Sunday 18th November 2012
Two and a half years after a group of investors announced it would bring Formula One racing to Austin, Texas more than 117,000 fans packed into the just-completed Circuit of the Americas to watch the US Grand Prix. The 20-turn, anticlockwise track, construction of which began in January 2011, drew inspiration from the best circuits around the world, as well as taking advantage of the site’s natural topography to include dramatic elevation changes of up to 40 metres.There is a steep, uphill run into the hairpin Turn One, which instantly became the venue’s signature corner. Turns Three through Six look not dissimilar to Silverstone’s high-speed Maggotts/Becketts; Turns 12 through 15 give a nod to Hockenheim’s stadium section; and Turns 16 through 18 mirror the famous, multi-apex Turn Eight at Istanbul Park. The grandstands, semi-permanent stands and natural seating areas enable over 120,000 fans to attend the Grand Prix, but the circuit is only one part of the multi-functional 900-acre site.Support buildings include a medical facility, 14 executive meeting suites, a conference centre and a banquet hall, as well as an expansive outdoor live music space. Future proposed amenities include a driving/riding experience, a motorsports driving club, kart track, grand plaza event centre and tower, and a trackside recreational vehicle park.
Lewis Hamilton’s brilliant victory over Sebastian Vettel was the culmination of this plan in an exciting first race on the new track. Vettel’s second place gave Red Bull Racing enough points to secure their third consecutive World Constructors’ Championship. Bruno Senna scored his last ever World Championship points at this race.