Austin F1 Track Declared Ready
Circuit of The Americas has been declared ready to host the 2012 Formula One United States Grand Prix by Charlie Whiting, director of racing, safety and technical matters for the sanctioning Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
Whiting visited the venue near Austin, Texas, on Tuesday as part of a scheduled pre-race inspection and approved the circuit for “Grade 1” status, the highest distinction awarded to a motorsports venue. The passing grade clears the way for the circuit to conduct Formula 1 racing this fall.
Whiting’s visit took place approximately two months before Formula 1 is set to return to the United States on Nov. 16-18. All F1 circuits must be inspected and approved by Whiting before they can conduct grand prix racing, and the motorsports veteran spent approximately two hours touring the Central Texas facility along with representatives of Circuit of The Americas, general contractor Austin Commercial and German track architects Tilke GmbH. Whiting reportedly issued rave reviews for the entire venue and the work completed since his last visit in August.
“Everything that I’ve seen so far has been absolutely first-class, and the progress that’s been made since the last time that I was here is amazing,” Whiting said in a statement. “The guys have done an awesome job _ it really is quite fantastic. It’s built to the highest quality, exactly as we expected and I’ve got absolutely no complaints whatsoever.”
Whiting inspected the now fully-paved racing circuit and personally walked the 3.4-mile course to ensure the asphalt met FIA requirements. He inspected curbing, guard rails, fencing and other safety measures that have been installed around the layout. He also toured the pit/paddock building, which will house Race Control and serve as his base of operations during the Formula 1™ event. Whiting described the circuit’s permanent structures as “fantastic,” and said he was especially impressed with the design of the turns, including its signature Turn 1.
“There are 3-4 corners that are very likely to see overtaking,” Whiting said. “If you look at Turn 1, you’ll see that the turns have been designed so that they’re extremely wide and the apex is very short. It’s a very modern approach to slow corners where we hope overtaking will take place. So I’m very confident it will work well.
“Turn 1 is awesome. It’s the only word I can think of to describe it, and I think drivers and teams coming here for the first time will say the same thing.”
Whiting was assured that remaining landscaping and painting projects will be completed in a few weeks’ time. He will conduct one final check on Monday, Nov. 12, as grand prix week gets underway.No Comment