It’s now officially official: in less than two months, Formula One racing will return to the United States at the Circuit of the Americas
in Austin, Texas. On Tuesday, the track received the required “Grade 1” rating from Charlie Whiting, the head of racing, safety and tech for the FIA, Formula One’s governing body.
explains, Whiting’s approval involved inspection of the asphalt, curbing, guard rails and safety fences, and Whiting himself walked the entire 3.4 mile course as part of the inspection. Even the circuit’s support buildings were described as “fantastic,” and the FIA official had nothing but praise for the layout of the virgin racetrack.
Calling the Circuit of the Americas “quite fantastic” and “built to the highest quality,” Whiting noted that three or four corners will give drivers the ability to overtake, which should make for some very entertaining racing.
Perhaps the most distinctive corner is the circuit’s first turn, which features a wide swath of pavement but has a very short apex, which should give plenty of opportunity for passing. Turn 12, which follows the circuit's longest straight, should also prove to be a popular spot for overtaking.
Whiting will be back on site on Monday, November 12 to inspect the track for a final time before qualifying for the United States Grand Prix begins on Saturday, November 17. While a second race in the United States, set in Weehawken, New Jersey
, is tentatively scheduled for 2013, F1 czar Bernie Ecclestone is now claiming the event lacks a valid contract
with Formula One.