Everything you need to know about the coming 2022 USA F1 GP
The 2022 Formula 1 World Championship season will continue with its 19th Grand Prix of the year, the United States GP. The World Drivers' Championship has already been sealed in favor of Red Bull and Max Verstappen, but the World Constructors' title is yet to be decided.
Will the budget cap saga end in Austin?
Of course, there is still controversy surrounding the paddock due to Aston Martin's and Red Bull's breach of the 2021 budget cap and the pending penalties for it. The noise surrounding the Cost Cap saga might even be bigger than the racing action on Sunday, but Red Bull will still be going for the World Constructors' Championship.
The Austrian team will win the WCC if it has 147 points over Ferrari after Sunday's race (the gap is currently at 165 points). Currently, there are 191 points available for the WCC, including Brazil's Sprint event.
US GP to be constructors championship decider
Red Bull is looking to win its first World Constructors' Championship since 2013, and the team could sweep it all, as Sergio Pérez can finish second in the WDC (he currently leads Ferrari's Charles Leclerc by one point).
Behind the Top 3 in the WDC, George Russell is fourth for Mercedes with 207 points, ahead of Ferrari's Carlos Sainz (202 points). Meanwhile, multiple World Champion Sir Lewis Hamilton is sixth with 180 points. Mercedes will bring updates to the USA, but it remains to be seen if those will make the team a contender for victory, as that place remains reserved for Red Bull under normal circumstances.
Red Bull leads with 619 points in the World Constructors' Championship. Ferrari is second with 454, and Mercedes is third with 387.
Alpine (143 points with Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso) surpassed McLaren (130 points with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo) to regain fourth place in the World Constructors’ Championship. The French team had a huge boost at Japan thanks to a brilliant fourth place from Ocon, who gave the team its best finish of the season.
Alfa Romeo (Valtteri Bottas and Guanyu Zhou) remains sixth in the WCC with 52 points. However, Aston Martin (47 points - Sebastian Vettel and Lance Stroll) has scored points in six of the las seven races and is now threatening Alfa Romeo, which has one points in the last nine GPs.
Haas (34 points - Kevin Magnussen and Mick Schumacher) is eighth in
the World Constructors’ Championship.
AlphaTauri (34 points - Pierre Gasly and Yuki Tsunoda), and Williams (8 points with Alexander Albon, Nicholas Latifi and Nyck De Vries) round out the WCC positions.
2022 US GP Facts & Figures
The 2022 edition of the US Grand Prix will be the 73rd Formula 1 World Championship race held in the country and the second in the US in 2022, after the Miami Grand Prix.
Of course, the United States’ story in the Formula 1 World Championship is full of different stages, as the country has held over 70 Grands Prix already, but the 2022 event will be the 43rd race with the “US Grand Prix” title that is part of the World Championship of Drivers.
The country has hosted seven different GPs by title, including the Indianapolis 500 (11 between 1950 and 1960), US Grand Prix (four different eras since 1959), US Grand Prix West (eight between 1976 and 1983), a couple of Caesars Palace GPs in 1981 and 1982, Detroit GP (from 1982 to 1988), Dallas GP in 1984 and the Miami Grand Prix since 2022.
No other country has hosted more different GPs by name than the US, with Italy coming in second place in that regard with five (Italian, Pescara, San Marino, Tuscan and Emilia Romagna GP).
The United States Grand Prix has been held in six different circuits, starting with Sebring in 1959, Riverside in 1960, Watkins Glen from 1961 to 1980, Phoenix from 1989 to 1991, Indianapolis Motor Speedway from 2000 to 2007, and Austin from 2012.
The event has seen pretty much all sides of Formula 1, including tragic scenes, championship-winning efforts, maiden wins, scandals, a six-car race, a famous return to the top of the podium, and more.
Sir Jack Brabham clinched the first of his three World Drivers’ Championships at the US, in 1959, while Innes Ireland gave Team Lotus its first win in 1961 at Watkins Glen, and his only Grand Prix triumph. Jochen Rindt achieved his maiden win at the US in 1969, while Emerson Fittipaldi’s first-ever win clinched the posthumous WDC for Rindt, who had tragically died at Monza earlier in 1970, and the 1970 World Constructors’ Championship for Lotus.
Francois Cevert won the 1971 event, but his story with the circuit ended tragically in 1973, when he died during practice for the race. Cevert was Jackie Stewart’s Tyrrell teammate, and he had finished second in 1972 in a 1-2 for the team.
Stewart retired right before the 1973 event due to Cevert’s death. He had already planned to retire after winning his third Formula 1 championship but did not start what would’ve been his 100th Grand Prix after his friend’s death.
During the US Grand Prix’s first decades in the F1 circus, the race was often scheduled as the last race of the year or near the end of the calendar, which is why some titles were decided in the US.
In 1974, Emerson Fittipaldi sealed his second Formula 1 World Championship driving his McLaren M23, and beating Ferrari’s Clay Regazzoni for the WDC. However, the race was marred by the fatal accident of Austrian Helmuth Koinigg.
Austrian legend Niki Lauda sealed his second Formula 1 World Championship driving his Ferrari 312T2 to P4 while James Hunt took his second consecutive win at the US.
The last F1 race held at Watkins Glen came in 1980, with Alan Jones winning with Carlos Reutemann second in a Williams 1-2. World Champions Fittipaldi and Jody Scheckter competed in F1 for the final time during the 1980 event.
The US Grand Prix returned to the calendar in 1989 and was held at Phoenix until 1991. Those years were in the middle of the McLaren-Honda domination, and the team won all three races at Phoenix, with Alain Prost winning in 1989 and Ayrton Senna in 1990 and 1991.
The event was again out of the calendar for nine years until its return in 2000, but this time, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway held the US round in its Grand Prix Road Course, which was 4.192-km long.
The US Grand Prix took place at Indianapolis eight times, and Ferrari won six times, with Michael Schumacher winning five races and ‘giving’ Rubens Barrichello the 2002 event by 0.011 seconds.
In the 2001 event, Mika Hakkinen took the 20th and last win of his Formula 1 career for McLaren-Mercedes, while Lewis Hamilton achieved his second GP win in 2007 after a battle with teammate Fernando Alonso.
The 2005 US Grand Prix saw only the six Bridgestone-equipped teams compete as a result of a massive withdrawal from those teams with Michelin tyres (including frontrunners Renault and McLaren) due to safety concerns.
The six-car race was definitely a weird sight for F1 fans on the circuit and watching on TV and was won by Michael Schumacher in a Ferrari 1-2, while Tiago Monteiro achieved the only podium of his career for Jordan.
The 2007 event was the last F1 race at Indy to date, as financial issues generated by the fee paid by the track owners at the time put the track away from the Formula 1 calendar.
The Circuit of the Americas held the return of the Formula 1 United States Grand Prix in 2012 and the Hermann Tilke-designed track lived up to expectations and earned a good reputation among drivers.
Hamilton won in F1’s return to the United States after a late overtake on Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull. It was Hamilton’s final win for McLaren and the second consecutive for him at the US, after his 2007 triumph for the same team.
Vettel went on to win from Pole Position in 2013, in what was his eighth consecutive victory of the season, and established a new record (which would go to nine straight wins in the final race of that season).
Hamilton then won for Mercedes from 2014 to 2017, while Kimi Raikkonen famously won the 2018 event driving the Ferrari SF71H ahead of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen and Hamilton. It was Raikkonen’s first win since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix, his first for Ferrari since the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix, and the 21st of his career, breaking Mika Hakkinen’s record for wins by a Finnish driver.
Raikkonen had to wait for 113 races to return to the top of the podium, which is the longest gap between wins by a driver in F1 history.
Hamilton finished second in the 2019 event, behind another Finnish race-winner at Austin, Valtteri Bottas, and secured his sixth Formula 1 World Championship. The Covid-19 pandemic did not allow the race to go ahead in 2020, but it made a big return with the 2021 round, with Verstappen's Red Bull winning ahead of Hamilton.
Among drivers, Sir Lewis Hamilton is the all-time leader in wins at the United States Grand Prix with six, one at Indy and five at Austin. Among teams, Ferrari leads with 10 triumphs, ahead of Lotus and McLaren (eight each).
Circuit of the Americas track info
The Circuit of the Americas, at Austin, Texas, is a 5.513-km-long circuit designed by Hermann Tilke.
The circuit has it all, with a tremendous first sector that is similar to the Suzuka esses or the Maggotts-Becketts-Chapel section of Silverstone, a long back straight (1.00 km), and a multi-apex right-hander in the final sector which is similar to Istanbul’s Turn 8.
It has 20 turns and is a complex that requires good setup compromise to cope with many curves, a long straight and elevation changes.
Mainly during MotoGP outings, riders have been very vocal while criticizing the bumpy nature of the circuit, but organizers have been a bit diligent and the surface has been smoothed out in order to give a better feel to competitors and improve safety.
The lap records at the Circuit of the Americas were established by Charles Leclerc, driving for Ferrari in 2019, with a 1:36.169 min lap in the 2019 race. Valtteri Bottas established the outright Fastest Lap in Qualifying for the 2019 race, with a 1:32.029 min lap in the Mercedes W10.
2022 US Grand Prix - Tyres
The dry tyres for the 2022 US Grand Prix will be the C2 as P Zero White hard, C3 as P Zero Yellow Medium, and C4 as P Zero Red soft.
Pirelli explained their choice with a statement in a press release and established the guidelines for the weekend: "The uneven track surface could make it necessary to run a higher ride height, influencing aerodynamic performance. The teams will need to study the data carefully to find the best set up.
The United States Grand Prix was a two-stopper last year, but with a completely new range of tyres, it might be a different story this time round – thanks to new regulations, different weather conditions and other variables on track."
Moreover, the press release informed about changes to the second practice session on Friday: "As was the case in Japan, the second free practice session has been extended to 90 minutes to test the 2023 slick tyre prototypes, helping to fine-tune the compounds for next year before the teams get to try the definitive versions after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The entire FP2 session will be devoted to the tyre test, with Pirelli setting the run plan. If a team uses a young driver for FP1, it is allowed to run its own programme for some of FP2, before concentrating on the tyre test for the remainder of the session. The prototype tyres can easily be recognised as they won’t carry coloured markings on the sidewalls."
Pirelli's Motorsport Director, Mario Isola, further explained Pirelli's view: “The Circuit of The Americas is a balanced layout when it comes to the demands placed on cars and tyres in terms of traction, braking and lateral loads, but it’s mainly a flowing track that the drivers love, which nonetheless presents some challenging sections that shouldn’t be underestimated.
The track was partially re-asphalted in 2020, with a ‘milling’ process also taking place last year to shave off the worst of the bumps that oblige teams to raise the ride height, which affects aerodynamics. In the first free practice session, there could be a high degree of track evolution so it’s going to be vital for the teams to maximise the data collected during FP3 to define the best strategy. The second free practice session will be dedicated to slick tyre testing for 2023, weather permitting. Weather conditions in Austin have been extremely variable in the past, so it’s a circuit where you have to be ready for anything!”
The minimum starting pressures for the tyres will be 23.0 PSI (front) and 20.0 PSI (rear).
2022 US Grand Prix - Weather Forecast
Friday, Oct 21st - FP1 & FP2
Max. temperature: 34°C
Chance of rain: 0%
Saturday, Oct 22nd - FP3 & Qualifying
Max. temperature: 34°C
Chance of rain: 1%
Sunday, Oct 23rd - Race
Max. temperature: 33°C
Chance of rain: 4%
Who will be on the 2022 US Grand Prix Podium?
Another dominant 1-2 for Red Bull could be possible at the Circuit of the Americas, as the track layout could definitely play into the hands of the Austrian team.
It would be a big result for Sergio Pérez, as he's looking to win his own battle against Charles Leclerc for second in the World Drivers' Championship.
Mercedes' performance gain from the upcoming upgrades will be a big talking point, as the team is looking for the first win of the 2022 campaign and this will be the final step into gaining some lap time this year.
With a dry race expected, the event should run without issues and every team should be able to show its best performance throughout the weekend. Is Ferrari going to end its seven-race winless streak? or could Red Bull be the ones extending its winning streak to eight consecutive victories and seal the WCC?
The prediction for the top three of the 2022 US Grand Prix is 1. Max Verstappen, 2. Sergio Pérez, 3. Lewis Hamilton.
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