Texas Goes Green While New Jersey Receives Old Doubts

With little under two months until F1 heads to the United States, the circuit in Austin which will host the season’s penultimate race was finally given the thumbs up by the governing body of motorsport, the FIA. It is the first time the USA has hosted a Formula 1 race since 2007 when Lewis Hamilton led Fernando Alonso home for a McLaren 1-2 finish at Indianapolis.

Since the announcement of the race, it has not been a completely smooth ride. Construction had been halted late last year in a dispute over the circuit’s contract and the sport’s chief Bernie Ecclestone claimed more than once that it was unlikely to take place as contract issues were failing to be ironed out.

Race Director of the FIA, Charlie Whiting has been in his position since 1997 and has been to many on-site inspections leading up to the staging of a venue’s first Grand Prix. At the circuit’s inspection this week, he was full of praise for the work which has been undertaken and had no qualms as the date for racing draws nearer.

“Everything that I’ve seen so far has been absolutely first class, and the progress that’s been made since the last time that I was here is amazing,” Whiting said.

“The guys have done an awesome job – it really is quite fantastic! It’s built to the highest quality, exactly as we expected, and I’ve got absolutely no complaints whatsoever.”

On any race track, an important feature is the chance to overtake. Recent additions to the calender, such as Korea and India contain vastly-long straights into slow, sharp turns and Whiting is sure that the Texas track can deliver passing opportunities while he also commented on the uniquely uphill Turn 1.

“It’s a very modern approach to slow corners where we hope overtaking will take place. So I’m very confident it will work well.

“Turn 1 is awesome. It’s the only word I can think of to describe it, and I think drivers and teams coming here for the first time will say the same thing.”

He will return in the week before the race to complete a final pre-event inspection.

Sebastian Vettel did a demonstration run in June as promotion for the event

Less go and more on the no side, the prospect of America having two races on one calender has changed since the event’s announcement in 2011. Initially with a statement full of optimism, the event has had mutterings from Bernie Ecclestone of a negative, saying a few times that it was unlikely to meet satisfaction in time for 2013. This week, he again threw doubt on the race.

“We’ll have to see – I need to go and have another look. What I’ve seen up to now, and what’s been going on, I’m not quite as sure as they are.

“If they can get it completed and confirm to us it will be done for sure, they’ll be on the calendar.”

If it goes forward, it will take place at the home of such notable figures as Bruce Springsteen and Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon. Ecclestone has long wished for a race in the region of New York and it seems close yet possibly so far to happening. Titled as the Grand Prix Of America, it is listed as provisional on the 2013 race calender, but many are hoping that it comes through and hosts what would be a third race in North America from next year.

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