Mario Andretti launches Circuit of the Americas
22 October 2012 – Austin’s Circuit of the Americas was given a ‘First Lap Ceremony’ with Formula 1 cars on Sunday, with 1978 World Champion Mario Andretti in action. The brand-new Texas venue will be hosting the returning United States Grand Prix next month.
“It’s everything I expected and more,” he smiled. “The track is phenomenal. It has all the features that you are looking for, giving you the opportunity to overtake, while negotiating some tighter corners. You can tell a lot of thought has gone into it.”
One of the current breed also sampled the circuit, as Lotus reserve driver Jérôme d’Ambrosio – who competed in the Italian Grand Prix while Romain Grosjean served his one-race ban – also attended the event.
"It’s a very enjoyable layout with a couple of really good places for overtaking, some long and fast sweeping ‘S’ corners and some really good high-speed changes of direction like Becketts at Silverstone. It was a shame not to get more laps, as an engine issue meant we were unable to continue running, but I had enough time to get a really good feel of the circuit.”
Austin’s race will come on 18 November, just one week before the finale in Brazil; it will mark the first American F1 event since Indianapolis in 2007, won by Lewis Hamilton. Last week, it was confirmed that the new Grand Prix of Americas, taking place in New Jersey, has been put back to 2014 because of construction delays.