Force India Race Preview - USA Grand Prix
18 October 2018 | Ravenol Marketing
This weekend our F1 Technical Partners Force India are in Austin for the USA Grand Prix.
Texas doesn’t do things by halves and is home to extensive ranches, hearty steaks and full on Formula One tracks. Shaped roughly like a lumberjack’s handsaw, the Circuit of the Americas (aka COTA) includes high speed corners, tight hairpins and steep gradients thrown in to keep the drivers on their toes, and in case that wasn’t exciting enough, local subsidence due to soft soil causes the track to be unusually bumpy. Considering drivers complain about the vibrations caused by a flat spot after locking up, we can assume it’s not going to be a comfortable ride.
The track designers took elements of other circuits when designing COTA to be an exhilarating purpose-built F1 track, such as Spa’s elevation changes (almost 40 meters across circuit), Suzuka’s “Esses” and Yas Marina’s long straight after a tight hairpin. But it’s a rare anticlockwise circuit, so the car settings and drivers’ headrests need to reflect the G-forces mainly coming from the opposite side. Temperature wise, it should be much cooler than the intensive Texan Summer and there’s even a chance of rain across all three days to liven things up.
Last time out in Suzuka, another mixed track with variable weather conditions, both VJM11 cars finished in the top 10, so we can expect a similar show of form here in Austin. Cheered on by his home fans from nearby Mexico, we certainly expect Checo to be on top form.
As usual, we caught up with Force India’s Drivers’ Eye to find out how our favourite F1 drivers are feeling about this exciting race.
“All weekend long you can see plenty of Mexican fans and you feel all their love and support,” Checo told them. “It makes it a really special weekend for me and I also have my family and friends there as well, so it really is like the perfect race.
“The Circuit of the Americas is very enjoyable. It’s a very interesting circuit and it has some very challenging parts, especially the first sector. Turn one is really unusual and it’s the corner I enjoy the most: it’s very hard to pick your braking point and not miss the blind apex. The Esses that follow make this sector really fun to drive. Last year was the first time we got to try it with the high downforce cars and I’m looking forward to having another go this weekend.
“We have had this kind of great balance in the last few races, so I think we can be competitive and pick up some good points.”
Esteban agreed, “Austin is a fantastic track and it features lots of nice bits from other circuits combined into one.”
“It’s a good track for fighting, with some quick corners and some chances to overtake. Turn one and the left hander at the end of the back straight are quite good opportunities. The first sector is my favourite section. It’s very quick, very technical and in the Esses you need to position the car well otherwise you end up losing time in all the following corners. It’s good fun, but so tricky to get right. Setting the car up is a big challenge. You need a car you can trust in the quick sections and a good car in the slow section – not an easy compromise.”