Road & Track sent American F1 hopeful Alexander Rossi around the Circuit of the Americas in a Corvette ZR-1. I find it easier to get a feel for the track from the perspective of a street car instead of watching it in fast-forward from an F1 car. In a recent interview with Cycle World Magazine, MotoGP rider Ben Spies gave some of his insights on the track. He said that the uphill hairpin Turn 1 is great for spectators but really dangerous for the racers because if somebody messes up, they take out a lot of people. He then said the fast esses, Turns 3-6, are the hardest part of the track with the triple right, Turns 16-18, being the easiest since you can treat them all as one constant turn. Spies says the track is awesome but he wishes there was a high-speed fourth gear turn in it somewhere. The footage of Rossi starts with an easy out-lap and then two hot laps from different camera angles.
The folks over at Jalopnik.com put together this chart outlining the performance statistics and construction regulations for Formula 1 race cars this year. The rules change year to year, but this is a great crash course for the uninitiated. Hopefully there are a lot of new F1 enthusiasts getting ready to watch the return of the American Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, TX this weekend. Click to Enlarge:
The Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas officially opened last week with less than a month to spare before the Formula 1 American GP is scheduled to take place there. Our first look at the track layout came courtesy of the Codemasters F1 2012 video game a few months ago. The actual track looks even more challenging and technical in person, especially the crazy uphill hairpin Turn 1 that Mario Andretti is calling the track’s “marquee corner.” It’s definitely going to take a talented driver to master COTA and I think there’s going to be a fair amount of passing under braking and in turns. The first official lap of the track was driven by Mario Andretti in the Lotus 79 race car that he drove to become the F1 World Champion in 1978. The second lap was done by Lotus test driver Jerome D’Ambrosio in a current Lotus F1 car. D’Ambrosio’s lap gives us a good idea of what the F1 race in a couple of weekends is going to look like. Here is D’Ambrosio’s lap with his commentary.
This second video is the full on-board footage of Mario Andetti’s lap and D’Ambrosio’s lap in HD. Unfortunately embedding was disabled so you’ll have to click over to YouTube to watch it: