Jérôme d’Ambrosio, Lotus F1 Team
There is a real buzz about the Circuit of The Americas. It’s a very enjoyable layout with a couple of good opportunities for overtaking, some long, fast, sweeping ‘S’ bends and a few really satisfying, high speed changes of direction similar to the ‘Becketts’ complex at Silverstone. The first corner is also quite special and it will be interesting to see it when people are dicing for position in the race. It’s an enjoyable layout for a racing driver and also fantastic for the fans as the viewing areas are very well placed to catch all the action; of which there should be plenty!
Rémi Taffin, Renault Sport F1 head of track operations
Going to a new track always presents a new set of challenges as we rely heavily on simulations conducted in the dyno and on various computer modelling software. The accuracy of the models is such that we can gauge starting gear ratios, fuel consumption over one lap and a basic torque map, but nuances such as the kerbing, the abrasiveness and the undulations of the track will all need to be assessed on site.
The first sector starts with a low speed hairpin that will require good engine braking and response on the exit since it opens out to a flowing sequence of turns that have characteristics of the Maggotts-Becketts complex in Silverstone or the Esses in Suzuka. This turn is also blind, so the driver will need to ‘feel’ the corner and have the confidence that the car will behave as he wants. The next sector will be a fantastic challenge for drivers, and also for engine engineers as this type of complex is the hardest to map! The average speed through this sector will be around 210kph in fifth or sixth gear with the revs no lower than 15,000rpm. The internals of the engine will also be subject to high lateral g-forces as the driver rapidly switches direction.
A high percentage of sector two is given to the long straight, one of the longer straights on the calendar at just over a kilometre. Despite its length it’s one of the easier parts of this track; it’s sector three that is going to present the hardest challenge as it includes corners similar to the most challenging corners on the calendar; the stadium in Hockenheim and Turn 8 in Istanbul! This will be one of the sectors we will work the hardest on when we arrive.
What you can’t see from the track map is that there is a lot of undulation change over the lap, very similar to India. This will put an extra strain on the engine internals as the lubricants rise and fall within the systems over the crests and dips, but we do not expect it to be a particular concern as we already have plenty of experience on this type of track from Spa and India this year.