It is of course excellent news that Formula One is to return to the USA for 2012, at a purpose-built circuit near Austin, Texas. It is not such great news that Herrman Tilke will be responsible for circuit design. According to this on Adam Cooper’s blog, the site is hilly and Tilke has been asked to create a fast track with challenging corners that resemble those of classic circuits.
In his guest post for Sidepodcast, F1 – How It Should Be, Steven Roy pointed out that many circuits have too many corners. Aerodynamically sensitive F1 cars have enough difficulty following the car in front through a turn without the additional handicap of most straights being too short to get a run at the car in front.
In recent years, I can think of two circuits at which if someone qualifies badly, I still think they can overtake their way up the field in the race, Interlagos and Indianapolis.
At the São Paulo track, there is a medium-speed corner followed by a number of flat-out left-kinks onto the start/finish, effectively equating to a very long straight, which gives the driver behind the chance to slipstream up to and alongside the car in front. Additionally, the track then turns left downhill and then right, so even if the driver in front protects the inside going into the first part, the driver behind can attack around the outside for the inside in the second part.
At Indianapolis, it also featured a medium-speed corner followed with a long flat-out blast, onto and along the banking, before the cars swooped down this time into a right-left, which provided good overtaking opportunities.
So Mr Tilke, we know designing straights is boring, that you are just itching with all your being to pack this circuit with as many corners imitating the classics as you possibly can, but please, please, please put in a great long straight off a medium speed corner onto a downhill esse. Is it too much to ask that just for once we get a Formula One circuit designed for F1 cars to overtake on?
At least the owner specified a “fast” circuit. Just imagine how many corners Tilke would put in if asked for a slow circuit!
(I will try to get around to an entry on past Grands Prix in the USA.)