The Circuit of the Americas made its Formula One debut today with the first two practice sessions taking place at the 5.513 km purpose-built track in Austin, Texas. Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg completed a total of 119 laps for Mercedes AMG, over 650 kms, of the circuit in the two ninety-minute sessions today.
The team's programme focused on acclimatisation to the new venue, along with tyre and set-up evaluations .
Nico Rosberg, F1 W03 / 09:
I like the new track here at the Circuit of the Americas very much and they have done a great job with the layout. We've also had a really nice welcome for Formula One in the US as you can see how many fans are at the circuit already on a Friday. The grandstands looked really packed. We had a good start to our programme today, and the car felt better than at the last race. The conditions were tricky, particularly this morning, as it was very cold which meant that the tyres were really on the edge.
Michael Schumacher, F1 W03 / 03:
I have to say it is nice being back in the US, and I hope that the fans appreciate Formula One being back too. The circuit will certainly help to showcase how attractive our sport can be. It has a very nice layout, and the good thing is that it is very challenging. Yesterday I went out to explore the track on a scooter, and it was very different from today when the low seating position of our cars compromises your vision a lot. But then, it takes just a bit of time to understand what you have to do and where the biggest challenges are. The track is still very green, especially offline, but it delivers lots of potential for a good show. As for our programme today, we had some tyre issues in the second session with a puncture which affected our plan a little. However, I will just try to do my best tomorrow and in the race on Sunday.
We've had a very useful first day here in Austin and have enjoyed discovering the intricacies of the Circuit of the Americas. The track has changed a lot over the course of the day. The cold ambient temperatures this morning combined with the fairly conservative tyres meant that it took a little while to get temperature into the tyres. This should improve throughout the weekend. The circuit has a very exciting track layout which is a challenge for the drivers and engineers, and should create some great racing opportunities. All credit to the organisers for their hard work, and I am sure that the United States Grand Prix will be a fantastic addition to the Formula One calendar.
This race is certainly a milestone in the history of Formula One and, first of all, we have to congratulate the organisers and Bernie for getting this event and the United States Grand Prix on the calendar and for building such a unique race track. This challenging circuit has the potential to become one of the best race tracks in the world. Our programme today went as we had planned and, whilst our lap times looked consistent during our long runs at the end of the second session, we do not think that our competitiveness is different compared to the last races. Having said that, we still have room for improvement which we will try to use tomorrow.
Weather: Cool and clear / Air: 12-21°C / Track: 15-31°C