Analysis: Austin looks like a hit for Formula 1
|By Jonathan Noble||Thursday, November 15th 2012, 08:17 GMT|
Every great Formula 1 track needs an iconic corner. For Spa, think Eau Rouge (old Spa had the Masta Kink). For Silverstone, think the new Becketts. For Suzuka, think 130R. For Austin, it's Turn 1.
We have been treated to artist's impressions and photos of Turn 1 during construction, but images never do justice to the kind of elevation that has been delivered at the Circuit of the Americas.
As F1 rolled back in to the United States, its first glimpse of the track was of Turn 1 towering high above the rest of the venue - reminiscent of how Radillion looms large at Spa as you arrive each morning.
And it's steep. Punishingly steep for those of us who donned trainers and got out there for a run or a cycle ride ahead of the weekend's activities getting underway.
If it took our breath away at 10km/h, you can only imagine what it is going to be like for drivers, with their bums a few inches from the ground, as they take the rise at more than 200km/h.
Turn 1 is wide too - with a blind apex that is going to make things pretty tricky for the drivers as they balance finding the right braking spot, the right turning point and noting what the opposition is up to. It's no wonder Hermann Tilke is expecting a few thrills and spills on Friday.
But what goes up must go down - as, after Turn 1, the track drops steeply into a section of track that designer Hermann Tilke has labelled the 'snake'.
It's a mixture of Becketts at Silverstone and the Esses at Suzuka, with some trick camber changes that are going to demand a lot from the drivers.
If section one of the track is great for drivers, part two of the venue looks like a dream for spectators – as the Hockenheim stadium-type run from Turn 12 to 15, followed by the long sweeping right hander after, offers fans the chance to see how good F1 cars are at braking/acceleration and changing direction.
F1 knows it needs to make the most of its latest chance to break the American market – and Austin has delivered in terms of a layout that has potential.
Wouldn't it be fantastic if that potential was fully realised on Sunday?