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F1 impressed with new US MotoGP venue
19 November 2012
The new Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas - which will make its MotoGP debut next April - received glowing praise during its inaugural F1 event, this past weekend.
1993 500cc world champion Kevin Schwantz - who has since fallen out with COTA over promotional rights - helped design the challenging 5.5km circuit.
It includes a steep uphill run to turn one, Silverstone-style high-speed esses, a long back straight into a tight hairpin, a fast sequence of right handers (a mirror image of the fast left handers at Turkey's Istanbul Park), plus numerous crests and dips.
“This is a great drivers' track – it's very tough to pull together three perfect sectors,” said Sunday's race winner Lewis Hamilton.
“Personally, I find the final two sectors easier than the first; those high-speed changes of direction need a good set-up, and balancing that requirement against the demands of the slow-speed stuff is tricky.
“Turn One probably looks more exciting from the outside than it does from inside the cockpit – it's certainly not easy, though. You can get oversteer, or lock up, and it's tricky to get a perfect line through there.
“I think this is probably one of the best, if not the best grand prix we've had all year.”
Hamilton's McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh added: “Make no mistake: this is a world-class facility - built from nothing - and I'm sure it will quickly earn a reputation for being one of the greatest racetracks in the world.
“There are a lot of different corners. I think [Hermann] Tilke has brought an assembly of corners from the other circuits he has built.
“The topography is great and there's something about hills and dips and blind corners that make it very challenging for drivers, but also make it look great and spectacular to drive on.”
The only negative comments concerned the slippery nature of the brand new asphalt, exacerbated by a conservative tyre choice by Pirelli, although the lack of grip only seemed to add to the show.
While F1 held its first US race since 2007 on Sunday, next year's Austin round will be one of three American-based MotoGP events - alongside Indianapolis and Laguna Seca.Did you see Sunday's F1 race? If so, what did you think of the circuit? Leave your comments below...