013:00
17 NovSaturdayFree Practice 315:0009:00
Qualifying18:0012:00
18 NovSundayGrand Prix19:0013:00

Support racing for this event includes Historic Grand Prix, Ferrari Challenge and Pirelli GT3 Cup Trophy USA West.

The weather

We're looking at more sunny weather in Austin this coming weekend, with not a cloud forecast in the sky for all of those three important days. The temperatures are not as high as I was expecting, and should be manageable for the drivers, with the track temperature probably the key ingredient for the brand new tarmac.

clear

Austin, Friday

21℃

  • Low 6℃
  • Humidity 37%

Sunshine

clear

Austin, Saturday

21℃

  • Low 9℃
  • Humidity 40%

Sunny days

clear

Austin, Sunday

22℃

  • Low 14℃
  • Humidity 55%

Sun, sun, sun

Circuit map

Sidepodcast image
DRS Zones
DRS detection150m after turn 11
DRS activation320m after turn 11

DRS has proven to be useful at tracks where overtaking can be lacking, and it has equally been a bit over the top at those where drivers manage to find their own way through the field and create their own action. For the Circuit of the Americas, everything is an unknown, and it's impossible to say how the DRS will fare.

The FIA have decided to locate the single DRS zone on the big long back straight between turns 11 and 12, with activation coming halfway down the long straight.

The circuit

Circuit Data
NameCircuit of the Americas
LocationAustin
TimezoneGMT -0600
First Race2012
Laps56
Length5.516 km
Distance308.896 km
Start / Finish Offset0.000 km

We've watched the purpose built Circuit of the Americas being built since its inception, with Red Bull trying a lap in the dust, and Lotus waiting until there was at least some tarmac down before visiting. All the pictures and track maps we have seen so far show some nice elevation changes that have been sadly missing from other recent entrants to the calendar.

The race will be run in an anti-clockwise direction, with the first corner presenting the biggest challenge: uphill with a blind apex to the first corner, taken in first gear. There are a few sections of the circuit which pay homage to existing tracks, including the Senna S's in the upcoming Brazil, Istanbul's tricky Turn 8 and the stadium section of Hockenheim.

Tyre compounds

Hard and medium compounds
Hard and medium compounds

Pirelli are offering the teams an extra set of tyres for Friday practice - to both increase the action on what will inevitably be a super green track, and to give them a bit of a head start around the unknown twists and turns. The tyre manufacturers have completed extensive simulation work ahead of the race weekend, but even with that there's still a lot of data to be gathered in the coming days.

We’ve chosen the hard and the medium compounds as we think it will be quite a demanding track, based on the asphalt samples and simulation data we have gathered. Naturally we’ve leaned towards a slightly more conservative choice in order to cover every possibility at a brand new circuit.

- Paul Hembery

Press conference schedule

Official press conferences are organised by the FIA and happen four times during the weekend. The qualifying and post race press conferences will take place after the television unilateral interviews.

Press Conference Schedule
DayLocalAttendeeRepresenting
Thursday11:00Fernando AlonsoFerrari
Pedro de la RosaHRT
Lewis HamiltonMcLaren
Sergio PérezSauber
Kimi RäikkönenLotus
Sebastian VettelRed Bull
Friday15:00Cyril AbiteboulCaterham
Éric BoullierLotus
Norbert HaugMercedes
Christian HornerRed Bull
Stefano DomenicaliFerrari
Martin WhitmarshMcLaren
SaturdayPost qualifyingThree fastest drivers
SundayPost raceFirst three finishing drivers

Race stewards

The FIA stewarding process was changed last year to include a former F1 driver to give added insight. These are the stewards overseeing this weekend's action.

F1 Stewards
NamePosition
José AbedFIA Vice President
Gary ConnellyDeputy President of the FIA Institute
Emerson FittipaldiDouble F1 world champion

All content in the series USA 2012