Formula 1 rolls into Austin, Texas this weekend for the third United States Grand Prix from the Circuit of The America’s however a lot of the focus will be on the teams that will not be present.
As the championship hots up with just three races remaining, two teams that won’t be on the grid this weekend are Caterham and Marussia. Both teams entered administration this weekend and it is unclear when either outfit will be back on the grid.
Whilst there is trouble at the rear of the grid, there is also trouble at the front. This weekend could have a massive say in where the 2014 heads. Nico Rosberg finds himself seventeen points behind teammate Lewis Hamilton who has won all four of the previous four races, with just three to go now has to be the time for the German to fight back.
Hamilton has a good record in North America, he took his first victory in 2007 in Canada and then followed that up with win number two the weekend after in Canada. As F1 returned to the United States in 2012 it was Lewis Hamilton that stood on the top step on the podium at a race that proved to be his last victory for McLaren.
— Lewis Hamilton (@LewisHamilton) October 30, 2014
Behind the runaway leaders, Williams look to be the team who will be joining the Silver Arrows on the podium come Sunday. Whilst second place in the constructors championship belongs to Red Bull, Williams are in a fierce battle with Ferrari but the Mercedes powered could all but cement third place if Valtteri Bottas can make his way onto the podium again for the fifth time this weekend.
The Circuit of the America’s first held a race in 2012 and made an instant impact. The track takes a selection of some of the best corners in the world that always throws up an exciting race. The first sector is reminiscent of Silverstone’s iconic Maggots Beckets complex with Turn One featuring a blind apex at the top of a 134 feet climb.
Corners from other tracks feature around the 5.5 Km circuit such as Turn Eight from Istanbul Park towards the end of the lap.
Two DRS Zones feature this weekend with the first being along the 1.2 KM straight which will see a lot of overtaking especially in the opening stages. The second zone is located on the pit straight on the short climb up to Turn One.
Sebastian Vettel looks set to sit out of qualifying on Sunday and start the race on Sunday from the pitlane. The four time world champion is expected to take an engine penalty. The German has used all five of his allocated engines for the season. It became clear that a penalty was coming his way after he hit engine problems in Practice in Singapore.
Due to the high speed nature of the circuit this looks to be a weekend where is pays to use Mercedes power. With the steep climb to Turn One and the fast flowing sector one followed by a long straight, expect Mercedes, Williams, McLaren and Force India to occupy the majority of the points paying positions.
With stable weather conditions it should be yet another show of dominance from the pairing of Hamilton and Rosberg, but which of the two will prevail is yet to be seen.