Circuit of the Americas, January 6th 2012

Austin organisers say track will be complete three months before race

F1 Fanatic round-upPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

In the round-up: construction of the Circuit of the Americas should be completed by August.


Top F1 links from the past 24 hours:

Austin track set for August completion (Autosport)

Chief marketing and sales officer Geoff Moore: “The race is on. Construction is happening six days a week. The paddock buildings are being topped off, work on the main grandstand has started and we are looking at mid-August for completion.”

Sacked Bahraini F1 staff reject new offer (The Times, subscription required)

“Of 27 staff dismissed by Bahrain International Circuit last year, only three have returned to work, despite a royal decree reinstating them that was issued last week by King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa.”

Valencia in talks to cut cost of F1 race (Reuters)

“[Race president Alberto] Fabra said he was seeking ‘a substantial cost reduction’.”

Analysis – reactive ride-height suspension (F1)

“An obstacle could have been any need for direct input from the driver – excluding DRS, any driver influence on a car’s aerodynamics breaches the regulations – but this is entirely mechanical and is activated by the brakes’ torque, not the driver. It’s reactive, not active.”

TR7 is fit for action (Toro Rosso)

“Having previously passed various static crash tests, today, our new car, the TR7, passed all remaining FIA crash tests.”

Finding a budget in Formula 1 (Joe Saward)

Ferrari has a special deal and gets 2.5 percent of the overall figure ($12.5 million) and the rest is then split into two different prize funds: the first is divided equally between the top 10 teams, this means that they get around $25 million apiece; the second is based on the performance of the previous season and is divided up on a scale that is detailed in the Concorde Agreement.”

Sutil unsurprised by Senna deal (Sky)

Manfred Zimmermann: “The announcement of Bruno Senna as a Williams driver does not surprise us. For us, that issue was already settled two weeks ago. The negotiations with Williams ended in mid-December due to differing ideas.”

Ferrari races in Qatar (Ferrari)

Marc Gene will drive an F2008 Qatar’s capital Doha on Saturday.

Follow F1 news as it breaks using the F1 Fanatic live Twitter app.

Comment of the day

One of those “you know you’re an F1 Fanatic when…” comments from Tango:

My wife has taken the habit of looking at the F1 Fanatic calendar to know which week end to book for reunion with her family, so that I am not distracted by F1 while talking to the mother in law. Achievement unlocked!


From the forum

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Cathal, Explosiva and Qazuhb!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is by emailling me, using Twitter or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Stirling Moss won the Lady Wigram Trophy in New Zealand on this day fifty years ago. He was again driving his new Lotus 21.

He finished ahead of a quintet of Coopers belonging to Jack Brabham, John Surtees, Bruce McLaren and Roy Salvadori.

81 comments on “Austin organisers say track will be complete three months before race”

  1. “[Race president Alberto] Fabra said he was seeking ‘a substantial cost reduction’.”

    Good luck.

    1. If that’s what he wants, I’m sure he can work something out with F1 fans who are seeking ‘a substantial boredom reduction’.

      1. And how would he do that? I can’t see any other way than to set aside the race sanctioning fee and spending it on making the circuit better – which I think can be done – with the difference to be paid to Bernie.

    2. Here’s a great idea in order to cut costs: do us all a favour and don’t hold a Formula 1 race.


  2. Interesting that in the article about the re-active ride, the FIA name teams who have approached them about the idea.

  3. That Sky Sutil story first came out on Tuesday. Nice to see them so up to date and punctual with their F1 coverage!

    1. Nobody read it though until these highlights were shown.

    2. “Last Updated: January 19, 2012 11:13am”

      Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t that yesterday (Thursday), and the round up should include stories from yesterday (Thursday)?

      1. @John H

        What I am saying is Sky reported the story 2 days later than when Zimmermanns quotes were first reported on Tuesday. Not f1fanatic on the daily roundup as they were just linking what appeared on Sky’s website that day.

        I’m just tired of clicking on a heading only to find rehashed news way later than when it originally came out and this usually happens with Sky and it’s sister site planetf1

        1. Sorry @snowman I completely misread your comment without sarcasm to mean this site was just rehashing what sky reported a while back.

          Reading it again tis obvious. Apologies!

  4. Historically, how far in advance have tickets gone on sale for grands prix at new venues? It’s less than ten months until race day in Austin and still there’s no information regarding ticket sales. The earlier I buy my plane ticket the cheaper it will be, so I want to go ahead and do it as soon as I can. When I went to the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix, our race tickets and plane tickets were purchased a year in advance, but I’m not buying a plane ticket until my race tickets are in my hands. It’s big financial commitment.

    1. I am in the same boat. I have signed up for every email notification in existence for tickets. Hope it is soon.

      1. Rest assured, you’ll know about it when it happens.

        1. I had briefly contemplated a trek to Texas, but the longer they wait the less likely I am to try and make plans do so. I’ll likely head back to Montreal instead this year.

      2. I wouldn’t rely on the Formula1 notifications via email if I were you. I registered for updates on Abu Dhabi and India last year and received feck all about either of them.

    2. I think for the first race we have to cut them some slack.

      Obviously if they start selling tickets and then don’t hold the race for whatever reason, they are going to get it in the neck for selling tickets too early, generate bad press, upset fans that may come next year, etc…

      Although it is slightly inconvinient if you need to book flights as cheap as possible, for the long-term success of the race I think it’s understandable they don’t start selling tickets now.

    3. Amd what about tickets for Shanghai? Barely three months away and F1 Travel say they dont know whats going on, all agents in Oz will say is write me a cheque and we’ll see what happens. Anybody out there know anything about this one?

      1. And then people wonder why China’s attendance figures for the last few years have been low…

        1. Because its a lousy track, perhaps the worst Grand Prix Track currently being used.

          1. The Rate the Race polls beg to differ. The 2010 and 2011 Chinese Grands Prix have been some of the highest-rating ever since Keith introduced the polls – I think the 2011 race was rated even higher than the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix.

          2. Agreed PM. But ignoring the relative merits of a track to others for all of the F1 anoraks out there, surely the Chinese GP people want to sell tickets. I’m ready to roll, credit card in hand but nobody wants to even show me a seating plan. I guess it’ll be back to Singapore this year – at least you know they’ll take the time to empty my pockets.

  5. Lets not forget Angus Hyslop here.

    I wonder what HRTs budget was in the last two years. I guess if by some freak result they could score a point and finish tenth in the WCC they’d have their budget for a season and beyond in the bag already.

  6. After five years of trying and being at the centre of the poor-man’s Buttongate, Giedo van der Garde looks set to join Formula 1 this year with HRT.

    1. Hm, I am Dutch, but somehow I do not feel very exited about this.

      1. There’s no Dutch team in the sport, and there’s no Dutch Grand Prix. If you want the Netherlands to be involved in Formula 1 this year, Giedo van der Garde is pretty much your first, last and only choice.

        1. Sad, but true.

          Maybe I should put my support behind Randstad and McGregor (Dutch companies?), although I am not too sure its a much better prospect a Williams in the coming season …

          Ah, well, last time I got exited about a Dutch driver it was when Verstappen started his F1 career. Although Doornbos was close to getting there when he had a shot driving with Red Bull for a few races.

        2. I just keep my hopes up for Giedo. In my heart of hearts… Let’s not even get there. I hope hè will surprise everybody, like Kobayasi.
          @BasCB don’t forget John de and Michiel Mol – both part team owners…

          1. Thanks @verstappen, how could I forget about the Mol family owning part of Force India!

            Now, that is a team one can be exited about.

          2. They own 15% of a team. That hardly consitutes a presence in the sport the way full ownership, a Dutch Grand Prix or a Dutch driver would.

          3. True PM, but when choosing between supporting
            a. sponsors of an ailing old giant (with Dutch John de Mol also owning some 5% of shares), b. a lacklustre-paydriver possibly getting a drive in the worst team currently in the sport without even a proper factory and
            c. Dutch people owning 15% of a team with solid technical basis and quite promising line-up,
            I would say the last option does not seem that bad for a fan :-)

          4. When was the last time the Dutch were mentioned as a major contributing factor to Force India? I don’t think I’ve ever heard Mol’s ownership mentioned in the English commentary. Force India is credited as an Indian team, not Dutch.

          5. And in other PM news: clouds have no silver linings.

  7. To be honest, I think it would be nice if the budgets were spread a bit more evenly.

    I mean, in the end, giving the most money to the team who won it the last year isn’t exactly helping the competition stay even is it?

    I don’t like that only up to tenth gets enough sponsorship to be basically able to run the team just off that.

    It guarantees that F1 will always have teams struggling with funds at the back. I mean, didn’t we bring in the new teams because it would improve the sport? How the hell does that happen if they can’t even afford the build a new car every year? And how do we go and attract news team in the future if there is a 2 of 3 record of having a really difficult time?

    It’s all quite ridiculous.

    1. So, you do not believe in reward for effort, or prize money or anything like that then?

      This modern idea about equalising teams in a sport I find abhorrent. I support social welfare, but not in sport. Levelling the playing field is fine as is making it easier for low budget teams to compete, i.e. narrowing the margins through regulation, but those who finish at the bottom haven’t earned a reward.

      1. That makes sense, but not so much today. If the lower teams aren’t given enough prize-money they will die. Teams can’t be run on a shoe-string any more, so if we want to see a full grid the prize money needs to be reasonably substantial all down the field.

      2. I agree with @matt90 and @mike here @DVC, the budgets should be more evenly spread towards the rear end so that all teams get at least 70-80% of their budget from the prize money (after the first full season they complete).

        Its not as if those 20-40 million are sorrowly missed by the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull!

        1. I don’t mind the idea of a budget cap, but I can’t support the idea of giving smaller teams a leg up just because they are finishing at the back. To me that would be conceding this F1 is more entertainment than sport, and would denigrate the origins of motor racing.

          1. It all depends on how you see the sport, @DVC

            If you see F1 as the top level of motorsport, than the simple fact they are there at the top level, and managed to do that for 2 years in a row, and doing so on a shoestring budget and battle for places only the most hardcore fans even think about …

            Sounds pretty impressive to me, and worth keeping!

          2. Actually I think it’s the other way around, the word sport I find comes with the word fairness, which for me would see equalized income from the FIA. I do not agree that they should be equal, however, “Sport” should be about talent, effort, and in this sport, engineering ability. Not who has the most money.

          3. Equalising money in F1 is like doping the athletes who don’t have as good genetics in track.

        2. Its not as if those 20-40 million are sorrowly missed by the likes of Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull!

          Yeah, but if you take that away from them, well be the ones who are sorry about it. No doubt they’d threaten to form a breakaway series and try holding the sport hostage until they got their prize money back.

          1. they’d threaten to form a breakaway series and try holding the sport hostage until they got their prize money back

            Likely so, and certainly the reason why the revenues are devided as they are now.

          2. @BasCB , Exactly right, they have been using bully boy tactics for years, and this stems from being in a sport that has been all about money for a long time. Unlike other sports, F1 doesn’t have a “strong” centralized body that makes the playing rules. For F1 the teams have the power to alter the rule set to their advantage, and they rightly do so. However, it is not always beneficial to the sport.

          3. Only they’re not in a position to deliver because they can’t organise themselves well enough to actually breakaway and most of those involved know it. So all the FIA and FOM have to do is wait it out and they’ll have Ferrari and co. with the same deal as before (unless FIA/FOM do something truly stupid like the budget cap plan of a few years ago).

          4. Personally I like the budget cap, however I’d want it to be quite high, $100m perhaps?

        3. Certain teams would attempt to stick to a certain spot in the midfield where they then make more money. Instead of improving.

          Very similar to how tax brackets work. You would rather be paid slightly less and fall into the 25% tax bracket, instead of being paid 5% more and falling into the 45% tax bracket.

          1. Ehm @infy, given how tax brackets work (at least in all active systems I am aware of) means you will still earn more if you get more. Or at least not less.

            For example:
            lets assume a system where the first 10.000 are without taxes, if you get above that its taxed with 25% and over 40.000 its 45% taxes.
            In this case if you earn say 39.000 you would pay (39.000-10.000)*25%=7.250 and get 31.750 after taxes.
            If you get 5% more (rounded off to 41.000), you would now pay (41.000-40.000)*45%+(40.000-10.000)*25%=7.950 and get 33.050 after taxes.

            you see, you pay a bigger portion (19,4% instead of 18,6%) of your income, but you still get more.

          2. Well @BasCB, not exactly: take NL for example, and tax returns for medical costs: for low income (~<30k EUR/y) there is a lower barrier to the costs you need to incur to get some refund (and in some cases an extra % of it that you then get back), than at higher income. Housing subsidy also is only for low income often (separately from a max. rent cap). Such income measures may mean that if you only increase a slight bit, but go over such a boundary by a few EUR, you lose some, or even quite a bit.

          3. Sure, that is true @bosyber but those are not really part of taxation, are they?
            They do make things complicated when one thinks about getting a better pay, off course. But you can’t really compare it to the situation of a team earning more from the sport.

      3. The reward for effort should be the glory. Successful teams will always be able to find sponsorship easier anyway.

      4. What you say is true but I think you should keep in mind that the lower teams can make the same amount of effort as the top tier teams as well.

    2. @Mike I guess half the battle and proving your existence in Formula 1 is about making it your own and recruiting the right people to make the most of a small budget.

      Speculate to accumulate, if you like.

      1. That’s true, but what I find troubling is that the teams that have trouble finding sponsorship are inevitably going to be the ones at the back, this in turn makes hiring talented people and giving them the equipment to compete effectively a hell of a lot more difficult.

        Once a team is outside the top ten, without a large pay master behind the scenes it is inevitably going to end badly.

        HRT won’t survive, there is absolutely no chance. Minardi did for a long time but they had reputation behind them so were always able to (almost) scrape by.

        F1 wants more than ten teams and this frankly isn’t going to make it last.

        If the lower teams were supported, (and F1 can easily afford this) not only would F1 not be dependent, (and thus held ransom by) the manufacturer teams, as it is now, but we would have a fuller and richer grid because of it.

  8. Why TR7 and not STR7?

    1. Why TR7 and not STR7?

      Perhaps because it’s going to be a radical wedge-shaped design that will Triumph over the competition?

      1. Haha, very good! I thought the same when I saw the name, but without the witty punchline.

  9. Enjoyed COTD – my other half doesn’t use the F1 Fanatic Calendar (yet), but she’s already put dates for F1 2012 in our actual calendar.

    1. Congratulations with the COTD and an understanding Wife! Maybe supply her with the link to the calendar for making it even easier for her next year!

    2. My wife uses gmail; the calendar was to good to be true!

  10. Can anyone enlighten me regarding the Lotus reactive front suspension?

    It is plain as day to me that it breaches article 10 of the regulations yet the FIA do not explain how it complies to this rule.

    Article 10 states that no adjustment should be made to the cars suspension whilst in motion period. If the suspension isn’t being adjusted in motion what is happening?

    Is cannot be permissible to say it is reactive rather tan active because this has no bearing. Adjustment is adjustment end of story.

    Also bear in mind the adjustment is relative to braking torque and not the load applied to the wheels which is also expressly forbidden in article 10.

    I am without doubt more amazed by this absurd decision by the FIA in all my 35 years of following Formula One.


    1. It uses brake torque to redistribute the weight shift under braking.

      Although article 10 says no changes can be made to the car while it is moving, physics naturally causes a slight shift in the weight exerted by downforce when the car is under brakes. This pushes down on the front of the car, causing minute changes in the ride height.

      The Lotus system does not cause changes to the car while it is in motion. It causes changes to the forces exerted on the car, effectively cancelling them out.

      1. Thanks Prisoner Monkeys but it doesn’t really answer my question. You use the term “redistribute the weight shift” which by definition is an adjustment.

        Are you saying the system is not part of the suspension?

        Sorry I’m not playing dumb, I really am perplexed by this very obvious breach of regulation which seems to have everyone fooled by the clever use of words and a bit of smoke and mirrors!

        Can anyone else help me understand how this system can be legal?

        1. As @Prisoner Monkeys points out, the key feature of the system is that it prevents ride height change but doesn’t actively trigger it.

          In normal circumstances, as the weight of the car shifts forward under braking this causes a change to the ride height – i.e. the front of the car becomes closer to the ground. This has implications for aero performance so active suspension was designed to correct for any reduction in ride height in order to maintain an optimum aero platform at all times. I’m sure there’s a YouTube clip somewhere of an active Williams FW14B flexing its muscles in the pits, showing the huge range of movements those systems could make.

          The Lotus system is different (and legal) because it doesn’t proactively modify the ride height – it simply resists the ride height change that would happen normally under braking. The intention is not a million miles away from anti-dive suspension geometry, first introduced into F1 via the Lotus 72.

          1. I have a masters degree in physics and very capable of understanding the forces involved here. I understand why it’s a good idea to change the way the suspension behaves when braking but this still does not explain to me how the system does not breach article 10.

            The point I’m making is why have the system at all if the suspension does not behave differently under braking. The answer is of course it does. Why does it? The only reason can be that it has be adjusted some way.

            You say “it doesn’t proactively modify the ride height – it simply resists the ride height change that would happen normally under braking”.

            Correct! this is true! Whilst the car is in motion the suspension is adjusted to change the way it resists the ride height change that would happen normally under braking. To me this is the clearest description of exactly why this system is illegal.

          2. But the suspension does not physically change.

          3. FIA laws can change, but the laws of physics cannot. Something that changes it’s physical attributes has changed physically that is a matter of undeniable FACT.

            The suspension behaves differently depending on whether the brake pedal is pressed or not. Therefore the suspension is being adjusted whilst the car is in motion which is prohibited in article 10.

            It doesn’t matter one jot who or how the suspensions physical attributes are adjusted. if they are adjusted they are illegal.

            It appears the FIA now realise this and are trying to back track without losing face.

  11. Interesting article on Pirelli’s quest to find a suitable F1 car for testing!

  12. oh, and just in case someone stumbles upon that German article about how not just Hamilton and ‘D Ambrosio will be testifying as witnesses in the trial against Sutil, but also Journalist Will Buxton – that part is not true!
    (posted on Twitter by @willbuxton)

    The German article doing the rounds and being quoted as fact about the Sutil court case has me cited as a witness. Which is incorrect. @mopo

  13. Can anyone please explain how the reduction of ride height under braking negatively affects aero performance?

  14. Why don’t F1 race in Qatar? They host the MotoGP season-opener, the track has floodlights like in Singapore & Abu Dhabi, they have apparent close ties with the Williams team, it hosted GP2 Asia in the past, I see no reason why we can’t race there in the near future, I reckon the Losail circuit would make for some exciting racing, plus a Saudi country like Qatar has plenty of money, as it is hosting the 2022 World Cup, so Bernie would surely be interested (KA-CHING). Discuss.

    1. The track is not built for F1. Its not wide enough, for one as far as i remember.

      1. And it’s not a particularly great circuit, either.

      2. Then how did they manage a GP2 Asia race there then?

  15. An interesting interview with Craig Pollock of PURE engines. The best parts are him showing off how much he knows of the other engine builders progress!

    1. Everybody uses very similar suppliers for certain parts of the engine, so when certain parts have not been ordered by a certain date you know how far behind people are

      So in an industry where things are supposed to be “hush hush”. There seems to be no confidentiality, probably a few $ in exchange for info on orders from other companies

    2. It seems that he has hopes of getting Mclaren into bed.

  16. @tango

    On behalf of everyone here, I would like to present you with one internet. WHich your COTD has just won you.

    1. @Bendanarama , One internet? I’ll pass it on to my wife. But really I have no merit here. Since the first time i’ve brought her karting she’s actually taken an interest. The last Monaco grand prix sealed her interest and though she might not be a “fanatic”, she does know nearly all the pilots and get most of what goes on in a GP.

  17. I got a good chuckle out of the COTD. Nice one @Tango!

  18. Apparently there are NO hotel rooms available that weekend. There is a huge medical conference taking place in Austin and all rooms are either taken, or at ridiculously high prices.

    They are looking at room availability about.180 miles from the circuit….

    That’s it, I’m not going. I was so looking forward to this race and fly in from Minneapolis, but this is a serious issue (no hotel rooms)

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