Formula 1 report Nº 20 

The 22 race calendar for 2020 has been confirmed by the FIA & begins as usual in Australia on 15th March & the season will finish on 29th November as usual in Abu Dhabi.

United States GP Round 19. Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas. 

Lap record 1m 37.766s held by L. Hamilton Mercedes (2018).

The circuit was built on a 3.6km² undeveloped land at Elroy in Travis County, in the ‘Lone Star State’ of Texas and situated 19kms south of Austin. It was officially opened on 21st October 2012 with Mario Andretti running ceremonial laps in the Lotus 79 that he drove when he became the last American to win the F1 drivers’ championship in 1978. The major feature at COTA is the observation tower which stands 77mtrs high and has an elevator hoist-way surrounded by a stairway with 419 steps leading to the observation platform 70mtrs above ground level which can accommodate 70 spectators. The circuit includes re-creations of the Maggotts, Becketts & Chapel sequence at Silverstone, Hockenheim’s Arena Bends and a replica of Istanbul’s Turn Eight also with inspirations from the Senna ‘S’ at Interlagos and the Sebring-Auspuffkurve at the old Österreichring. The circuit also boasts a 1km long back straight between turns 11 & 13 and a very steep 133ft elevation to turn 1. It has 2 DRS zones; the first along the aforementioned back straight and the second along the start/finish straight. It is the third of the five anti-clockwise circuits and has 20 turns (11 left & 9 rights). 

This was the 39th American GP; Sebring in 1959, Riverside (’60), Watkins Glen (‘61-’80), Phoenix (’89-’91) Indianapolis (2000-’07) plus the 6 at this venue. Ham won the inaugural race with Vet second and Alo third. In 2018 Räi won from second with Ver & Ham joining him on the podium. Ham also postedthe fastest lap of 1m 37.766son lap 48 (a new lap record). 

Friday morning for FP1 was bright & sunny but very cold at 8ºC. 

A bright & sunny start for the race at 1.10pm with the temperature at 2ºC. Bot got away wel, but the Ferrari duo both had a bad start. Vet ended up having a battle with Ham & Ver. Alb & Sai touched as they ran wide to avoid the battle ahead. Vet had a problem with his suspension and dropped down to 7th place. Alb had to pit for repairs at the end of the first lap. Vet pulled off the circuit on lap 8 when his rear suspension broke & the pit stop flurry started when Ver stopped on lap 13 and others followed suite, causing a lot of position changes and more battles. Lec had a very slow stop due to a problem with a wheel nut. Kub retired with a hydraulic problem on lap 32. Mag in the gravel on lap 52, then on the penultimate lap Gas retired with suspension failure. Bot took the chequered flag for the first time in America, with Ham getting his 6th championship in second place & Ver 3rd. Kvy was handed a 5 second time penalty for causing a collision with Per. There were lots of good battles and some very close wheel to wheel racing some a little too close. 

Ham is now a six time champion, Bot is runner up 65 points ahead of Lec. Mercedes champions, Ferrari have secured second place and Red Bull third. 

Formula 1 report Nº 21 

All of the teams will be retaining their drivers for next season except Renault who are replacing Hül for Oco. Kubica announcied that he will leave at the end of the year. The team will probably have another rookie in; the 24 year old Canadian Formula 2 driver (currently 2nd in the championship) Nicholas Latifi. 

Formula 1 Heineken Grande Prêmio do Brasil.

Autodromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo.

Lap record 1m 10.540s held by V. Bottas Mercedes (2018).

The name Interlagos is Portugese for ‘between two lakes’ as the circuit was built in a natural bowl which had 2 small lakes in it. The circuit is situated in the Socorro district of São Paulo built in 1954. There was a non-Championship race in 1972 and it hosted the Formula 1 Brazilian GP from 1973 until 1980 with the exception of ’78 when it was held at the Jacapaguá circuit at Rio de Janeiro, returning to the Interlagos circuit for the next 2 seasons and back again to Jacapaguá from 1981 until 1989. From 1990 the event has been held on the shortened circuit and was renamed José Carlos Pace in honour of the Brazilian racer who was killed in a light aircraft crash near São Paulo on 18th March 1977 at the age of 32. He drove for Williams, Surtees & Brabham and from his 72 starts he had only 1 win (at his home GP in 1975)

This was the 47th Brazilian GP but the 37th at Interlagos. The first GP at São Paulo in 1973 was round 2 at the beginning of the season and the 40 lap race was won by Brazilian E. Fittipaldi driving a JPS Lotus V8 1h 43m 55.600s with J. Stewart in a Tyrrell-Ford Cosworth V8 & D. Hulme in a McLaren-Ford Cosworth V8  joined him on the podium.

The first race on the revamped and shortened circuit 4.325km in 1990, again as round 2, then became a 71 lap race and was won by A. Prost in a Ferrari V12. The event moved to the end of the season in 2004 and was held as the season finale until 2013. Current drivers winning at this circuit are Vet with 3, Ham 2 & Räi with 1. 

FP1 started with a heavy rainstorm and a very cool 17ºC. Qualifying in the afternoon was 21ºC and cloudy. 

Race day began with glorious sunshine, but quite windy and a temperature of 21ºC. All got away well, but Vet lost out to Ham at the first corner. There were some fierce battles, but all 20 drivers made it without any drama. Ric & Mag had a coming together; broken wing on the Renault causing an unscheduled pit stop and subsequently getting a 5 second time penalty for causing a collision. Lec made up 4 places by the end of lap 1 & Sai from the back was up to 15th place. Kub was given a 5 second penalty for an unsafe release into the path of Ver during the pit stop window. Bot was the first retirement on lap 51 with smoke pouring from his W10. Safety car deployed for 7 laps & after the re-start there was a lot of action and some flashes of brilliance throughout the field. The Ferrari drivers got a bit too close and banged wheels taking them both out of the race & safety car deployed once again. Str retired with damage caused by picking up some debris and for some strange reason Ham pitted for fresh rubber with only 3 laps remaining. At the re-start, in his foolhardy attempt to get his place back, he bashed wheels with Alb sending the Thai driver into a spin and lose out on a potential first podium. After an exciting and action-packed race Ver took the win in style. Gas & Ham joined him on the podium. It was then announced that Ham was handed a 5 second penalty dropping him to 7th. Hül was given a post-race 5 second time penalty for overtaking before the safety car line which dropped him from 11th to 15th.