Sebastian Vettel has described the planned Grand Prix of America circuit at New York's Port Imperial as containing elements of both the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and Spa-Francorchamps, before claiming that the proposed 2013 event would be challenging to drive in an F1 car.
The reigning world champion drove a preview lap of the street course as part of a promotional visit to New York City, which also included an appearance on the famed David Letterman Show
Following his fourth-place performance in the Canadian Grand Prix, Vettel joined RBR team-mate David Coulthard, race promoter Leo Hindery, Weehawken mayor Richard Turner and West New York mayor Felix Roque, as well as assorted Infiniti representatives, to drive the circuit in a road car, with the iconic Manhattan skyline as a backdrop.
“Sebastian got a very small taste of what racing around the Port Imperial course will be like, but there's no substitute for when he'll be driving at just over 200 miles an hour,” Hindery said, “We can't wait to host him and the world's other elite drivers with the world's greatest city in the background. We're one year out from 100,000 fans streaming to the race.”
Following an open-air press conference staged in front of the under-construction pit buildings, Vettel got behind the wheel of an Infiniti IPL G Coupe to complete a lap of the 3.2-mile layout, which runs through the Port Imperial, Weehawken and West New York districts, via the Hudson River and the Palisades. Construction of garages and other permanent facilities are well under way, defying recent suggestions that the event may not take place at all after falling behind on contractual deadlines [see story here
“It's been fantastic to be the first to drive the new circuit," the German commented, "I was able to get some good speed up in the Infiniti and it's clear that it is going to be a big challenge in an F1 car. With such a great setting too, I can't wait to get back here and race in 2013.
“The circuit is great. One section is a bit like Montreal, with a long fast straight, but it's also quite up and down, which is a bit like Spa. New York is such a great city with a great energy. It's will be great to have a F1 race here - and I think there will be some good bars to go to after the race!“