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Whiting hails ‘fantastic’ Circuit of the Americas as venue gets green light for race
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Sep 2012   |  8:45 am GMT  |  36 comments

The Circuit of the Americas in Austin has been given the definitive green light to stage its inaugural grand prix in November after passing the FIA’s mandatory inspection to gain its Formula 1 licence.

As is the compulsory practice for all new circuits joining the calendar, FIA technical delegate and race director Charlie Whiting visited the venue to inspect the facilities and track itself and was duly satisfied enough to give the circuit the ‘Grade 1’ status it requires to stage a grand prix.

As part of his inspection Whiting walked the now fully-paved 3.4-mile circuit and then around the pit and paddock building – all of which he described as being “fantastic”.

“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 released by CoTA.

“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.”

Furthermore, Whiting views of the layout of the circuit itself chimed with the impression gleaned from the exclusive feature with the makers of the F1 2012 video game, Codemasters, on this website last month.

The virtual lap of the Hermann Tilke-designed track, which draws inspiration from circuits including Silverstone and Istanbul Park, suggested drivers were in for a challenging lap and the FIA chief agrees that there certainly are a handful of clear overtaking places – while the uphill run to the turn one left-hander certainly caught his eye.

“There are 3-4 corners that are very likely to see overtaking,” he 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.”

A final inspection of the facility to ensure the completion of the remaining ongoing landscaping and painting projects will take place on the Monday of grand prix weekend, with the race itself taking place on November 18.

Not yet seen our exclusive onboard lap on the new Austin circuit? Well then check out the video and commentary below to see the challenge that awaits the F1 drivers in November…


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cracking track which makes F1 2012 for playstation almost a must buy for the arm chair F1 champions. I know the video is not of a driver per se but has the guy that drove it ever heard of an apex?


If Interlagos was designed by Herman Tilke!


in a wee bit, turn one at COTA reminds me of turn 2 at Mosport, Canada.

I remember Sir Jackie lapping for what seemed like hours – taking a different line every lap so he knew what could be possible during the race if needed.

jackie Oliver in the Shadows (various series) was like OMG in turn 2 at Mosport- just let me get a few more pics b4 u kill urself!!!!

Jocquin Rindt in the final right-hand sweeper in F1 @ Mosport – I still get chills…

the Unser bothers, AJ, and Mario riding scooters thru Mosport to watch support races.

Jodi S at Mid Ohio in F5000 with a flash rainstorm hitting in the braking zone b4 “madness”… amazing stuff…

Paul Newman at Nelson Ledges in his Datsun year after year…

Donahue, PJ, Dan, Hall, Hobbs and many more…

and nobody could forget Mario or AJ, Jimmy or Graham or many others in ANY worldwide racing event…

Danny “on-the gas” at Indy…

OMG, I have totally forgotten to mention at least a hundred other awesome drivers!!

point is: turn one at COTA could be a deal breaker for a few. seems like a really tough W/E for a few…

I so wish todays’ cars were more capable of the big slides and lock-to-lock muscle required b4 power steering and aero dependance…

but it is what it is…


I’ve only seen Mosport on computer games, but isnt turn 2 a very fast downhill left hander, whereas turn 1 here is a slow left hander thats uphill on entry and falls away on exit.

The turn 5(?) hairpin would be a better comparison, though that goes right instead of left.


“the Hermann Tilke-designed track”

a small point – Tilke gmbh did the detailed work, but the basic layout was, I believe, done by Tavo Hellmund and Kevin Schwantz, though the circuit owners are reluctant to acknowledge their contribution. If it works as it seems it might it will down to their vision.


Any idea if they’re gonna use industrial scale washers to get the dust off the track before the race? Else we’ll see something akin to the first Indian GP where it looked like a good track to pass on paper but not much happened in the actual race.



I’m getting excited for my first GP experience.

I hope everything else comes together well.

I’m not expecting much overtaking at turn 4 but hoping for a great overall view of the action.


Nice track!!

James, how about an article abour the specific strong points of each driver?

– who brakes the best, who accelerates out best, fast turns, slow ones, urban tracks, worn tires, rain, strategy, etc.



I don’t remember Charlie using quite the same words with some of the other tracks that have recently been added to the calendars. Sounds like this one is really hittin’ on all cylinders. Can’t wait to be there in person in a couple of months. Sitting in turn 11. Hoping for some passing there. Turn 12 sure looks like a good spot. I’ve already played it on PS3 and must say that it flows well, especially the sweeping curves at the beginning, like Silverstone. It seems to go downhill there as well, so not much effort is required for some speed. A subtle touch of the brakes is needed, though. Can’t wait….


Austin seems like a cracking track. With the height changes, parts of it remind me a bit of the Interlagos cicuit, São Paulo, but with some aspects turned upside down.


Well, I have to say I had my doubts. I was wrong and I apologize for by doubts. Congratulations to Austin for getting it done. See you at the GP.


I visited the track on Oct.15. The circuit and the team facilities look great, but the rest of the infrastructure (parking,media, and grounds) will be hard pressed to be ready in 45 days. The access roads to the track haven’t been widened yet, etc. It will be an outstanding facility a year from now.


“Oct 15”??

You have a time machine and never told us who the winners would/will be?


James , that first corner and the chicane appear be on camber or flat on entry and then taper away or even off camber on exit- is that case ? It’s hard to tell on the podcast but its a fantastic circuit. I can even see the Saubers doing well on long runs here.Thanks again


hopefully by tthis time …wc state is still open and does not end up a fight only between lonso and vettle



Posted a comment, it didn’t show, tried again and it said I’d already done it.

Edouard Valentino

me too!


Looking at the video, I think Kimi Räikkönen will like this circuit, and likely drive well here.



Oh those were the good old days!

I love that track. And I must admit, I loved the single hot lap qualifying they did that year. Good to hear those V10’s too. Oh, it’s like a symphony

ERgh, getting the ‘you’ve already said that’ notice too despite my comment not coming up.


Yeah definitely a Kimi track – I was just think that watching the JA podcast. Thanks for the 2005 Turkey clip- how can anyone doubt his speed. I miss Turkey already so this Austin track should be good.


And yet Bernie on Tuesday saying they haven’t met HIS terms and conditions , sort of asks the question again; Has Bernie too much power over F1 and does he really put the good of the sport over his own personnel wealth ?


I wonder if that was the New Jersey race you were thinking of. That one seems to be off the calendar now.


yes my booboo he’s a crafty fox that Bernie


Not off the calendar, just getting some pressure


Bernie Business Lesson 1…


I hope it happens! Me and the missus are hoping to spend our honeymoon at the New Jersey and Montreal races! Two races on the trot with a road trip mixed in! Come on Bernie!!


As is the usual. Bernie does this every time. Every race, he says at some point, is doomed to fail. Then it doesn’t. I wouldn’t do business with him if you begged me.


Confusingly, although this is the Circuit of the Americas, it is the US Grand Prix that will be held here. The GP of America is the New Jersey one – and that’s the one that Bernie has called into question, I think. Austin should definitely go ahead. Looks like it could be an interesting race to watch. Hope it will be…


yes i made an error though with Bernie …


Bernie was talking about the New Jersey circuit..not the one in Texas.


yes he was my mistake


… wrong US F1 GP, Lee, this is Austin, not New Jersey


cheers my error


I think Bernie was referring to the New Jersey race scheduled for next year as opposed to the Austin one.


yes indeed he was my error


You sure you’re not getting it mixed up with the other US track?

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