BAR-Honda driver Jacques Villeneuve describes a lap of Indianapolis - site of next weekend's US Grand Prix:

"The F1 circuit in Indianapolis is a fun track to drive on, but not overly exciting. Having said that, there is still good racing because of the long straight line and heavy braking at the end of it, which allows for good overtaking opportunities.

"It's fun to use one of the banked corners of the oval as part of the F1 track. It's nice to go to Indianapolis after Europe. It's enjoyable to race there - mostly because of all the American fans. The atmosphere outside the paddock is great.

"You start with a very long straight line where you reach 340kph, with heavy braking and you are next to a wall, so it's different to other tracks, also it's bumpy and difficult. You don't see the corner ahead as visually all you see is the oval going on ahead of you and the inside kerb is on the asphalt, the straight line is very wide and there is no grass, that makes it difficult when you are overtaking as there are no reference points.

"There is nothing special about turns 1 and 2, it's just a right, left section. Turn 1 is slower than you think every time and you carry the brakes very long into the corner and then for turn 2 it is just a question of accelerating through. It isn't really a problem.

"Three is not a corner, four is very difficult, visually you don't have any reference points, you are turning and you have to hit the brakes at the same time, making sure you don't go too wide and run off the track, but at the same time you have to look where the corner is and hit the brakes. It's also a corner where you can lose a lot of time very easily and you always think you can go quicker.

"Turn 5 isn't a corner any more; with the traction control it's easy but balance here is important. You don't want to come out of the corner too wide as you then have to hit the brakes in turn 6 which makes braking more difficult. Turn six is a strange, very long corner and you hit the apex twice; you are on the brakes when you turn in, it gets wider and then you're back onto the apex because you can't exit the corner wide, you have to exit completely tight because of turn 7 right after. Here it's always very slippery, not as much downforce, quite slow but not much acceleration out of 6 and you just tap on the brakes into the corner. Not a very long straight line out of it but it's so easy to make a mistake and if that happens you will see overtaking happening at the end of the straight.

"Turn 8 is just a corner where its important to carry a lot of speed and survive at the exit because there's not a lot of acceleration; you have to try not to go too wide because you then get a crazily tight, too tight, section of hairpins and if you are wide it makes that turn 9 hairpin very difficult to negotiate.

"Turns 9 and 10 are not a fun section. It's just annoying and extremely slow. It serves no purpose and nobody knows why they are there, it's just no fun at all. Then you accelerate. Turn 11 is difficult and extremely important. You are still moving from the right to the left side of the track so you are not going straight yet, and you have to pay attention. There is no reference point of where the track is, there's a kerb in the middle of the asphalt so you don't see where the corner is. It's very easy to make a mistake there, yet it is very important as it's the corner that gives you the speed on the whole straight line of the start/finish, and a mistake here probably means you'll get overtaken by the end of it. Then all the way to the start/finish, even though it turns. It's only a corner in the wet; in the dry it's not a corner. We go 60kph slower than an Indy car goes. It's not a corner, it just looks visually impressive because of the banking."

 

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