The 2015 Formula One World Championship this weekend heads to local soil for round sixteen, the United States Grand Prix. The race is once again taking place at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, a track designed to combine the best corners from various circuits around the globe and always a favorite among drivers.
A very steep hill leads up to the first corner, which is followed by a sequence of corners that are reminiscent of Becketts at Silverstone, but a bit longer. Then, for example, the long sequence of turns, 16, 17 and 18 are like the long corner at the Istanbul circuit in Turkey.
Drivers make 56 laps of the 3.43 mile circuit, where they are faced with 20 quite varied corners (12 left-handers, 8 right) and three straights per lap, along with an elevation change of some 138 feet. The weather is equally variable in Austin this time of year, with warm conditions common during the afternoon but frequently cool temperatures in the mornings.
Tire supplier Pirelli has nominated its soft and medium compounds as these are versatile enough to cope with the wide range of demands. However, because of predicted rain for the weekend, Pirelli also has its full wets.
Last year’s winner was Mercedes AMG’s Lewis Hamilton, who this year looks set to secure his third F1 title due to his massive gap in the Drivers’ Championship standings. The Briton sits on 302 points while Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel is second with 236 points and fellow Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg is third with 229 points. There are still four races and 100 points up for grabs this season. In the Constructors’ Championship, Mercedes has already received the 2015 title thanks to its unbeatable 531 points. Ferrari is second with 359 and Williams is a distant third with 220.
One driver to watch out for this weekend is American Alexander Rossi, racing for Marussia. It will be the first time since 2007 that an American has competed in F1 on home soil. The last time it was Scott Speed racing at Indianapolis for Toro Rosso.