Austin reveals track for 2012 F1 race

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Austin F1 Track Map 3D

The circuit design for the 2012 United States Grand Prix has been revealed.

Designed by Hermann Tilke, the track incorporates sections similar to those at Silverstone, Istanbul and the Hockenheimring. It appears to be an anti-clockwise configuration.

The plans, revealed by the Austin American Statesman, shows a layout which does not seem to have strayed far from the Tilke convention of having designated ‘overtaking’ section with long straights and tight hairpins.

The first sequence of fast bends – modelled on Becketts at Silverstone – looks like an exciting sequence of corners.

Later on in the lap the drivers come across a corner similar in style to the famous Turn 8 at Istanbul – only turning right instead of left.

A large viewing area on the inside of the corner promises views of much of the track.

2012 United States Grand Prix

Austin F1 Track Map
Austin F1 Track Map

154 comments on “Austin reveals track for 2012 F1 race”

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  1. Wow! That actually looks pretty good!
    I’m not much of a fan of the fuji-esque switchbach section near the end, but the long corner after it looks pretty good. As does the brilliant looking ‘esses’ near the start. Quite a few hairpins for overtaking, but that first sector looks great!
    On paper, this looks like it could be one of tilke’s best designs.

    1. On paper this looks like it’ll make an awesome bottle opener ;)

      Joking aside, I think the track has real potential if the gradients are good across the circuit.

  2. actually it looks pretty good, especially the first sector with some quick turns. I guess the long straight has to be on a Tilke circuit, but it has improved the racing elsewhere, so we can live with that. But why the fiddly bit after that?
    Anyway, I guess we’ll have to wait and see since they said the track is going to have some ups and downs…

    1. That fiddly bit is ment to copy the Hockenheim loop after the straight.

      1. Looks really good actually. Apart from the little slow section before the huge straight. The quick chicanes look great though.

        1. You’re looking at it backwards. Austin is anti-clockwise.

          1. “Austin is anti-clockwise” Now that’s so correct without you or anybody else here knowing why.

            One of Austin’s slogans that you’ll see on bumper stickers is: “Keep Austin Weird”

        2. The slow section is after the huge straight.

    2. I think it looks like a regular Tilke track.. The last part of the first sector or whatever seems pretty fluid and cool but the rest looks like true crap. All that’s missing is some ordinary USA dessert and the craptrack will be complete.. When will they learn not to use Tilke?

    3. as long as they dont rip out every tree in the area and don’t surronud the track with asphalt runoff. It will be fine.

      might have over did the first S style section and the really slow part after the long straight though.

  3. Wow. It barely looks like a Tilke track, sans the long back straight section. Looks a lot more like a natural, typical, American circuit with a twisty but challenging sequence of corners with changing radii.

    Not bad, I’d say.

    1. And it seems undulating too! :D But surely this must be slightly exaggerated:

      1. I would say that elevation plan has some vertical exaggeration, maybe 5 or 10 times.

        Anyway I think the best looking section is turn 8, 9 and 10, as the cars will be climbing up to turn 10 which sort of looks like it has a crest either at or just beyond the apex of the corner, which means from the drivers point of view they won’t be able to see where the track goes. But cause the actual horizontal deflection through corner is maybe only 10 or 15 degres, the limitation of the speed through the corner isn’t going to be function of the amount of available grip or downforce from the cars, but rather the guts of the drivers. I see it as a corner where a driver in a lesser car, who may be braver than another driver in a better car will be able to use his / her judgement to negotiate the corner faster.

        I also like how the track has been fitted to suit the natural topography, which means Tilke have been able to use natural slopes as viewing areas or “naturalstands” as they are referring to them.

        Overall I think it looks good, but I’m kind of disappointed that a few of the corners seem to be duplications of other corners at other circuits, but from what I understand that was a request from the circuit owner. Without those constraints I’m sure Tilke would have been able to make even better use of the natural topography.

      2. Although the elevation is exaggerated, I’ll bet the uphill first corner provides some exciting late breaking on the first lap.

        1. Look at the terrain on google maps southeast of Austin. Its nicely lumpy.

  4. Normally I’m the one dedicated to hating anything touched by Tilke, Even as a flat piece of car park I have to say I really like the design, it actually looks different, Which has to be a good thing…

    I’m looking forward to seeing the Silverstone and Istanbul style corners, even though they have a smiler design, the difference in track before and after them, and the environment around them will make them very different and exciting to see I think.

    The only thing I hope now, is that they don’t just concrete the whole place over, and they retain a feel of the area they are racing in… Any word on the elevation?

    Do some of the restraints on new tracks have anything to do with minimum or maximum average lap speed?

    1. It is about 133 feet in total. The highest point should be the first corner.

      1. Awesome then…

        If that fiddly bit is meant to resemble the stadium complex in Hock, it will only work if it’s both thin and bumpy in that section…. hmm… not Tilke’s strong points…

        1. I honestly feel they should get rid of that bit and connect turn 12 to 15

          1. I agree!. I´ll tell the Governor then to do it this way.

        2. I think those switchbacks need to go unless they are integrating some variable banking on each to promote higher speed and possible side by side in those turns. A modern Karossell interest anyone? It is the US after all, there should be some banked turns… Otherwise, cut that section out.

          I think the first sector looks great.

    2. One thing I noticed is although certain corners have been copied from other tracks, they’ll have a different feel because of the track being anticlockwise. For example turn 16,17,18 which I presume is the Instanbul style turn 8 section… Is actually a right hander.

      The only part of the track I don’t really like is turn 13-15.. They’ve added this for technicality, but as others have mentioned it does look like it ruins the whole flow of a highspeed track. But we’ll have to wait and see!

      Overall, I’d give it a thumbs up though. Looking forward to seeing this one for sure.

  5. Resounding Meh, worse things have happened at sea, some of the corners look pretty groovy and high speed but if there arn’t good overtaking spots it’ll be for nought.

    Will say theres a few corners there that’ll space out the cars and be impossible to follow through, the turn 8 looking bend for instance.

    Well it looks pretty Tilke on paper so unless some of these bends are infact truly spectacular we must hope for decent overtaking oppourtunities.

  6. Too bad we can’t get a sense of any elevation changes in this image… I’d love (for instance) if that Turn-8-esque right hander was down a 20° decline. We’ll see.

    1. The article mentions first turn is uphill so there is at least some elevation change, some corners would surely benefit from elevation change…

  7. Not too bad at first sight. I like the esses (Suzuka-style) at the beginning of the lap, but I hope they will not be taken flat-out.
    The “Istanbul-like” turn at the end is good too, but there are too many slow corners before it.

    Nevertheless, this track looks interesting…

  8. Copying a post I made elsewhere…

    It’s quite psychedelic. It’s an interesting shape given that the main straight is actually the back straight, so it’s kind of elongated. I like the nod to Silverstone, although it looks also a bit like the Esses at Suzuka (not a bad thing, though).

    The bit immediately around the paddocks looks a tad blah but actually, if this really is it, it looks a lot better than Abu Dhabi, Korea and India do on paper. It actually looks not bad at all.

    The question being, of course, why has it taken this long for a promoter to grab Tilke by the scruff of the neck and say “give us something interesting”.

  9. That’s not bad, not bad at all. My final approval will obviously be reserved for the day we actually se F1 cars on it…

    The Hockenheim style arena section is unnecessary though, all it seems to do is mess up the flow of the circuit before the “Istanbul” corner.

    1. Seconded. If it weren’t for that part, it’d be a severely fast circuit.

    2. That Hockenheim area could be replaced perhaps with a banked turn,which is very American.
      If this does not work out, they can revert to the original plan later on.

  10. I’m really hoping for a big gradient in the slow section after the back straight, let’s say really uphill, that would mean the Silverstone like curbs in the first part would be slightly downhill, it would be awesome!

    1. There’s a gradient map here

      You’re going to be disappointed as that section is pretty flat

      The back straight is something of a rollercoaster though

  11. It’s OK. I love that sweeping set of corners at the beginning. If there are huge elevation changes like in Suzuka, so much the better!

    I just hope they will leave that stadium section out though. It ruins the flow of the circuit and can make the cars’ setup inclined towards more downforce, which hurts overtaking and makes the rest of the circuit less challenging, set-up wise.

    I’m hoping for some quite extreme elevation chances in this circuit, because this layout is what it needs to make it challenging. The corners for it are there.

    1. This is a knowledgeable comment

  12. Looks like the Red Bull spiritual home.

    1. Only if Red Bull contune building cars that are designed specifically for this kind of circuit. If they lose the World Championship this year, I expect the RB7 – and possibly the RB8, which would race at Austin for the first time – would scale back its dedicate to corners and concentrate a little more on straight-line speed.

      And even fi they continue the trend there’s little to prevent the other teams from developing similarly-good cars.

  13. Any news on the change of elevation?

    I’m sure someone will create a CG flyby at some point :)

    1. 133ft. It’s about 40m all up, and gives Austin the third-greatest elevation after Spa and Suzuka.

      1. …and you guys thought Texas was flat.

        I like it and being that it will run anti-clockwise, the first turn wll be an uphill left hander.

        Can’t wait to see the construction started. I guess I’ll drive down from work when they start.

  14. This looks like a fun track on paper, not at all like the stop-start, straight-hairpin style of Valencia. Hopefully there will also be some nice gradient changes & hill climbs which aren’t illustrated in the diagram.

  15. looks pretty good although with all the challenging looking corners, the tilke-esque hairpin-staright-hairpin looks very out of character with the rest of the track.
    If they had changeable weather down in texas, this track could have turned out like spa, as its so elongated, with rain maybe at the top hairpin and nothing in the pits or vice versa.
    the section before the turn eight style corner reminds me very much of the approach to the hotel at abu dhabi, just the other way round and the becketts section looks slightly tighter than silverstone-could be a huge challenge.
    On paper its the best thing tilke’s ever designed if you ask me.

    1. “Rain”

      Don’t think that’s likely to happen during the race any day soon.

      1. That’ll depend on when they schedule it. I’m hoping they DON’T put it next to Montreal, but stick it at the beginning or end of the season with the other fly-aways. Chances of rain would be better, and Summer in Texas could be wicked hot.

  16. It looks like the original design would have had the cars make a single left turn after the long straight to head to the “turn 8” style corner.

    Could it have been safety issues that caused the fiddly bit? Perhaps the cars would have entered the “turn 8” to quickly to recreate the Istanbul track?

    1. Nope – it’s actually a recreation of the stadium section at Hockenheim. Look at the first section moreso than the second and you’ll see what I mean. The second section also seems to be a reverse Hockenheim, those not as pronounced.

      I’m also willing to bet that we’ll see an increase in gradient here because the main striahgt is the highest point on the circuit. If I’m right, the corners will play out like a Rallye Monte Carlo stage.

      1. “Rallye Monte Carlo stage”

        there’s a thought…..

    2. If they could extend the last corner of the ‘stadium’ section out to make it a bit faster that might make ‘turn 8’ a bit nicer…

  17. I’m tired of tracks being designed purely to promote overtaking. This is Formula 1 and circuits should be the most challenging in the world and worthy of the most talented drivers on earth. The tilke formula of tight hairpin followed by long straight followed by tight haripin is not challenging and it destroys the flow of a circuit.

    It also doesn’t even work what produced exciting racing is often circumstances of the race itself. Look at Turkey this year, it was set up not by the track layout but by the fact that the Red Bulls were faster in qualifying and slower in the race than the McLarens. Another cause of great races is cars qualifying out of position such as Suzuka 2005 and Brazil 2009. You can design a track with endless switchback hairpins onto long straights but if there’s no rain and the fastest qualifier has the fastest race pace you won’t have an exciting race.

    This track may actually be quite good especially if that green run off turns out to be grass and there are a lot of elevation changes. But I wish they’d not bothered with the dull tight hairpin onto long straight bit.

    1. hhm my comment looks out of place now, I actually on balance quite like the track. I was origionally responding to Scribe’s comment:

      “if there arn’t good overtaking spots it’ll be for nought.”

    2. I agree 100%………

  18. what has really annoyed me is the slow corners before “turn 8”. that means that turn 8 will be taken under acceleration and not at full speed, therefore half to three quarters of it will most likely be taken flat, before drivers may have to lift. Its also like this at turkey, but it would have been better here, if it was taken at nearly maximum speed.

    The tight hairpin after the straight looks terrible and i believe they should have replaced it with a fast chicane or sweep left, straight into “turn 8”, cutting out the mickey mouse section, just as mike suggested.

    “turn 8” here reminds me of the butchered last corner at the new korea track-On paper it looks a beast, but due to the slow corners before it, it’s taken flat because the cars are not at full speed.

    1. You forget that the really high speed corners are usually taken flat out because there is so much downforce. This version of “turn 8” will challenge the cars and drivers more.

      1. And it will make it a great spectater sport :) Can’t wait.

  19. It says “Draft Track Layout” on the schematic, so presumably the teams will be sent a copy for alterations, just like the India track.

    1. has the india track been changed from an original design already or is it in the process? I hope the mickey mouse section is smoothed out here, as it completely destroys the flow of the track ;)

  20. from using the scale, the back straight is about 1.3km long. same length as Shanghai’s back straight. really need to see a cross section elevation map.

    1. in the article it says 0.75 mile straight so about 1.2km

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