“They've never really had a home base in the United States,” he noted, “Although they worked really hard to make a go of it at Indy, things just didn't work out, so I think the Circuit of the Americas represents a real opportunity to re-establish F1 experience in the US market and start to develop a good strong relationship with the American fan base.”
Pirelli, meanwhile, believes that it is well prepared for next month's race thanks to simulation work using data obtained from a visit to the Austin circuit during its construction.
Last season, practically every circuit was new to Pirelli but, this year, only Hockenheim and CotA, needed recreating.
“There's no doubt that preparing for a circuit that is completely new is more difficult than going to one of the established venues,” Pirelli motorsport director Paul Hembery admitted, “However, we now feel fully ready for this magnificent track, where we will bring the hard and medium tyres.”
CotA is the most complex new track of the year for Pirelli, as it has never been raced on before. Understanding the nature of a new surface is always complicated, particularly when there is no previous data, which is why two Pirelli engineers inspected the circuit while it was being built over the summer, looking at the track surface and layout in detail.
They used sophisticated laser measuring equipment to assess the abrasiveness of the circuit by examining closely the spacing and shape of the stones that make up the aggregate. Several readings were taken from the machine, in order to ensure an accurate representation. Using these readings, a virtual representation of the track from the tyre's point of view can be created on computer.
Together with some asphalt samples from the new venue, this allowed Pirelli to calculate the likely wear rate and the effect of the asphalt and ambient temperatures on the tyres at different points on the circuit.
“The technology and know-how that we have at our disposal means that we can forecast some very accurate predictions without actually having raced at a circuit these days,” Hembery concluded.