After the unusually tough Qatar Grand Prix, the F1 field headed over the Atlantic for another triple-header sequence, kicking off with the United States Grand Prix. F1Technical's Balázs Szabó delivers some stats, trivia and facts ahead of today's Austin F1 race.
Long history – Today’s race will be the 44th United States Grand Prix and the 74th 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 racetrack in Texas has hosted the United States Grand Prix in every year since except in 2020 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. The same will happen this year as Formula One has already staged a race in Miami back in May with today's Texas race and Las Vegas round set to complete the three-venue US trip.
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 racetrack has produced some thrilling duels since. Although the long circuit features a wide layout and offers several overtaking spots, starting from the first row has proved crucial so far. In almost every edition of the event, one of the two drivers starting from the front row won the race, with five victories from pole and four from P2. The only exception was last year when three-time world champion Max Verstappen climbed up from third on the grid to win the race.
COTA - The Circuit of the Americas is the first purpose-built track in America that has been designed for Formula One. Plans for the Austin circuit were announced in July 2010, and construction commenced on December 31 that year – with the design overseen by established Formula 1 architect Hermann Tilke in collaboration with American firm HKS. The build process suffered some setbacks, mainly relating to contractual disputes, but the track was completed in time for Mario Andretti to officially open it on October 21, 2012 – by driving laps in a Lotus 79, the car with which he became America's most recent F1 champion in 1978. The circuit held its very first US GP just a few weeks later.
Long track – The Circuit of the Americas belongs to the longer racetracks 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.
153 - 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.
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.
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 in 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 share 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.
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.
Multiple changes - The Circuit of the Americas has gone through multiple changes for this year. The gravel trap at Turn 2 has been reduced and the guardrail has been realigned. The track has been resurfaced at Turn 12 and from Turns 14 to 16.