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Drivers and teams impressed by COTA

NEWS STORY
17/11/2012

Mat Coch & Chris Balfe write:

After the first day of running on the all new Circuit of the Americas, which, according to the organisers welcomed 65,360 race goers through the turnstiles, reaction from the Formula One fraternity was overwhelmingly positive.

"The track is cool all around," said McLaren's Lewis Hamilton. "Turn one is pretty unique going uphill. It's definitely not easy. I think a lot of people are going to have some troubles this weekend."

Hamilton's comments were echoed by those of Force India's Nico Hulkenberg. "They did a very good job here on the facilities and the circuit," said the German. "Of the new generation circuits this one stands out for me. There's quite a nice rhythm and flow to it and I enjoy driving here very much."

"I have to say this is a really nice track and I like it a very much," agreed Daniel Ricciardo. "It is very challenging with a lot of places where you can overtake, even without DRS I can see some corners where you can pass, which will be good for the show and it is also excellent purely from a driving point of view. There was not one corner where I felt it wasn't interesting."

Off track teams were impressed with the facilities, despite quiet grumbles about needlessly small garages. "We have to congratulate everyone, Bernie and the organisers," said McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh.

"To get this event on the calendar is fantastic," added Mercedes boss Norbert Haug. "The US is so important to Formula One. A race here belongs to a world championship. We have been here before and after a five year break we are back again. The circuit is very, very demanding. Very challenging."

"I think it has huge, huge potential," he continued. "This is a race with enormous potential a kind of a milestone in Formula One's history I would say."

The praise didn't stop there, with Christian Horner sharing his thoughts. "We came here 18 months ago when it was really just a construction site and we ran a car with David Coulthard on just dirt and rubble that existed here," said the Englishman.

"It's incredible to see what they've done in 18 months," he added. "To see what's happened and how that track's been built and the undulations and corners, and the way it's been incorporated… hats off to the Circuit of the Americas and to Bernie for convincing them to take up this race."

Talking of Bernie, while the F1 supremo is equally enthusiastic, there were time he had his doubts.

"I would have never believed they would have pulled the race off in Austin," he told business editor Chris Sylt recently. "They had someone that invested money and bought the land and wanted to build a circuit but didn't have a contract. Tavo that had a contract but didn't have the land. The two of them at war."

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