Formula 1 returns to the United States for the first time since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. This weekend, Scuderia Ferrari Mission Winnow is racing at the Circuit of the Americas, on the outskirts of Austin, in the 17th round of the 2021 season. It's the ninth race to be held at the Texan track since it was first used in 2012.
The track is a favourite with the drivers because of the layout that combines long straights and complex sequences of corners and is great fun to drive at the wheel of a Formula 1 car. Some of the corners take their inspiration from other famous tracks, such as the first sector in Suzuka and the Hockenheim motodrom section. From the start straight, the drivers tackle a steep climb with a gradient of over 11% up to turn 1, with the apex at the top of the hill, which means it can be tricky to find the right line. From here the track plunges into a series of high speed esses on the way to turn 10 which is blind before the hairpin at turn 11. This leads onto the longest straight section of one kilometre, before the driver has to brake hard for turn 12 leading into the final sector, which is the slowest part of the track. The last two left handers lead onto the start-finish straight. The track is very wide in parts, to allow for a variety of lines, although it was clear last time here in 2019 that, off the racing line, the track is very bumpy. There are two DRS zones, one on the main straight and the other between turns 11 and 12.
Charles Leclerc, who turned 24 last Saturday and Carlos Sainz, will take to the track for the first time on Friday at 11.30 local (18.30 CET.) for the first free practice session, with the second starting at 16 (23 CET). The third practise is on Saturday at 13 (20 CET), while the grid deciding qualifying session starts at 16 (23 CET). The United States GP starts on Sunday 10 October at 14 (21 CET).
Ferrari at the United States GP (all races)
GP entered 57
Debut 1952 Indianapolis 500 (A. Ascari ret.)
Wins 13 (22.81%)
Pole positions 13 (22.81%)
Fastest laps 16 (28.07%)
Total podiums 36 (22.36%)
Facts & Figures
22. The furthest back on the grid from which a Formula 1 Grand Prix has been won out of the 70 held in the United States, under various names. Northern Ireland driver John Watson was the man who did it, in the 1983 Long Beach Grand Prix, to take his fifth and final Formula 1 victory. In Austin the race has only ever been won from a front row start, four times from pole and four from second on the grid. Among those who managed this was Kimi Raikkonen in 2018, his last F1 win to date.
36. The average number of overtakes in the Grands Prix held at Austin. 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.
70. The number of Formula 1 Grands Prix held in the United States, which includes 11 Indianapolis 500 races from 1950 to 1960. In fact, the 1950 Indy 500 was the first race in America to count towards the world championship and it was won by Johnnie Parsons at the wheel of an Offenhauser-powered Kurtis Kraft 1000, entered by the Wynn's Friction team. 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 - a feat which has only happened since in Italy last year. Next year's calendar features two races in the USA, the one at Austin and a new event in Miami.
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 country that has fielded the second highest number is the United Kingdom with 145. The United States has also provided 63 constructors, of which only two have won outside of the Indy 500. Dan Gurney won the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix in the Eagle and Penske won the 1976 Austrian GP courtesy of John Watson. At the moment the only American constructor on the grid is the Haas F1 Team.
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. It was won by local driver Frank Duryea in a time of 7 hours and 53 minutes at an average speed of 11km/h, in a car he had built himself with his brother Charles. He won a gold medal and 2000 dollars. The first race at an American circuit took place at Altoona in Pennsylvania on 19 August 1928, won by Louis Meyer driving a Miller, entered by the Burgamy team.
This week in Ferrari history
20/10. In 2002, the Ferrari World Finals came to an end at the Misano Adriatico circuit in front of a crowd of 50,000. The highlight of the day was the show from the four Scuderia Ferrari drivers: Michael Schumacher who had just clinched his fifth world championship title, his third with the Maranello team, runner-up Rubens Barrichello and test drivers Luca Badoer and Luciano Burti, all driving F2002s.
21/10. The date of the final race of the 2007 season, the Brazilian Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen was crowned world champion to give Scuderia Ferrari the title after a three year break. It was an unforgettable year, in which Lewis Hamilton was a rising star, while the Finn took the title in his first year with Ferrari. Felipe Massa played his role perfectly in this Maranello masterpiece. The Brazilian handed over the lead to the Finn who thus scored enough points to turn the tables, as going into the race, Hamilton was on 107, Fernando Alonso on 103 and Raikkonen on 100. At the end of the race, Kimi was on top by one single point.
22/10. The last round of the 2000 season took place in Malaysia. It featured a great duel between Michael Schumacher in the Ferrari and Scotsman David Coulthard in the McLaren, the latter taking the lead at the start. Schumacher moved ahead after the pit stops and although Coulthard closed on him, he never really challenged the German. Behind them, Barrichello had a solitary race to third. The win and third place handed Ferrari its tenth Constructors' crown, beating McLaren by 18 points.
23/10. In 1960, Belgians Olivier Gendebien and Lucien Bianchi won the Paris 1000 Km at the Montlhery circuit on what was a weekend to remember for Ferrari. The Maranello marque made a clean sweep of the top five places with the 250 GT. Second was the crew of Belgian Willy Mairesse and Germany's Wolfgang von Trips, with the French crew of Jo Schlesser and Andre Simon third. Fourth was another French duo, Pierre Dumay and Fernand Tavano, followed by the British pairing of Henry Taylor and Graham Whitehead.
24/10. In 2010, Fernando Alonso won the first ever Formula 1 Grand Prix to be held in Korea. It was the Spaniard's 26th win, his fifth with Ferrari and the team's 215th victory.
Check out our Thursday gallery from COTA, here.