US Grand Prix: Stage Preview

US Grand Prix: Stage Preview

The American Grand Prix opens a series of four stages on the American continent: in Austin, Mexico City, Sao Paulo and Las Vegas. After a short eastern tour in Singapore, Japan and Qatar, Formula 1 moves to the West.

The first three stages will be held back to back, with only a break before Vegas, after which the season ends in Abu Dhabi. Five Grand Prix in six weeks, four of which are on our evening programme, two in Austin and Sao Paulo with a sprint on Saturday.

The schedule is extremely stressful for everyone involved with Formula 1, especially for team employees and logistics specialists – with each stage the chance of mistakes increases. In the past they have been avoided, but this will not always be the case.

However, the fate of the championship title and the constructors’ championship has already been decided, which somewhat reduces the severity of the problem. There are still local battles for championship positions and victories in the remaining races, which is also very interesting. The teams have long since switched to preparing for the next season and will bring new products intended for 2024. This weekend, however, Haas F1 promises to seriously update the car. Let’s see if this will affect the balance of power.

The organizers of the Austin stage are actively experimenting with the format. Not all experiments turned out to be successful – such as a long presentation of the riders before the start in 2017 with the participation of ring announcer Michael Buffer, but the idea of ​​​​postponing the qualifications to a later date, tested in the same year, due to a subsequent concert , took place.

This year the stage will be held for the first time with a Saturday sprint – now this session has been postponed to a later date. Moscow time it starts on Sunday at one o’clock in the morning, so on this day we will see two races at once: the sprint at one o’clock and the Grand Prix at ten in the evening.

The Austin stage, which appeared on the calendar under Bernie Ecclestone, celebrated its tenth anniversary last year and is gradually losing its former status. Liberty Media now has showcase stages in Miami and Vegas, and Austin, Texas, while popular with fans, now has a choice. However, ticket prices in Austin are noticeably cheaper than the other two US venues.

Over the years, Formula 1 has formed its own audience in Texas; many people love the music festival atmosphere surrounding the Grand Prix. The stands won’t be empty, but you won’t surprise anyone with cowboy hats on stage.

One of Austin’s obvious weaknesses is its uneven, bumpy asphalt. The characteristics of the local soil are such that it was impossible to guarantee its long-term stability. In some places it can rise or fall, causing waves on the asphalt. A few years ago, MotoGP riders threatened to boycott the event if the track conditions remained the same – it was simply dangerous.

In response, organizers changed the surface again in winter 2022, reinforcing some areas with a concrete foundation, but admitted that it was impossible to completely solve this problem. And it could be crucial for the future of ‘the first real home of Formula 1 in the US’, as they said twelve years ago.

Source: F1 News

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