Texas venue given resounding yes
Circuit of the Americas has been given COTA 'Grade One' status
The Circuit of the Americas has been given the green light to stage this year's United States Grand Prix.
FIA technical delegate and race director Charlie Whiting conducted a 60-day inspection of the venue that is due to host the race in Austin, Texas, from November 16-18. Whiting had no hesitation in awarding COTA 'Grade One' status to the 5.5km (3.4-mile) track, which will allow it to stage the grand prix.
In a COTA statement, Whiting said: "Everything I've seen so far has been absolutely first class, and the progress that's been made since the last time I was here is amazing. The guys have done an awesome job - it really is quite fantastic! It's built to the highest quality, exactly as we expected, and I've absolutely no complaints whatsoever."
Whiting believes the drivers, in particular, will be impressed given the possibilities available for overtaking, and which are crucial for entertaining an American audience.
Whiting added: "There are three or four corners that are very likely to see overtaking.
"You'll see the turns have been designed so that they're extremely wide and the apex is very short.
"It's a very modern approach to slow corners where we hope overtaking will take place. So I'm very confident it will work well.
"And turn one is awesome! It's the only word I can think of to describe it, and I think drivers and teams coming here for the first time will say the same thing."
Whiting will conduct one final inspection on the Monday before the race to ensure completion of the remaining ongoing landscaping and painting projects.
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Whilst I enjoy the thought of a new track and the prospect to renew Formula 1's links with the U.S. I do fear that for each new race venue, one traditional european circuit may be heading towards Bernie's big axe. We cannot let the likes of Silverstone, Monza or Spa ever be replaced. Having said that, the Austin circuit does look like a promising circuit and with the possibility of plenty of overtaking, a race on the calendar which could be very exciting to watch. I hope this will be a great race but I hope also that we can keep a lid on further overseas venues and keep at least a third of a season to traditional circuits that we are all familiar with.
Christopher and Lewis
Do you two need to get a room? I seem to be detecting an undercurrent of sexual tension between you!
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