Round 17 of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship sees teams and drivers return to race in North America for the first time since 2019, with the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. The battle for the world championship titles with Max Verstappen clinging on to a slim lead of six points ahead of Lewis Hamilton.
Long history – Today’s race will be the 42nd United States Grand Prix and the 71st F1 race in the United States. First held in 1959 at Sebring, the United States Grand Prix has a peripatetic history. Races followed at Riverside (1960), Watkins Glen (1961-1980), Phoenix (1989-1991) and Indianapolis (2000-2007) before the Circuit of the Americas joined the sport in 2012. The race track in Texas has hosted the United States Grand Prix in every year since expect last year when the coronavirus pandemic forced the sport to call off its trip to the North-American continent.
Three in the same year - In 1982, there were no fewer than three races in the country – the United States West Grand Prix at Long Beach, the United States East in Detroit and the Caesars Palace Grand Prix in Las Vegas
1895 - The year the first motor race was held in the States: the Chicago Times-Herald Race, run in Illinois. The race took place on Thanksgiving Day, 28 November and started and finished in Chicago, covering a round trip to Evanston of 87 miles.
Importance of the starting position – Joining the Formula One race calendar in 2012, the Texas race track has produced some thrilling duels since. Although the long circuit features a wide layout and offers few overtaking spots, starting from the first row has proved crucial so far. In every single edition of the event, one of the two drivers starting from the front row won the race, with four victories from pole and four from P2.
Long track – The Circuit of the Americas belongs to the longer race tracks on the current Grand Prix calendar. On the 5.513km course, drivers will need to circulate 56 times to cover the entire race distance of 308.405km.
Offset – There is an offset between the start and the finish line with the latter being 323m behind the start line.
The usual limit – As in most of the grands prix, drivers have to adhere to a speed limit of 80kph in the pit lane during today’s race.
152 - The number of American drivers who have taken part in at least one Formula 1 race, which is more than any other nation. This figure is inflated as it includes all those who took part in the eleven editions of the Indianapolis 500 that counted towards the World Championship from 1950 to 1960.
The Italian outfit - Ferrari is the most successful constructor in the United States Grand Prix. The Italian outfit has taken victory ten times. Despite this record, the Maranello-based team had to wait long for their first success in America. After the first editions of the event were dominated by Lotus, BRM and Tyrell, Niki Lauda took Ferrari’s first victory in the United States in 1975.
The most successful drivers - Lewis Hamilton holds the record for most wins in the history of the United States Grand Prix. The Briton has won six times in total of which he recorded his second career victory at Indianapolis driving for McLaren. When the U.S. Grand Prix moved to Texas, he continued his run of success. The Briton has won in the first four years of the hybrid era between 2014 and 2017 at Texas.
Michael Schumacher is the second most successful race driver in the United States with five victories. After securing his first triumph in 2000, the German commenced a commanding run of success in 2003 and remained unbeaten until 2006. When it comes to the number of wins in the United States, Graham Hill and Jim Clark claim the third spot with three victories apiece. Interestingly, the Scottish and British driver dominated the era between 1962 and 1968 with winning all six races in this period of time. While Clark took all his three wins for Lotus, Hill was victorious for BRM on each occasion.
Chance of SC – In the previous four United States Grands Prix, the virtual or the real safety car was deployed on multiple times, leading to a chance of 71 per cent for the appearance of the SV or the VSC.
Time loss – The layout of the track means that drivers do not lose too much time when pitting for new tyres. A normal pit visit requires 20 seconds in total, but completing a pit stop during a SC or VSC period can save up to six seconds for drivers.
Changes – The track surface has been a hot topic since drivers first hit the circuit on Friday morning. The circuit has been resurfaced at the end of the pit straight, including the pit lane exit road from the end of the pit signalling wall to the exit of Turn 1; the exit of Turn 9 to the exit of Turn 10; the exit of Turn 11 to the exit of Turn 12; Midway through Turn 15 to midway through Turn 19.
Furthermore, the track surface has gone through some milling work which took place at the depression between Turn 2 and Turn 3 and the depressions in the vicinity of Turns 4, 6, 10 and 14. That was necessary after the harsh criticism of MotoGP riders who raced here just a few weeks ago.
The usual double DRS-zone – As in most of the races, there will be two DRS zones in today’s United States Grand Prix. The detection point of the first will be 150m after Turn 10, with the activation point 250m after Turn 11. The second zone’s detection point will be 65m after Turn 18, with the activation point 80m after Turn 20.
Overtaking is possible - The average number of overtakes in the Grands Prix held at Austin is 36. The busiest year was 2019 with 53 passing moves, while in 2013 there were only 18. When Kimi Raikkonen won in 2018, there were 27.