Start the revolution

Posted: November 20, 2012 in Circuit of the Americas, Formula 1, Racing

I’m a recent convert to what I now consider to be the finest automobile racing on the planet.

No, not NA$CAR. I used to be a NA$CAR fan, back in the old days. Before the Car of Tomorrow, The Chase and all the other stuff kind of ruined things. I know, the NASCAR “brain” trust tells us that the Chase builds excitement… that it’s a playoff system for racing. My reply is to ask in just how many other sports are the teams that didn’t make the playoffs allowed to keep playing?

Aerial view of Circuit of the Americas

Anyway, I’ve recently become a convert to Formula One racing, and if you ever need a reason to consider joining the fan ranks of F1, look no further than Sunday’s United States Grand Prix. Held at the brand new Circuit of the Americas track outside of Austin, Texas, the race was a showcase of driving skill and racing technology, all taking place on what should prove to become an iconic track going forward. Coupling with it a chance to clinch a world driving championship, there was a lot on the line as the series arrived at the brand new, $400 million complex.

Formula One and the United States have a checkered history. For twenty years, F1’s U.S. home was the beautiful Watkins Glen track in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Over the years, financial difficulties and a decaying track forced the series to move from Watkins Glen. It bounced around for a while, making street circuit stops in Long Beach, Las Vegas, Detroit, Dallas and Phoenix. There wasn’t a permanent home until Indianapolis Motor Speedway hosted the race starting in 2000. It remained moderately successful until the tire issues of 2005 when the cars with Michelin rubber pulled out of the race, leaving the six cars with Bridgestone rubber to compete.

As such, there was a huge amount of pressure for the event at Circuit of the Americas to be a success. If it wasn’t, it would’ve cast serious doubts on the viability of the series in the United States. The day started with beautiful weather, some intrigue by Ferrari and ended with Lewis Hamilton‘s McLaren- Mercedes beating Sebastian Vettel‘s Red Bull – Renault to the checkered flag.

The day was beautiful, the track shone in the autumn Texas sun, a few clouds dotting an beautiful blue sky. Temperatures were in the mid 70’s, with a track temperature of 88 degrees. There was a crowd approaching 120,000. The track had been very slick through qualifying and the open practice sessions were the first chance many teams had to experience the track. There was a noticeable lack of grip and many cars were careening off the course until the teams were able to dial the cars in.

What followed, though, was a thoroughly entertaining race. While Hamilton and Vettel finished around 30 seconds ahead of the field, there was hard racing throughout the field.

I plan on watching next week’s season ending Brazilian Grand Prix, and being fully engaged next season. As I said earlier, it’s the best racing on the planet and well worth the time.

If you are interested in the difference between NASCAR and F1, check this out.

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