FIA Race Director and Safety Delegate, Charlie Whiting, spoke at Circuit of The Americas earlier today about the preparedness of the track for November's race. Mr. Whiting makes this final inspection 60 days prior to an inaugural Formula 1 race in order to make sure the circuit will be complete in time.
Here are a few excerpts from today's media briefing with Mr. Whiting:
"When you look at the track & the facility, what are you looking for?"
Details, really. Just to make sure that things like the track surface, the kerbs, the verges, the run off areas, guard rails, fences, verges, everything, is in the right condition.
Officially the final inspection has to be done 60 days prior to the first race. It's not normally practical to have everything absolutely, totally ready. But what we need to be sure of is that the Circuit will be ready. And, so what we're looking for here is that the asphalt, for example, is all done and it's all to good quality. The kerbs are all finished, the verges are all virtually finished, guard rails and fences are 98% done. You know, I'm 100% confident that everything will be absolutely fine.
"So, it passed the final inspection?"
"With your racing background, how do you think this track will race?"
Very well, indeed. We've got three, if not four, corners which are, very likely to see overtaking. They've been designed...if you look at Turn 1...so that they're extremely wide and the apex is very short. It's a very sort of modern approach to slow corners, where we hope overtaking will take place. So, I'm very confident it will work well.
"What was your impression of Turn 1?"
Awesome...is the only word I can find to describe it. And I think drivers and teams alike, coming here for the first time, will say the same thing.
"Will this be a single or double DRS Zone circuit?"
"...and wear rate on tyres? ...kinda tough on tyres, kinda light?"
Very hard to know until we get to know what the asphalt is like. It's impossible to say at this point. But I can say certainly there will only be one DRS Zone.
"Do you know where that DRS Zone will be?"
Between Turns 11 and 12.
It was great to hear Mr. Whiting share his enthusiasm and confidence for Circuit of The Americas!