F1 Track Preview with N. Hulkenberg – GP of USA

F1 Track Preview with N. Hulkenberg – GP of USA

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“Fantastic design, great corner combinations, a lot of fun” – Nico Hulkenberg is ready for the US Grand Prix. The German racer announced his switch to the Renault F1 team for 2017, but is focused again on the final races of the season.

2015 winner Lewis Hamilton, 56 laps, 1:50:52.703s

Pole position 2015 Nico Rosberg, 1m56.824s

2015 fastest lap Nico Rosberg, 1m40.666s (lap 49)

Name Circuit of The Americas

First race 2012

Circuit length 5.515km/3.427 miles (9th longest of the season)

Distance to Turn One 280m/0.174 miles (longest of season: Barcelona 730m/0.454 miles)

Longest straight 1.09km/0.677 miles, on the approach to the Turn 12

Top speed 330km/h/205mph, on the approach to Turn 12

Pitlane length 385m/0.239 miles, estimated time loss 22s (longest of season: Silverstone, 489m/0.304 miles)

Full throttle 63 per cent

DRS zones Two, on the approach to Turns One and 12

Key corner Turn One. The apex of this left-hander is the highest point on the lap and the steep uphill approach allows the drivers to brake very late. The corner is blind, requiring precision and commitment from the drivers, and a good exit is vital because a high-speed section follows

Fastest corner 260km/h (162mph), Turn 18

Slowest corner 80km/h (50mph), Turn 15

Major changes for 2016 None, except for maintenance work on kerbs and Astroturf

Fuel consumption 1.89kg per lap, which is average

ERS demands ERS is deployed for around 35 percent of the lap, which is average. There are several heavy braking areas in which to replenish the battery

Brake wear Medium. There are 10 braking zones, but only four of them are heavy. Just 14 per cent of the lap is spent on the brakes

Gear changes 54 per lap/3,024 per race

History lesson

COTA is the 10th grand prix venue in the United States, but the first purpose-built F1 facility. The first grand prix there was staged in 2012, since when it has been a regular fixture on the calendar. Last year’s race was memorable for the monsoon-like weather conditions, which led to qualifying being abandoned.

What makes it unique

Its eclectic mix of corners. COTA has more fast corners than Spa-Francorchamps and more slow corners than the Hungaroring – a combination that makes this track a huge challenge for both engineers and drivers.

Grip levels

Medium. When F1 first visited COTA four years ago, the asphalt was new and slippery. Grip levels have improved as the surface has aged and the surface of the asphalt has opened up.

Run-off

Good. The track is one of Hermann Tilke’s latest creations and it has ample run-off – as befits a modern grand prix circuit.

Watch out for…

The temperature. In October it gets quite cold at night, yet the midday sun pushes the temperature into the high-20s. This means the temperature swing is extreme, at least in a Formula 1 sense, and that makes it hard to balance the car from one on-track session to the next.

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