The new age of the US Grand Prix at COTA
The United States Grand Prix, a cornerstone in the Formula 1 calendar, traces its roots back to the early 1900s and has been held at various venues across the country, with the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, serving as its home since 2012. The event, characterized by its challenging circuit and rich history, consistently delivers thrilling races, momentous occasions, and attracts record-breaking crowds, with the 2022 event drawing an unprecedented 440,000 fans over the weekend. With the popularity of F1 escalating in the United States, the Grand Prix promises exhilarating performances and unforgettable experiences for seasoned fans and newcomers alike.
The United States Grand Prix is a historic and significant event in the Formula 1 calendar. Its roots trace back to the early 1900s when it was known as American Grand Prize, running on tracks in Milwaukee, Santa Monica, San Francisco, and Savannah, Georgia. The Indianapolis 500, another of America's major motor races, also shares its history with this period, being one of the inaugural races during the first 11 years of the modern Formula 1 World Championship.
The United States Grand Prix holds a special place in the F1 calendar due to its rich history and the unique challenges it presents to drivers. The event has been held at various locations across the country, including Long Beach, Las Vegas, Detroit, Phoenix, and Indianapolis. Since 2012, the race has found a new home at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, a purpose-built F1 circuit designed by Hermann Tilke. The race's popularity is soaring, with attendance figures reaching new highs. In 2022, the event attracted 440,000 fans over the weekend, making it one of Formula 1’s best-attended events in history.
The Circuit of The Americas (COTA), located 14 miles southeast of central Austin, is a 3.427-mile (5.513 km) circuit situated on 890 acres. The track is known for its challenging, undulating layout with a high point on the apex of the opening corner. The circuit features a distinctive 77m observation tower, the landscaped ‘Grand Plaza’ area, Austin360 Amphitheater, and the permanent main grandstand, which holds 9000 fans.
The track layout of the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) is unique and challenging. It is one of the hilliest tracks on the current Formula 1 calendar, with a difference of 30.9 meters between the lowest and highest points. The circuit is also one of only five anti-clockwise tracks on the current F1 calendar.
As the United States Grand Prix 2024 is scheduled for October 18th-20th, attendees can generally expect mild to warm autumn weather in Austin, Texas, the host city. However, being a dynamic time of year, weather conditions can vary. Average daytime temperatures in October typically range from the high 70s to mid 80s in Fahrenheit (approximately 24-29 degrees Celsius), offering comfortable conditions for both spectators and drivers. Rainfall in October can occur, but it's less common than in the spring or summer months.
The current weather in Austin:
The lap record at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) is held by Charles Leclerc, who set a time of 1:36.169 in 2019 while driving for Ferrari.
The United States Grand Prix has been the stage for many memorable moments. In 2002, Ferrari recorded their eighth 1-2 finish of the season in a controversial race where Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello finished in a different order than expected. Schumacher led almost all of the race until the final meters when he slowed in an attempt to stage a photo finish with his teammate. The attempt failed, and Barrichello was awarded the win.
The 2005 United States Grand Prix was another unforgettable event but for the wrong reasons. Several Michelin tire failures had caused major accidents, and the tire manufacturer advised that they could not guarantee the tires would stay intact for a race distance. With the FIA unwilling to compromise by adding a chicane, the Michelin-tyred teams had no option but to withdraw from the race. As a result, only the Bridgestone runners – the Ferraris, Jordans, and Minardis – lined up on the grid.
In 2018, Kimi Raikkonen ended a record-breaking 113-race win drought by taking victory at the United States Grand Prix, marking his final win with Ferrari.
The most successful driver at the United States Grand Prix is Lewis Hamilton, with six victories, including five out of the ten races held at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA). He recently overtook Michael Schumacher in the list of most United States Grand Prix wins, who recorded five victories at Indianapolis between 2000-2006.
Ferrari is the most successful constructor at the United States Grand Prix, with 10 wins. Until 2021, Mercedes were the only team to have won more than once at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA). Red Bull took their second victory in Texas in 2021, having last won at the track in 2013.
American drivers have made significant contributions to Formula One racing over the years. Phil Hill was the first American to win the World Championship in 1961, driving for Ferrari. Mario Andretti, born in Italy but a naturalized U.S. citizen, is arguably the most successful American F1 driver, winning the World Championship in 1978 with Lotus. Andretti's career spanned 128 races, with 12 wins and 18 pole positions.
Dan Gurney, another notable American driver, raced in 86 Grands Prix, winning four times and achieving 19 podium finishes. He is also the first of only three drivers to win races in Sports Cars, Formula One, NASCAR, and Indy Car. More recently, Scott Speed represented the U.S. in F1 from 2006 to 2007, driving for Scuderia Toro Rosso and Logan Sargeant made his Formula One debut for Williams at the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix. While American drivers have been less present in recent years, their historical achievements continue to be a source of pride and inspiration.
The 2023 United States Grand Prix was won by Max Verstappen of Red Bull, followed by Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes in second place, and McLaren's Lando Norris in third. The 2023 United States Grand Prix was a thrilling race with Red Bull's Max Verstappen taking the top spot. Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton put up a strong fight and Yuki Tsunoda was able to take the fastest lap.
The United States Grand Prix is slated to return to the Formula 1 calendar in 2024, with the race weekend set for October 18th-20th. The action will once again unfold at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas.
Tickets for the United States Grand Prix can be purchased through the official Formula 1 website or directly from the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) website. It's recommended to purchase tickets well in advance due to the event's increasing popularity.
The United States spans multiple time zones. The Circuit of The Americas (COTA) is located in Austin, Texas, and operates on Central Time. It's important for international visitors to adjust their schedules accordingly.
Austin offers a wide range of accommodations to suit different budgets, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly options. It's recommended to book accommodations well in advance due to the popularity of the event. Austin is well-connected by air, with the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport located just a short drive from the city center and the circuit. Car rentals, taxis, and ride-sharing services are readily available for getting around the city and to the circuit.
The United States Grand Prix is a historic and significant event in the Formula 1 calendar. The race has been held at various locations across the country and has found a new home at the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) in Austin, Texas, since 2012. The event is known for its challenging circuit, memorable moments, and increasing popularity, with record-breaking attendance figures in recent years.
The United States Grand Prix continues to be a highlight of the Formula 1 season, offering thrilling races and a unique atmosphere. With the sport's popularity rising in the United States, the event promises to deliver even more excitement and memorable moments in the years to come. Whether you're a seasoned F1 fan or new to the sport, the United States Grand Prix offers an unforgettable experience.