Austin ….the “cowboy” Grand Prix

The story linking Formula 1 and the United States is a long and complex one. A story which, for several years, in two eras and at different tracks, crossed paths with that of Indianapolis, as the 500 Miles was part of the F1 world championship from the 50s to the 60s and also featured a backdrop of street circuits such as Las Vegas, Dallas, Detroit, Long Beach and Phoenix and permanent tracks at Riverside, Sebring, Watkins Glen, Indy again, before finally landing up at the Circuit of the Americas.

Austin is a lively buzzing city, which is strong on music festivals. It’s motto is “Keep Austin Weird” which has grown into a whole ethos, while there’s a statue of a lady by the name of Angelina Eberly, who saved the city archives from being stolen by firing a cannon to wake up the townspeople. The track is set in the Texan plain surrounded by farms and Tex-Mex restaurants. It was opened in 2012, with the track layout built like a puzzle, featuring some of the most interesting corners from other championship tracks and surprisingly, it works. It runs anti-clockwise, like many of the newer venues and also like plenty of old American street circuits. Its stand out element, apart from the vertiginous viewing tower, is the very steep climb after the start, which leads to a hook-shaped left hander, designed specifically to offer various lines and encourage overtaking.

Daniel Ricciardo on Texas race: 

“Everyone knows I love the city of Austin but I also love the circuit. It’s certainly unique with the wide apexes, you can pass in more than three areas, it’s fast, it flows well and it’s definitely one of the best tracks on the calendar for overtaking.
“In the city there is so much to see, I like going to the well-known places like Pete’s Piano Bar but also some of the more local places for live music and food. I have done Barton Springs, visited a ranch and this year I’m doing Austin City limits, there’s so much to do and it’s all so good.
“Some people are asking if I have a beard plan for Austin this year, I haven’t thought that far ahead yet but I still feel my little beard in 2014 was my best, so I might just bring that one back.
“Then after Austin we’re off to Mexico. It was a little confusing to be classified third there last year but nonetheless a nice surprise. I enjoyed the track last year more than I did the first year as it started out quite dirty and slippery, which didn’t really give the car a good feeling. Last year it was much better and this year it should improve even more.
“Even though the stadium section is really slow and not the most adrenaline fuelled part of the track, I really enjoy it because it’s so technical.
“The thin air definitely makes a big difference to the car handling. We use the most downforce we have and it still feels less than Monza. The car moves around a lot and for that reason you never really feel 100% happy, but you just deal with it.
“The fans are awesome and I would say it’s the best Drivers’ Parade we do all year.”

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