Text: Alex Yoong / Photos: | posted November 16, 2012 00:39
United States GP
The US Grand Prix that takes place this weekend is the first race in the USA since Indianapolis in 2007. It is also the first purpose built track for F1 in America. What we know from the simulations and other drivers that have driven it, is that it is a typical Herman Tilke circuit and should be very interesting to drive. There are good bits taken from other circuits around the world, with lots of good gradient changes. Gradient changes is another way of saying, 'it's hilly and not flat', which is what all drivers like. It makes it difficult to get right and therefore more rewarding when you do.
To add to the excitement of finally being back in America again, is that both championships can be decided at this race. Red Bull just need to get 4 points and they will be crowned constructers champion. Also if Vettel can outscore Fernando Alonso by 15 points, he will also clinch his third drivers’ championship. While I do think Red Bull will get their constructors championship, it will be slightly more difficult for Vettel to outscore super consistent Alonso by that much.
Having said that, Vettel will start this weekend as favorite given his current run of form. Added to that, is that everyone expects the new Austin track to favour the Red Bulls. It will not be easy for them though, because Mclaren have also been very strong on these kind of circuits and with Hamilton's win at the last race, it’s expected that pole will come down to these two teams.
Can Ferrari join the fight? Neutrals will certainly be hoping that they can. And while Ferrari are leaving no stone unturned to try and find that little bit more performance, no one expects a sudden swing in competitiveness for them. So with this being an even playing ground as no one has raced here before, I think Ferrari's last hope is that Alonso can produce another scintillating performance that somehow ends up with him outscoring Vettel, and bringing the title fight to the last race of the season in Brazil. Hard? Unlikely? But certainly not impossible.
Pirelli are bringing the hard and medium tyre to this circuit as they opt to be conservative. This should mean that it's only a one stop with some teams maybe even trying for two stops as the pit lane is relatively short, and so the time penalty for an extra stop will not be as high as say, Abu Dhabi.
America is the last major market that F1 has yet to conquer. Everyone will be keen for a good exciting race. Not just in terms of the championship but also because we need a good race if the US is going to open their arms to F1 completely.