United States Grand Prix

United States Grand Prix - Kenwood Communications

United States Track Tips and Circuit Stats

Key numbers from the Circuit of the Americas

Ahead of Fernando and Stoff taking on the 2017 United States Grand Prix, read all about Formula 1’s first purpose-built racetrack in the United States.


  Information Stats
  Track length  5.513km/3.427 (9th longest track of the year – longest: Spa-Francorchamps, shortest: Monaco)
  2016 pole position  Lewis Hamilton, 1m34.999s
  2016 fastest lap  Sebastian Vettel, 1m39.877s (lap 55)
  Lap record 1:39.347s (Sebastian Vettel, 2012)
  Distance to Turn One  280m/0.174 miles (longest of season: Barcelona 730m/0.454 miles)
  Longest straight  1090m/0.677 miles, on the approach to Turn 12 (longest of the season: Baku, 2.1km/1.305 miles)
  Top speed 320km/h/199mph, on the approach to Turn 12 (fastest of season: Monza, 360km/h/224mph)
  Full throttle 63 per cent (highest of the season: Monza, 75 per cent)
  Fuel consumption  1.8kg per lap, which is average
  ERS demands  Medium. ERS is deployed for around 35 per cent of the lap
  Gear changes  54 per lap/3,024 per race


Engineering challenge?

The high number of slow corners around the lap pushes car set-up towards maximum downforce. However, it’s important to maintain a competitive top speed because there are two long straights, along which the DRS zones are located. The track is also quite bumpy, which compromises the ride quality.

How to tell when a driver's really on it

The high-speed changes of direction, particularly in Sector One, require smooth and precise steering inputs. That means the fastest laps are often the least spectacular.

Trickiest bits for the driver

Turn One is very demanding. The track climbs steep uphill on the approach, but the corner itself is almost level. That forces the driver to brake and turn in over a crest, so it’s easy to lock a wheel. A clean exit from Turn 11 is also very important because the longest straight on the lap follows.

Car set-up

A compromise between medium and maximum downforce, reflecting the number of slow corners around the lap and the long straights. The asphalt is smooth, but the increasing number of bumps year-on-year forces the engineers to raise the ride-heights.

Grip levels

High. The asphalt was laid in 2012, so it’s still relatively new and grippy. It’s also used regularly during the year, which gives it a base level of rubber that helps improve grip levels.

Tyre choice

Purple Ultrasoft (Or pink, this weekend!), red Supersoft and yellow Soft – the eighth time this combination has been used in 2017.

Brake wear

Medium. There are 10 braking zones, but only four of them are significant.

Tips if you're a gamer

You need to be very precise through Sector One because the corners are inter-linked, much like Sector One at Suzuka. However, what makes Turns Two to Nine at COTA unique is that the cars are constantly scrubbing off speed. Each corner is slower than the previous one and that leaves the drivers deftly balancing the cars on the brake pedal. It’s also important not to overdrive through the slower corners on the lap.



United States GP Preview

F1 Round 17 has arrived as we travel to the fabled COTA for the United States GP

In the first part of an F1 back-to-back, from Austin to Mexico, hear from drivers Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne as they look ahead to this weekend at the Circuit of the Americas.

Fernando Alonso

“After a couple of frustrating races where we haven’t been able to show the improving pace we know we have in our package, I’m excited to head back to the United States. I had a great time over summer there this year with everything going on around the Indy 500, and I know the fans are incredibly passionate and enthusiastic, so I’m expecting a really good atmosphere around Austin.

“The COTA track is a really fun track to race on – every sector is different and achieving the perfect compromise with set-up to suit the constantly-changing characteristics of the lap is what makes the challenge there so unique. COTA is also wider than a lot of the circuits we’ve been to recently so there are usually some good chances to overtake, which hopefully we can make the most of on Sunday.

“I really enjoy spending time in the States and I have lots of happy memories there. I hope in Austin we can build on the momentum we know we’ve been gathering behind the scenes, despite not being able to show the results on the final timesheets, and I think there’s the potential to score points if we can pull everything together. There are a lot of factors to take into account and anything can happen at this race – we’ve seen quite a lot of drama both on-track and off it over the last few years – but I’m optimistic we can have a positive weekend if we can maximise every opportunity.”

Stoffel Vandoorne

“I’m really looking forward to this double-header in the USA and Mexico and discovering two new tracks that I’ve never experienced before. I’ve heard a lot of good things about COTA and it’s a circuit a lot of drivers love racing on as it has a bit of everything. Austin is a really cool place to visit too – I’ve been going there with the team for a couple of years now in my former role as reserve driver – and it’s always nice to make the most of our downtown location and sample the local restaurants.

“Going to a new track doesn’t make me any more nervous than going to a circuit I’ve raced on before – the opposite, actually. We prepare for each grand prix with our engineers in the same way for every race weekend, and although I’ve never driven on this track in the real world, I’ve done many laps in the virtual world in our simulator, so I’m keen to get going with set-up work straight away on Friday and get the car dialled-in to the track as soon as possible.

“After a couple of positive races for me, Japan was trickier for us and we struggled to make up any ground on Sunday after an unfortunate start. Austin should be a bit better for us in terms of power sensitivity, although there’s a wide range of corners which each give us a different challenge, so the key will be to balance the set-up all the way around the lap. There should be more overtaking opportunities there too and I’m hopeful we can have a more positive weekend.”

Circuit info

Circuit name: 2017 Formula 1 United States Grand Prix
First race: 2012

Previous winners

  2016 Lewis Hamilton
  2015 Lewis Hamilton 
  2014 Lewis Hamilton

History lesson

The United States Grand Prix has a long and varied history. The race has been staged at 10 different venues since it was first included on the World Championship calendar in 1959, but the Circuit of The Americas (COTA) is the first purpose-built track for Formula 1. McLaren’s founder, Bruce McLaren, won the country’s inaugural race in ’59, since when popularity of the sport in the US has been boosted by its two American world champions, Phil Hill in 1961 and Mario Andretti in 1978.

What makes the race special?

It’s the only race in the USA and it’s staged at a fast and flowing racetrack around which F1 cars can stretch their legs. The organisers lay on a good show for the fans, with concerts by Justin Timberlake and Stevie Wonder taking place on Saturday and Sunday evenings.

Crazy moment

The racing is usually eventful at COTA because there are several overtaking points around the lap. However, the craziest moment in the race’s short history came on a Saturday in 2015, when monsoon-like conditions led to qualifying being abandoned.

What we love

The eclectic mix of corners. COTA has more fast corners than Spa-Francorchamps and more slow corners than the Hungaroring, making car set-up an interesting compromise for the engineers.

McLaren memory

2012, the most recent of the team’s 12 victories at the US Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton qualified second for the inaugural race at COTA and dropped to third place at the start after being overtaken by Mark Webber. But he passed both Red Bulls to win the race, Vettel coming home in second place.

Sporting legacy

With every year that passes, F1 gains a stronger foothold in the USA. Crowd numbers were up last year and there’s talk of a second race in the USA in the near future. But IndyCar, the country’s domestic championship, remains popular and McLaren renewed its links with the series earlier this year when the company contested the Indy 500 with Andretti Autosport and Fernando Alonso.

Did you know?

Formula 1 isn’t new to Texas. There was a one-off Dallas Grand Prix in 1984.

Don’t forget

COTA is one of five anti-clockwise tracks on the 2017 calendar. The others are Baku, Singapore, Interlagos and Abu Dhabi.



United States Grand Prix Handbook

Keeping it weird in Austin, Texas

If any new race can challenge the popularity of Singapore, then the United States Grand Prix at the superb Circuit of the Americas [COTA] is it. Since F1 went back to America in 2012, COTA has extended a superb welcome with huge crowds at the track and a lively reception in downtown Austin.

The peripatetic United States Grand Prix has been hosted at many venues, but it seems to have found a proper home at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas. Designed with Formula 1 intended to be the centrepiece of its calendar, COTA has insinuated itself into the F1 mainstream in a remarkably short space of time.

Key to COTA’s popularity has been good facilities, an excellent atmosphere generated by a large and vociferous crowd, and a track layout that generates exciting races. Turns One, 11 and 12 are all good overtaking opportunities with the former pair supporting several different lines. Borrowing liberally from other circuits, the first sector features a high-speed section of esses much like those at Silverstone and Suzuka, while the end of the lap has a lower speed complex reminiscent of Hockenheim’s stadium. Despite the long straights, downforce levels are high to cope with these final sector second- and third-gear corners, while suspension requires a difficult compromise between a soft car that will ride the kerbs well here, and a stiff car to cope with Sector One. Interesting circuit!

Bruce McLaren took his first Formula 1 victory at the very first US Grand Prix, held in 1959 at Sebring, while the team he founded has won the race on eight occasions, to which can be added two wins at the Detroit Grand Prix, and two more at the US Grand Prix West, held at Long Beach. The second of those, a 1983 win for John Watson, still holds the record for victory from furthest back on grid. Wattie started 22nd…




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