Grand Prix 2012 United States Grand Prix Practice, Qualifying & Race Discussion

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
Yeehaw!
Saddle up and let's mosey on down to Texas for the penultimate round of the 2012 season.

(Okay, that's quite enough of that...)

If it wasn't for the fact that Red Bull and Vettel have all but tied both titles up, this would be one of the most exciting ends to a season for a while.

What we should have had is two or three drivers on approximately level points heading to an unknown circuit, which by all accounts looks like it's going to be a challenge for even the best drivers. Turn one in particular is a blind left at the crest of a hill, which could either make or break the race.
Instead, what we have is a dominant Red Bull who need just four points to take the Constructors' title and Sebastian Vettel who only needs to outscore Fernando Alonso by 15 points or more over the next two rounds to take the Drivers'.

The wheels have come off at McLaren with yet another retirement for Hamilton when leading comfortably at Abu Dhabi; this time due to a faulty fuel pump. McLaren have prosecuted a dreadful campaing this year; without doubt they should have been in a position to take both titles and instead they are unlikely to even be runners up in both.
Where did it all go wrong?

Renault scored their first victory of the season with Kimi Räikkönen. Apparently it was "nothing to jump around about" so we'll say no more.

Mercedes had another race to forget with both cars finishing outside the top 10. Again. One has to hope that this is not a precursor to next season's performance and the redesigned car will be a lot more competitive. They may be able to hang on to fifth in the Constructors' but that will be dependent on how many points the Sauber drivers squander, of which Pérez has been doing an admirable job since he signed for McLaren.

Force India and Williams are in their own private battle in both championships but the Force Indias are in the driving seat (thank you, I'm here all week) and look as if they will just have the edge.

Sadly, for another year, the three "new" teams still occupy all of the bottom places. Caterham had an opportunity during last week's race of attrition to jump Marussia into 10th place, which they currently hold thanks to Timo Glock's 12th place finish at Singapore, but Kovalainen was overtaken in the closing stages. The really sad part is I can't see this ever being any different; the step change in performance required to breach the gap just seems to be unattainable.

For those who haven't seen the circuit, this is the view from the start-finish straight to turn one:


Here's an onboard lap:

Galahad's circuit write up is here: http://cliptheapex.com/pages/circuit-of-the-americas/

Burgers, weak beer and popcorn are available from the concession stands (OK, OK, I'll stop now :D)
 

snowy

Champion Elect
The wheels have come off at McLaren with yet another retirement for Hamilton when leading comfortably at Abu Dhabi; this time due to a faulty fuel pump. McLaren have prosecuted a dreadful campaing this year; without doubt they should have been in a position to take both titles and instead they are unlikely to even be runners up in both.
Where did it all go wrong?
Turn 1 Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. :bored:
 

Viscount

Pole Sitter
Contributor
It doesn't seem much different from the other tracks we have with the pits exiting on the inside to a tight turn 1?
 

Jen

Here be dragons.
Contributor
Unlikely Slyboogy.

I'm just looking forward to the unknown - might be crap, but everyone is on a 'level playing field', so could equally be lots of fun. The joy of F1.
 

Viscount

Pole Sitter
Contributor
Uphill into a braking zone into a sharp left - can't think of many.
I don't know how much of an affect going uphill will have, but the pit exits at Bahrain, Valencia, Monza and New Delhi all lead into a braking zone and tight turn and generally manage to stay incident free when drivers are exiting the pits. At the starts on the other hand, maybe not.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
Generally speaking, at the top of a crest cars will become "light" and lose downforce and possibly experience understeer, whereas at the bottom of a hill they will become "heavy" and compress/bottom out.

I guess we'll see how the pit exit works in practice soon, but/awkward pit entrances and exits seem to be a growing feature of new circuits.

Almost as if it's a novelty and the latest "in thing" in circuit design.
 
I hate seeing those enormous run-offs at yet another new circuit. I get that driver safety is, and should be paramount, but I wonder if the lack of risk (to finishing the lap more than health) is part of the reason we're seeing apparently more reckless and respect-less driving? I wonder if some kind of defined area, perhaps colour coded, where if you go way too far off track you get an automatic drive-thru is in order. Sure, it wouldn't penalise as much as getting beached in a gravel track but would probably be enough to persuade the drivers not to stray too far from the white lines.
 

F1ang-o

Race Winner
Contributor
Sensors on areas where needed....so that there would be no arguments....all four wheels off the track...automatic drive thru. Seb would have been walloped a few times with that ....& he probably would have walloped a few cars on his way back to the front.
 

mjo

Procrastinating
Contributor
It seems that it will be quite challenging for the mechanics, designers and drivers. That can only be a good thing.
 

Boyle

Race Winner
Contributor
Good news everyone! Whilst Sebastian Vettel loves the continent of Asia (thanks teabag ;)) he is yet to win a race in North America! So the title could go to Interlagos...
 
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