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…