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Old 1 Nov 2019, 08:17 (Ref:3937920)   #1
Born Racer
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United States Grand Prix 2019: Grand Prix Weekend Thread

One of the great curiosities about the Formula 1 World Championship was for a long time the sport’s failure to make a dent in the American sporting conscience. Perhaps this should not be a surprise, as the United States is an enormous and fascinating country in itself, where typical sports are American football, basketball and baseball.

In terms of motorsport, ovals dominate, from the roots of grasstrack and racing on dirt through to NASCAR stock car racing. A parallel exists among many of these sports – stop-start events, with a blow of the whistle or a wave of the yellow breaking the action for a while, during which time strategies are re-assessed: these are high-energy bursts of sporting action with the onus on entertainment and “the show” too.

Formula 1 meanwhile, lived its own bubble for so long that despite protestations that the US was an essential market commercially-speaking and more importantly, was vital to its interests of claiming to be a true world championship, it simply never generated a following. This oddity came in spite of the fact that the country has produced two world champions, Phil Hill (1961) and Mario Andretti (1978) and prior to the latest incarnation of the race, ran Formula 1 races at nine circuits across eight different states – Sebring, Riverside, Watkins Glen, Long Beach, Las Vegas, Detroit, Dallas, Phoenix and Indianapolis. In fact, from 1959 in Sebring until the last race at Indianapolis in 2007, there was at least one Formula 1 Grand Prix in 41 of the 56 seasons in the USA. Many times, there were two Grands Prix (Long Beach, a popular street track, was always run as US Grand Prix West, for example) and in 1982, there were even three races on US soil (Detroit, Las Vegas and Long Beach).

If you look at the Formula 1 winners lists you will see some unfamiliar names arise. Strangely perhaps, points scored in the Indy 500 from 1950 until 1960 counted towards the Formula 1 world championship, despite the race not being a Grand Prix. This didn’t, however, give Formula 1 a foothold in America. For that it needed to do its own thing and some of the circuits were good (e.g. Watkins Glen) and some bad – there was a combination of excellent races and ill-thought-out messes.

1980 to 1982 in Las Vegas springs to mind. Las Vegas should bring a certain razzmatazz to the sport, but the decision to hold the Grand Prix in an uninspiring car park round the back of the Caesar’s Palace hotel and casino doomed it to failure, despite being a championship decider. Dallas held a one-off Grand Prix on a street track in 1984 but like Spa a year later, the track surface broke apart in the heat before the race. Unlike Spa, the race never returned. Between 1989 and 1991, the race took place in Phoenix. It did not garner much attention. In 1990 with attendance figures low (reported at 10,000 to 15,000), a local ostrich race pulled in around three times as many spectators. This was not a positive sign.

And then there was Indianapolis. This was after the biggest break in the US Grand Prix's history and despite taking place eight times, it never seemed to make much sense. Going all the way to the hallowed temple of speed which is host venue of the Indy 500, only to see quick cars scramble round an awkward infield course and drive one fast corner of the oval backwards didn’t capture the imagination or gel as a concept. In 2006, after the Michelin runners (the majority of the field) did not have tyres considered safe enough to last the race, an infamous boycott occurred, leaving just four Bridgestone-shod Jordans and Minardis trailing in the wake of the winning Ferrari pair. This was a fine refutation of the concept that there is no such thing as bad publicity and was just the wrong country in which to happen. That said, Formula 1 hardly generated any publicity anyway and so there was always the hope that some day, Formula 1 would return to the United States with a track and event of which to be proud.

In 2012, that day arrived and it came in the Texan state capital, Austin. The enthusiastic and forward-thinking city welcomed Formula 1 with fervour and open arms. I was pleased to attend the inaugural event there that year and thoroughly enjoyed the race and exciting layout. It immediately leapt up the list as one of the driver' favourite tracks. It is one of four anticlockwise circuits, all near the end of the season, along with Marina Bay in Singapore and the forthcoming Interlagos and Abu Dhabi. From a clean sheet of paper, the track developers created one of the most undulating tracks on the calendar, with a big variation in gradient.

The track is fantastic. The run up to Turn 1 is steeply uphill with a blind apex into the left-hand Turn 1. Turns 3 to 6 are a relentless thrill, like Maggotts and Becketts at Silverstone, but perhaps even more dramatic with the elevation change. The drivers chuck the cars in and keep flicking in opposing directions. Turns 16 to 18 is a multi-apex delight, rather like the one we used to have in Istanbul Park.

Circuit length: 5.513km
Number of laps: 56
Race distance: 308.405km
Dry weather tyre compounds: C2, C3 & C4
Race lap record: 1:37.392 (2018 - Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes)
First Grand Prix: 1962
First World Championship Grand Prix: 1963
First Grand Prix at this circuit: 2012



To join in our predictions contest and Fantasy F1 contest, go here: https://tentenths.com/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=70

Constructors’ championship standings: https://www.formula1.com/en/results.html/2019/team.html

Drivers' championship standings: https://www.formula1.com/en/results....9/drivers.html

United States Grand Prix tyre choices: https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/a...YPJEAjjKR.html
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Old 1 Nov 2019, 08:57 (Ref:3937928)   #2
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wolfhound should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridwolfhound should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridwolfhound should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Thankyou for your excellent intro as ever. I think over time this track if it retains F1 into the future will be regarded as one of the F1 tracks to go to.
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Old 1 Nov 2019, 13:53 (Ref:3937987)   #3
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E.B should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridE.B should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridE.B should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridE.B should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Thanks for another great intro BR.... much appreciated and your previews have become my go to place for info prior to the races.

For me all practice qualy and race is at silly o'clock a.m. Think the race starts at 5.10am for me.
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Old 1 Nov 2019, 14:59 (Ref:3938001)   #4
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Great stuff Mr. Racer - many thanks
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Old 1 Nov 2019, 21:29 (Ref:3938036)   #5
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wolfhound should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridwolfhound should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridwolfhound should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
From reading about FP1 there seems to be a lot of bumps and tarmac break up at COTA. That seems a bit strange for a relatively new track or was it built on a lake like Interlagos.
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Old 1 Nov 2019, 23:17 (Ref:3938044)   #6
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Originally Posted by wolfhound View Post
From reading about FP1 there seems to be a lot of bumps and tarmac break up at COTA. That seems a bit strange for a relatively new track or was it built on a lake like Interlagos.
They have this clay in central and east Texas that absorbs water like a sponge. I'm not well traveled but the ground can expand and contract like nothing I've ever seen. I've seen 4ft (120ish cm) of compacted soil and gravel dropping from under an existing 4 story office building over 1 year! Those guys and gals over there are used to it and have a pretty good handle on the engineering, but there's not much you can do about roads.

Of course, I'm not sure of this is the cause, but that's what I think is going on.

Last edited by JHamilton; 1 Nov 2019 at 23:25.
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Old 2 Nov 2019, 09:58 (Ref:3938077)   #7
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Hope the track survives, there's less reason for it to happen in this day and age
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Old 2 Nov 2019, 11:15 (Ref:3938092)   #8
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Excellent intro as ever. Lewis won his second WDC in 2014 and his first for Mercedes at COTA in 2014. Can Lewis win his 6th WDC at COTA this Sunday?
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Old 2 Nov 2019, 14:29 (Ref:3938135)   #9
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E.B should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridE.B should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridE.B should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridE.B should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
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Can Lewis win his 6th WDC at COTA this Sunday?
Pretty difficult for him not to.... Valteri must win with Lewis finishing 9th or worse (without fastest lap) for it to go to Brazil unsettled.
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Old 2 Nov 2019, 14:48 (Ref:3938139)   #10
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They have this clay in central and east Texas that absorbs water like a sponge. I'm not well traveled but the ground can expand and contract like nothing I've ever seen. I've seen 4ft (120ish cm) of compacted soil and gravel dropping from under an existing 4 story office building over 1 year! Those guys and gals over there are used to it and have a pretty good handle on the engineering, but there's not much you can do about roads.

Of course, I'm not sure of this is the cause, but that's what I think is going on.
I think you are right.

If I remember correctly, when the circuit was built, they tried to excavated deeply down into the native soil directly under the tarmac and used compacted fill dirt hauled in from elsewhere to try to prevent this issue, but I suspect it didn't work as well as hoped. Then again, maybe if would have been much worse if they had done nothing.

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Old 2 Nov 2019, 16:18 (Ref:3938155)   #11
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I don’t mind one bit if the track has some pretty nasty bumps, adds some character and a different challenge that you don’t get everywhere else.

Seems like the usual suspects are moaning about it, whilst the more pragmatic amongst the field just see it as a variable they have to deal with
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Old 2 Nov 2019, 19:43 (Ref:3938173)   #12
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Lancsbreaker should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridLancsbreaker should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridLancsbreaker should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
Hmm - apparently Leclerc had engine issues 15 minutes into FP3.......leaving Verstappen to set fastest time ahead of Vettel.



Qualy could be interesting.....but of course not on Channel 4 until 11.40pm UK time....
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Old 2 Nov 2019, 22:37 (Ref:3938193)   #13
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Hmm - apparently Leclerc had engine issues 15 minutes into FP3.......leaving Verstappen to set fastest time ahead of Vettel.



Qualy could be interesting.....but of course not on Channel 4 until 11.40pm UK time....
It's actually a good quali session, worth catching if you can
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Old 2 Nov 2019, 22:56 (Ref:3938194)   #14
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Hmm - apparently Leclerc had engine issues 15 minutes into FP3.......leaving Verstappen to set fastest time ahead of Vettel.



Qualy could be interesting.....but of course not on Channel 4 until 11.40pm UK time....
Qualifying highlights are on at 00.40 on Sunday morning, with the race highlights on at 23.00 on Sunday.

With all the usual waffle and nonsense before the action actually starts, I won't be waiting up till 00.40 no matter how good it was.
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Old 3 Nov 2019, 00:46 (Ref:3938210)   #15
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The usual suspects are in the top 10 but in a rather different order. Bottas is on pole and is joined by Vettel on the front row, followed by Mad Max and Leclerc on row 2, which could be interesting when the red lights go out. Lewis is 5th and Albon 6th. Sainz and Morris are on row 4 in their McLarens. Danny Ric gets himself into the top 10 in 9th spot, with Gasly making up the numbers.
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