Toto Wolf Speaks Strategy
It was encouraging to see our positive performance momentum continue last time out in Turkey. We haven’t scored back-to-back race wins in a little while, so naturally spirits have been high in the factories since we returned from Istanbul. That race win was also the 200th victory for Brixworth since they began their winning streak in 1997, which is a remarkable achievement and a testament to the passion and hard work of everyone at HPP.
Istanbul was a dominant performance from Valtteri in tricky conditions, taking his first win of the season. A faultless drive from him and he was in control of the race from the very beginning. It’s a brilliant boost for him and the team heading into the final part of the season and helping us to extend our lead in the Constructors’ standings.
For Lewis, the absolute view of Turkey is that he lost one point more than Max did in the previous race in Russia with a similar engine change, which we can live with. The relative view when you’re in the heat of a race is to always want another position, to score more points – that’s who we are as racers and we wouldn’t want that competitive intensity any other way.
This season has had so many twists and turns, so we’re ready to react to whatever comes our way this weekend in Texas. We’re excited to be back in Austin for the first time since 2019, it’s always a popular stop on the calendar and we can’t wait to see all the passionate American fans.
The Circuit of the Americas is a fun track for the drivers. There are some really fast and flowing corners, plus some technical sections and good overtaking opportunities. It’s got a bit of everything and is a great track for racing, so I’m sure we’re set for an entertaining Grand Prix.
Fact File: United States Grand Prix
- The design of several corners at the Circuit of the Americas was inspired by iconic turns from European tracks. These include Turns 3-6 (Maggots and Becketts at Silverstone), Turns 12-15 (Hockenheim’s stadium section) and Turns 16-18 (Istanbul Park’s Turn 8)
- Turns 16-18 were inspired by Turkey’s Turn 8, but how do they compare? Both sequences are around 570 metres in length, but it takes slightly longer to negotiate Austin’s section due to a slower entry speed. However, the cars are accelerating all the way through the corner, whereas at Turn 8, they maintain the same speed.
- COTA is tied with the Baku City Circuit for the fourth-most corners of any track on the 2021 F1 schedule, with 20 in total – split between eleven left-hand turns and nine right-handers.
- Because of the high number of corners and variety of corner speeds, it’s also one of the busiest laps on the F1 calendar for gear changes. Drivers change gear 56 times per lap.
- There are seven anti-clockwise tracks on the 2021 F1 schedule, one of which is COTA. The other six circuits are: Istanbul Park, Imola, Interlagos, Baku, Jeddah and Yas Marina.
- The drivers take the sequence from Turns 2 to 7 at an average speed of over 250kph, making this one of the most sensitive tracks in terms of downforce. This is why COTA sits at the higher end of the downforce spectrum.
- This means the drivers are continuously cornering above 250kph for over 800 metres, one of the longest stretches of cornering at this speed on the calendar. And the g-forces are building with each corner through this section of track.
- The braking zone for Turn 12 generates over 5G under braking, one of the biggest of the season – a driver weighing 70kg will be experiencing 350kg when they hit the brakes.
- The steep rise to Turn 1 is the biggest single corner elevation change of the season, with a 30m climb in just over 200m of track. This is half the height of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. For comparison, COTA’s Observation Tower measures in at 77m tall.
- 10 different venues have hosted Formula One races in the United States, the most of any country.
- COTA is renowned for being one of the bumpier tracks that F1 visits, due to subsidence and the bumps evolving with each season.
- It’s one of the better tracks for overtaking, due to the layout featuring several long straights followed by short, sharp, low-speed corners. It is also a circuit that allows drivers to take a few different lines through certain corners, to achieve the same lap time. This characteristic opens up opportunities and means you can drive out of the wake of the cars ahead but still follow closely to get the tow on the straight.
- A good example of a corner with multiple lines is Turn 15, which has a wide entry and narrower exit. So, the opportunity is there to make a pass, or set up a pass later in the lap. It’s also a corner with a ‘combined’ braking zone – turning and braking at the same time – which can cause lockups if pushing the limits of the tyre too much.