Wednesday at Circuit of the Americas
saw somewhat of an uptick in activity in the F1 garages and paddock, but overall it was very low key, more contained and less frantic than I've ever seen for a Wednesday. The continuing chilly weather might have had some bearing on that. The front side - Pit Lane - was bathed in sunshine much of the day, but the temperatures remained in the very low fifties, F. On the backside of the garages, in the paddock/hospitality area, it was all shaded and extremely cold.
Wednesday nights the temps are slated to drop as low as 27F/2.7C. Brr.
But things will be looking up. Temperatures are said to rise markedly as the weekend progresses. Now if that forecast for rain will prove false, we'd all be happier.
Never more than this weekend – so far – will tyre warmers be more crucial.
The ongoing saga of the unknown driver for the second Lotus F1 Team seat continues. The day started with Kimi Raikkonen
still being shown as the driver, but by midday, the sign was blank. Everyone expects an announcement on Thursday as the first F1 practice is Friday morning. One Lotus Team wag told me the sign was still blank as the new one was still being printed. He spoke in jest but probably was spot on.
Lewis Hamilton/Mercedes will drive the NBCSN Hot Lap for the F1 TV broadcast. His vehicle will be a gorgeous, expensive ($200,000) Mercedes tricked out with four Go-Pro cameras. One can never have too many of those. The car was parked in pit lane Wednesday afternoon – in front of Sahara Force India, being carefully looked after and buffed by a Mercedes team member. No one knew why it was parked in that location, but no one was complaining, and it drew its fair share of appreciative onlookers. By the way, Pirelli may be the official tyre of F1, but the Mercedes has Michelin tyres.
The Red Bull
team has a special paint formula done up in its paint shop, which shows iridescent when seen from the best angle. It is stunning, and pictures don't do it justice.
Sergio Perez/McLaren made his own gracious announcement Tuesday that he wouldn't be back at McLaren
next year. Being young and into social media, Twitter was where the word was first seen. McLaren
was equally as gracious in its response. Each thanked the other for their good times. There were no details from either side regarding things going forward.
There are two support races for the weekend – Ferrari
Challenge and Formula Vintage. Little has been said about the specifics of this group, but one driver on site already is Art Hebert of Larkspur CA with his 1977 Chevron B39 F. Atlantic car. This lends credence to the chatter that the group might be Vintage Atlantic cars. Time will tell… and then, so will I.
Thursday the pace picks up. FIA conducts its track systems checks, with a Sector Marshal on each corner to test the light boards and all the communication equipment. FIA does its track inspection, and the Scrutineers go to work getting the cars through the rigorous F1 technical inspection process. There should be a lot more hustle, and finally an unveiled Formula One car will be seen.by Lynne Huntting