The 3.427-mile (5.515 km) Circuit of the Americas in Travis County, Texas, near Austin, hosted the United States Grand Prix on November 18, 2012, the penultimate round of the season.
The circuit, first proposed in the middle of 2010, was the first in the United States to be purpose-built for Formula One. The layout was conceived by promoter Tavo Hellmund and 1993 Motorcycle World Champion Kevin Schwantz with the assistance of German architect and circuit designer Hermann Tilke.
In an episode of Speed TV's Wind Tunnel broadcast in August 2010, Hellmund revealed that the circuit would be made up of twenty turns with an elevation change of 133 feet. The final plan of the circuit was released on September 1, 2010, showing a design inspired by the European tradition of sculpting the circuit to the contours of the land and draws from several European circuits, including a recreation of Silverstone's Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel sequence, Hockenheim's arena bends, and a replica of Istanbul's Turn Eight. Other corners were loosely inspired by the Senna 'S' at Interlagos and the Osterreichring's Sebring-Auspuffkurve.
One of the unique features of the circuit is a deliberate widening of the circuit in the corners, to encourage drivers to follow multiple racing lines. A similar feature has been used at the Buddh International Circuit in India, where the circuit widens on the approach to certain corners.
The circuit runs counter-clockwise, like Marina Bay, the Korea International Circuit, Yas Marina, and Interlagos. Because of this, the track contains more left-hand turns than right-hand ones, and therefore puts greater physical demands on the drivers, particularly on their necks.
Over the years America has had a raw deal from Formula One, but hopefully the inaugural event at the Circuit of the Americas, which was won by Lewis Hamilton and saw Red Bull claim its fourth successive constructors' title, went some way to making up for it. For once the circuit lived up to the hype with action aplenty right throughout the field.
Previously, the legendary Mario Andretti had said that Formula One finally has a home in America, he appeared to be right.
Fast Facts - Provided by the FIA
2018 marked the 40th FIA Formula One United States Grand Prix. The race debuted in 1959 at Sebring. It has subsequently been held at Riverside (1960), Watkins Glen (1961-80), Phoenix (1989-91) and Indianapolis (2000-2007). This is the seventh consecutive running at the purpose-built Circuit of the Americas.
The USA has also hosted several other F1 grands prix. The US Grand Prix West ran at Long Beach between 1976-1983, The Caesars Palace Grand Prix (1981-82) was
held in Las Vegas; the Detroit Grand Prix ran between 1982 and 1988, and Dallas hosted a one-off grand prix in 1984. Between 1950 and 1960 the Indianapolis 500 was also officially included as a round in the Formula One World Championship.
Ferrari are the most successful constructor at the US Grand Prix, scoring their nine wins at Watkins Glen in 1975, 1978 and 1979, and at Indianapolis in 2000, 2002-2006.
Lewis Hamilton is the most successful driver at the US Grand Prix. He is also the only driver to win the race at more than one venue. He has a victory at Indianapolis, in 2007 with McLaren, and has won five of the six races held at COTA to date, once with McLaren in 2012 and with Mercedes from 2014 to 2017.
Two of the current grid made their F1 debut in the USA. Sebastian Vettel appeared for BMW-Sauber in 2007, as a replacement for the injured Robert Kubica, and Toro Rosso gave a debut to Brendon Hartley last year. Vettel is not the only World Champion to have started his F1 career at the US GP: Mario Andretti (1968), Jody Scheckter (1972) and Mika Hakkinen (1991) also took their bow here. Andretti had participated in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix earlier in the season - but was subsequently banned from taking part in the race, having attempted to return to the US to contest a dirt track race (the Hoosier Hundred) between qualifying and the grand prix.
The race at the Circuit of the Americas has only ever been won from the front row, with an even 3-3 split between starting from P1 and P2. Vettel (2013) and Hamilton (2016, 2017) have won from P1. Hamilton alone (2012, 2014, 2015) has won from P2. Vettel finished third in 2015 having started 13th: the furthest back a podium finisher has started.
Vettel has taken the fastest lap in five of the six races at COTA. He missed out in 2015 when Nico Rosberg went quickest.
Three titles have been secured at COTA. Red Bull Racing secured the Constructors' Championship at this track in 2012, when it hosted the penultimate round of the season, and Mercedes took the Constructors' Championship last year at the 17th round of 20. Lewis Hamilton became a three-times Drivers' World Champion here in 2015.
The US Grand Prix has often been an end-of-season race, and thus it has been the venue for many other championship deciders. The Constructors' Championship was settled at Watkins Glen on five occasions, in favour of Brabham (1966), Lotus (1970, 1973), McLaren (1974) and Ferrari (1976). The Drivers' title has previously been won at Sebring by Jack Brabham (1959) and at Watkins Glen by Jochen Rindt (1970 - posthumously), Emerson Fittipaldi (1974) and Niki Lauda (1977).
Pierre Gasly, Sergey Sirotkin and Charles Leclerc race at COTA for the first time this weekend.