About F1 Weather

The F1 weather blog has been created to keep you up-to-date with all the latest weather forecasts and reports for the Formula 1 world championship as the season develops. Thirteen years of experience in forecasting Formula 1 weather online, through the harsh winters and -25 degree temperatures of Montreal, spectacular thunderstorms at the Nurburgring and Sepang and even event-disrupting typhoons at Suzuka, Japan, I've seen the lot. This blog will keep you up to speed on the expected weather conditions throughout the F1 season and other notable severe weather for racetracks around the world.

Game Over After 10 Years Of Weather

It is with sadness that I should inform you all that my weather forecast and report writing is ending after 10 eventful years.

Formula 1 and weather have always gone hand in hand for me. The sheer chaos that is generated when rain or a sudden change in conditions occurs, thrilled me when I was barely into my teens. This was demonstrated perfectly in the early laps of the 1991 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola. For my generation of F1 rain lovers, this was ‘our’ Silverstone 1975. Granted, most of the race may have been as dull as ditch water, but those first four laps will stay with me forever.

 

It always pained me on Sunday mornings in the 90s, wondering if the weather had changed in the break between the end of the morning warm-up session and the start of the afternoon race coverage. The arrival of the internet gave enthusiastic Joe Bloggs’ like myself a great platform to try and convey that passion and enjoyment to others. In my case it has been through the advent and development of text commentary and racetrack weather through the course of a weekend.

But as you get older, your priorities in life change. In my case, I have just taken on a move to a bigger house and it is going to take a lot of work to get things the way my wife and I would like them.  For 36 years my morning view was a concrete jungle – not any more. Now, I open the curtains and look out onto an idyllic countryside scene, on the edge of the town park. Within a minute or so, you see dog walkers, joggers, or some bloke training hard giving it full beans on his mountain bike.  It really does inspire you to become more – especially for someone who is now seriously unfit and hasn’t done any physical exercise or training since the age of 19 or 20, other than playing a few minutes of football in the back garden with my son before getting knackered.  I have stopped smoking since seven weeks and have not touched a can of Red Bull since January 1st – the first crucial steps towards what I hope will be a healthier life. When you suddenly have no pairs of jeans that fit you anymore, you know it’s time to act.

As a result of more work to keep up the the home and more play at the weekends, something had to give. I will still maintain a relatively busy online presence during F1 weekends. I will be with AUTOSPORT Live again for this season and I’m always dropping lines in about the latest weather during the commentary. My @radarguruf1 Twitter account will also continue and I’ll be banging on about radar updates, upcoming weather changes and short daily forecasts on there.

Thank-you to all of you who have followed my meteorological musings over the last decade – whether it be in on AtlasF1.com, Autosport.com or through the last 12 months on F1weather.com.  In the meantime, I have a home office to finish setting up while the snow falls outside and I can’t wait for the new season to start.

 

Brazilian Grand Prix Weather 2012: Saturday Review, Sunday Forecast

A short pre-qualifying shower was enough to produce a highly entertaining Q1 period at Interlagos on Saturday, but as the track dried out and conditions improved for a time, it was Lewis Hamilton who scored another stunning pole position for tomorrow’s Brazilian Grand Prix, as the title contenders floundered.

Air and track temperature readings recovered to 26 and 36 degrees as the sun came out briefly towards the end of the hour-long session, but as expected values were well down on the scorching Friday figures.

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Race fans at Interlagos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Showers will continue to feed in from the south-west this evening and overnight, becoming increasingly frequent, as the cold front continues to push its way through south-east Brazil. Air temperature will dip to 17 Celsius.

Title Decider

Race day is expected to dawn wet with overcast conditions and a few light, scattered showers around. From here, there are two schools of thought – even at this late stage. The widely-used GFS model is leaning towards just one or two scattered showers after 09:00, while local sources are continuing to roll out a fully wet scenario, frequent showers throughout the day, the guarantee of 71 wet laps and everyone finishes the season with a race to remember.

Which way do I think it will go? Probably a mixture between the two. The most likely scenario is that there will be a few showers during the course of the morning and early afternoon, but there will also be some lengthy gaps, allowing the track to dry out somewhat. You won’t go far wrong if you are thinking along the lines of the 2008 race with a couple of sprinkles within the race window to spice things up.

Even if we end up getting the least preferred option, the drivers will certainly have to work hard tomorrow, regardless. This is due to the small matter of a strengthening wind from the south-east and a maximum air temperature in the overcast conditions of 22 Celsius.

Before I go, as this is the final forecast of the season, I should say thank-you to all of you who have read and supported my weather ramblings over the season. I’ve been writing F1 forecasts on the internet for over 10 years through various pages and websites, and along with Twitter, the reactions from race fans and also people within the sport never ceases to amaze and surprise me.

So it all comes down to tomorrow and the two title protagonists are set for 71 demanding laps from fourth and seventh on the grid. I will be around on Twitter in the hours leading up to the race, before switching to AUTOSPORT Live commentary for the on-track battle. Here’s to a great 2012 season and I hope you all enjoy the finale.

Emlyn.

Brazilian Grand Prix Weather 2012: Weekend Forecast

The elements are leading weather forecasters – be it Meteo France at the circuit, professional meteorologists or experienced amateurs – on a wild goose chase as everyone attempts to pin down exactly when and how much rain will fall at Interlagos during qualifying and Sunday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

Looking quickly at today, conditions were fine, dry and sunny for both 90-minute sessions. Lewis Hamilton looked good out there once again, and while the timesheet was extremely close between the leading contenders this morning, the Briton seemed to just have that little extra in the afternoon. Ambient temperature rose to 33 Celsius, while down on the asphalt it got very close to the reaching the 50 degree barrier.

However, there is a change on the horizon – and it is going to come sooner than we thought. This now has a tremendous bearing on the outcome of the weekend, so first of all I will point you towards this link, showing the latest satellite image for south America and where the cold front is currently positioned.

As you can see, the front is moving north-eastwards at a faster rate, meaning that showers will arrive earlier, but also that the whole thing is likely to clear the area quicker than the models suggested this time yesterday.

Saturday Forecast

So, we go into Saturday with a dry start and clouds moving into the region before final practice. The 60-minute session will remain dry so we will get through that without too much trouble, but with decreasing amounts of sunshine track temperature values will suffer. It will turn overcast late tomorrow morning and there is a renewed threat of rain for qualifying. Showers are possible any time after midday local time. For reference, the knockout session begins at 14:00 BRST.

A bi-product of all this is that temperatures will decrease earlier and we are now looking at a maximum of 27 or 28 Celsius during qualifying. Showers are expected throughout the afternoon and the heaviest rainfall is forecast for Saturday night. This is no bad thing if you would prefer a potentially jumbled grid, but the trade-off is that you won’t get the deluge conditions during the grand prix.

Race Day

Further showers will follow on behind during the overnight period and into Sunday morning, but all the while, this front will be moving through. There is still a threat of mainly light showers and sprinkles as we go through the day, but the risk of a flooded circuit and all the associated chaos is no longer on the table, based on the model charts over the last 12-18 hours. By light showers I mean something akin to the 2008 pre-race sprinkle that had Mr. Ecclestone and others running for cover, resulting in a delayed start and those wonderful early laps.

Air temperature on race day will be down to a maximum of 22 or 23 degrees, as the cold air behind the front takes hold over the Sao Paulo area. Certainly, we have seen the best of the weather and things are set to go downhill after midnight tonight.

 

The irony of all this is that in our sport where speed is paramount, it is in fact the speed and evolution of a weather system that could determine whether Vettel gets a trouble-free afternoon or not.

So yes, this one is proving to be a real challenge. Above, I have outlined the expected scenario from today’s charts. Now we wait and see what tomorrow brings. I will be around on Twitter providing as much real-time information as I can via the latest satellite images and rain radars. Then, once qualifying has concluded, I will be back with the final forecast of the 2012 campaign, looking ahead in detail to Sunday’s weather.

 

Brazilian Grand Prix Weather 2012: Friday/Weekend Forecast

Weather is set to dominate the thoughts of many Formula 1 fans this weekend, as the cold front that I have been mentioning since Saturday continues to build and move slowly towards Interlagos – just in time to cause chaos on Sunday.

‘It’s lights out in Brazil!’ is a phrase that doesn’t just refer to the race itself, as many of the travelling journalists can confirm. Witness this morning’s pre-event press conference and I was just getting into concentrating on the answers coming from Fernando Alonso and his title rival Sebastian Vettel, when the transmission ended abruptly following what will be one of several power failures over the next few days.

Friday Forecast

But what the local electricity company lacks will be more than made up for by the weather. Tomorrow is a gentle meteorological warm-up for the main event. With two 90-minute practice sessions on the menu, Friday will stay dry with mainly sunny conditions in the morning. There will still be one or two bright spells during the afternoon, but also an increase in cloud cover. Importantly, it will remain dry and there is no threat of rain. Air temperature will climb to around 32 degrees Celsius, while there will be a light breeze, chiefly from the north-west.

Weekend Update – Rain On The Way

Things have progressed a little more over the last 24 hours since my last update. As you can see from the latest satellite images in this link, the cold front has now formed and is becoming quite a potent force over central parts of Argentina. Latest projections this evening have the track of the rain still set for late Saturday night and most of Sunday at Interlagos.

Saturday is expected to dawn dry with some sunny spells around for final practice, but throughout the break and towards qualifying, clouds will build and it may become overcast by the end of the knockout session. A further slowing of the front now means that rain is now less likely during qualifying. The latest timeframe for showers to arrive over Interlagos is just after the session has concluded, but then conditions will deteriorate at quite a rate. Air temperature will top out at 31 Celsius.

Light mid-afternoon showers will become much heavier during the evening, as the front begins to cross Sao Paulo and its environs. Showers and longer spells of rain will continue overnight, leading into a wet start for race day.

Sunday will obviously start damp, with a continuation of the showers. However, there could be worse to come, based on today’s rainfall projection. Heavy showers will merge into a sustained period of intense rain, between the hours of approximately 06:00 to 18:00 local time. Clearly, this encompasses the race window and we are looking at enough rain to produce safety cars, red flags and possible issues with standing water etc.

Air temperature will only scrape up to 21 Celsius, as the colder airmass moves in behind the first wave of showers. Winds will be light to moderate at times from the south-east.

We are now looking at a potentially difficult and long day to end what has been a wonderful world championship season. I will keep on top of this over the next 24 hours and publish a further update on Friday at around 20:00 GMT, but before then there are two 90-minute practice sessions to enjoy, as we find out how close the Ferrari duo can get to the flying McLaren and Red Bull drivers.

Brazilian Grand Prix Weather 2012: Midweek Update

As many of you will now know, there is a distinct threat of rain this weekend for the 2012 Formula 1 finale at Interlagos. However, there have been some key changes over the last 48 hours since my initial post, so let’s get straight into it…

The prognosis for Thursday and Friday remains largely unchaged. It will be mainly dry with some pleasant sunshine around for the press and PR activities tomorrow and for first practice on Friday morning. Clouds are expected to gradually build between the two 90-minute sessions and this could result in near-overcast conditions by the time on-track activity ends. Air temperature will climb to around 29 or 30 degrees Celsius on both days.

English: Track map for use with Autódromo José...

Autódromo José Carlos Pace circuit map. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is a slight chance of the increasing clouds producing a shower towards late afternoon / early evening, but this threat is on the low side and should enable the teams to get through the first day without too much trouble.

The Cold Front

Now, to the main event that we have been discussing since Saturday. A cold front is already forming across central Argentina this afternoon. It will intensify over the next 24 hours or so and then begin a slow trek north-eastwards. The latest projection is that the front will be slower moving than first thought and this has a huge potential impact for Sunday’s race.

Saturday’s forecast (as a result) now changes a little, because the focus of the rain has shifted foward by one day. It will be dry for much of the morning, extending into the early afternoon. Mainly cloudy conditions are expected for final practice, as outlying cloud from this front moves in over the region. Qualifying is on a knife-edge just for the moment, but with the projection moving forward timewise, we are now looking at a drier scenario for the knockout session, with just a slight chance of showers. Air temperature will peak at 33 Celsius and this could produce a thunderstorm or two by late afternoon.

The fun now begins on Saturday evening, with showers crossing the region overnight and into Sunday morning. Race day will start off overcast with some light showers around, but throughout the day these will intensify, with the worst of any rainfall now set for Sunday afternoon. Rainfall totals on Sunday range from one to two inches and the race is looking set to be wet, with some particularly heavy bursts at times. Air temperature will drop considerably to a maximum of 25 degrees Celsius.

To summarise, the worst of the rain is now predicted between midday and midnight local time on Sunday. Ferrari fans will of course continue rain dancing all over the world in the hope that Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel don’t get an easy ride on a dry circuit.

This story is still evolving and there will be further fine detail changes as we approach the weekend. I will be back between 19:00 and 20:00 GMT tomorrow with a further update and a look ahead to Friday’s forecast.

Brazilian Grand Prix Weather 2012: Early Forecast

Fine weather has dominated recent Formula 1 events, but you might have known there would be a sting in the tail at Interlagos. All it required was for Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso to play their parts well and drive this pulsating season forward to a final showdown.

Lewis Hamilton helped in the grand plan enormously with a faultless victory at the Circuit of the Americas yesterday. But rather than dwell on the race itself, it is perhaps more important for the sport and its relationship with America, that the event proved to be such a wonderful success. The track grew on me more and more throughout the weekend and everyone – be it the teams, journalists, organisers and fans – was glowing with praise. It was a great start to the Austin adventure.

So it comes down to Interlagos and the weather may just do the tifosi a favour here.

Early Trend

The first few days of this week will feature familiar Sao Paulo fare – mainly sunny conditions in the morning and early afternoon, rising temperatures and the possibility of a late-afternoon storm cell moving through. Temperatures will rise steadily over the next few days, to a high of 30 Celsius.

Thursday should produce the best of the weather around Interlagos this week. It will be dry for the pre-event media briefings and interviews, with plenty of sunshine around and no hint of any showers. Air temperature will continue to climb, reaching 31 degrees.

On Friday we return to the standard ‘boom and bust’ scenario. First practice will be dry and sunny with just one or two light clouds around, but conditions will cloud over a little for the afternoon session, with a chance of early evening storms. Air temperature is tipped to climb even higher, reaching 33 Celsius during P2.

Autódromo José Carlos Pace

Autódromo José Carlos Pace (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

But, there is a big change on the horizon. A cold front is going to form over central Argentina on Wednesday. It will quickly intensify into a potent system and begin to track slowly north-east towards Brazil, reaching Sao Paulo and Interlagos by Saturday afternoon.  Final practice will likely stay dry, but this is subject to change and depends on how things develop over the coming days.  Showers and thundery downpours are expected after midday, so this obviously brings a high chance of a wet qualifying session. Air temperature will reach approximately 31 degrees before the chaos begins, but there will be a sharp decrease in the ambient once the rain arrives.

Conditions will steadily deteriorate from then on and Saturday evening and overnight looks particularly bad with heavy downpours, perhaps amounting to three inches of rainfall, as the front crosses south-east Brazil.

This risk of rain will continue into Sunday morning, but by around midday the worst of the rain wil have passed. There remains a chance of showers at the back end of this cold front, but they will generally become less frequent. If the system blows through quickly, then the title decider could be fully dry, but if it stalls or slows down anytime between Wednesday and Saturday, then this obviously brings the potential of showers more towards the race window. Cold air that has been dragged in behind the front will mean a much lower maximum on race day, reaching just 20 Celsius.

So, there is a lot going on this week and the destiny of the race and the title could be partly influenced by weather this weekend. The forecast above merely sets the general trend and I will be keeping up with the latest developments over the next 48 hours. Given the world championship situation and the potential for heavy rain, I hope to pen a short update on Wednesday and we will go daily from there.

United States Grand Prix Weather 2012: Saturday Review, Sunday Forecast

The script said it had to be so. Having topped all three practice sessions and cementing his tag as the man to beat this weekend, it came as no surprise that championship leader Sebastian Vettel claimed his sixth pole position of the season at the all-new Circuit of the Americas, while his title rival Fernando Alonso languishes down the order and with a lot of work to do.

Back in 2007 when Lewis Hamilton was getting the edge in equal machinery in an equally difficult world championship battle, Alonso was so enraged after qualifying in Shanghai that he bust the door of his dressing room door off its hinges. One can only wonder how the Spaniard is feeling right now. It must be said that he has driven superbly well all season, and if he ultimately comes up short then it would be a tremendously difficult pill to swallow.

As things stand, if the two title protagonists finish the race in their starting positions tomorrow, the music will be louder than ever at Red Bull. The hopes of many who want to see the battle go to the wire will rest with Lewis Hamilton getting a good start off the line and Kimi Raikkonen propelling himself into the mix. You have another 22 hours or so to ponder the permutations, before the chaos begins.

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Circuit of the Americas (Photo credit: CaterhamF1)

Sunday Forecast

As for the weather, well that is unlikely to help Alonso much either. Earlier this week, there was a thought from both the local meteorologists and some respected international voices, that there could be some light showers around from an advancing area of low pressure out to the west, but the maps didn’t look right to me. As it turns out, any rain is expected to be confined to western counties of Texas tomorrow afternoon, leaving Austin dry and reasonably warm, but with a little more cloud around than over the last few days.

Race day will dawn dry with some early sunshine, but it will again be cool, as temperatures slowly rise from an overnight minimum of 10 degrees. Cloud will begin to spill in from the south-west throughout the latter stages of the morning and by race time there may only be a few sunny intervals.

But the 56-lap race should at least remain dry. The drivers will have trouble enough as they barrel into Turn 1 and then the resultant grip problems through the first few laps. A light breeze will continue from the south-east (same as today), while air temperature is again tipped to reach 21 degrees Celsius.

Before I go, there is an important early ping towards a potential deluge at Interlagos next Saturday. An intense cold front is set to move north-eastwards from Argentina and we could be set for a repeat of the astounding conditions on the same day back in 2009, when there were no less than five separate thunderstorms that affected final practice and qualifying.

But that is for next week and I will talk a lot more about this on Monday. Until then, enjoy the race everyone and let’s see if we can get this thing to go down to the wire…

United States Grand Prix Weather 2012: Friday Review, Saturday Forecast

Red Bull got into hot water on the first day of track action at the brand new Circuit of the Americas, near Austin, but Sebastian Vettel was still able to do enough and comfortably head both practice sessions, as he looks to secure his third driver’s title on the bounce.

Before today, like many of you who read this blog, I had seen Mario Andretti’s on-board from the laps he did around the track a few weeks ago and had a good look at the circuit map. Much had been made about the uphill approach to Turn 1 – and with justification. It is a wonderful aspect of the new venue.

But having watched and commentated through the two sessions earlier today, I am much more in love with the section between Turn 3 up to Turn 9. Isn’t that fantastic? Watching the drivers really putting their skills top the test as they switch left and right for such a long time. It’s a good job that Formula 1 doesn’t visit the circuit in July, or else we would have drivers suffering serious physical problems getting through there lap after lap.

As it was, air temperature topped out at 21 degrees during the second session, while the continuous sunshine helped the track surface reach 31 Celsius briefly.

Nest Learning Thermostat showing Celsius

Tonight, skies will remain clear, allowing air temperature to drop sharply to a minimum of just five degrees, so if you are out and about later this evening, make sure to take a jacket with you.

Saturday Forecast

Tomorrow morning is set for a repeat of today’s conditions. It will be cold first thing in the morning and final practice is scheduled to begin at 09:00 local time, so sweatshirts and possibly a light jacket will be required in the sunshine as temperatures rise.

Overhead, it will remain sunny with just one or two patches of light cloud around at worst for qualifying. Interestingly for the teams, the light north-easterly breeze is expected to switch round to a south-easterly (as it was on Thursday), so that may change the teams’ thinking in terms of gear ratios and how the drivers attack some of the corners.

Air temperature will again reach 20 or 21 degrees and with continual sunshine we should get track surface temperatures through the 30-degree barrier once again. And with grip levels improving, lap times may come down by another two seconds by the end of qualifying.

Enjoy the sessions tomorrow, as the story of the 2012 United States Grand Prix continues. I will be back once the track action has cloncluded, to look over the day’s events and cast a weather eye towards Sunday’s race.

United States Grand Prix Weather 2012: Friday Forecast

Three is the magic number and the battle is on between championship leader Sebastian Vettel and his rival Fernando Alonso for this year’s Formula 1 world championship. Two races to go and we begin what should be a fantastic double-header with this weekend’s United States Grand Prix at the brand new Circuit of the Americas, to the south-east of Austin, Texas. But there can only be one winner…

Both drivers were in attendance at this afternoon’s pre-event press conference, performing admirably as the pressure grows on each of them to secure their third crown. Vettel was as jovial as always, while Alonso looked to be already ‘in the zone’, fully concentrated, driven and hungry. His mind was clearly elsewhere as the Q&A session went on around him. Kimi Raikkonen was at his eloquent best, lifting the spirits of everyone with his amusing answers, egged on at times by Lewis Hamilton.

English: Austin Formula One circuit layout

Circuit of the Americas track layout (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 5.516km track offers a clean sheet of paper for the teams to work with, and the destiny of this weekend’s race in Austin could partly be decided by who hits the ground running first. Two 90-minute practice sessions are on the menu tomorrow, giving the drivers their first impression of the circuit and a chance to find the best set-up.

Weatherwise, little has changed since my early forecast entry at the start of this week. Texas has experienced something of a cool spell since a cold front blew through the region at the weekend. Chilly mornings have been followed by fine and sunny afternoons, but temperatures have fallen short of the average for this time of year.

However, things are set to warm up a little of the next few days, while the overall trend remains stable. It will be mainly cloudy this evening and that will help to keep temperatures a little milder than of late, falling to a minimum of eight degrees.

Friday Forecast

Tomorrow is set to be another dry and fine day, but it will be especially cool in the morning and gradually warming up during first practice. It will be mainly sunny for the duration of the on-track running and air temperature will climb to a high of 20 Celsius. The light breeze will continue, but it is expected to veer round to the north-east overnight and remain from this direction for the two sessions.

It remains to be seen who gets to grips with the new circuit better and it should be a great day’s entertainment. Once practice has concluded, I will be back to review track conditions and look ahead in detail to the Saturday forecast, but there is little change expected over the next 48 hours.

United States Grand Prix Weather 2012: Early Forecast

There is nothing more I enjoy as a motor racing / weather enthusiast than my favourite sport visiting a completely new venue. It gives me a blank canvas in terms of parameters to play with and explore in the days leading up to the event, then of course we have the track action itself and everyone’s early impressions of the new facility.

After months of speculation and increasing media coverage, this is the week when Formula 1 makes its long-awaited return to the United States, to the brand new 5.516km Circuit of the Americas. The venue is located less than 10 miles to the south-east of downtown Austin, Texas and to the south-west, the Mexican border is approximately 190 miles away.

 

Austin’s Climate

The climate is generally hot, with an average of 228 days sunshine per year. Temperatures in the meat of the summer reach well over 35 degrees Celsius for days on end, so in motor racing parlents we are looking at yearly conditions which are somewhat similar to Jerez.

Having said that, Texas is going through something of an unusual cold spell early this week, for the time of year. A cold front moved through the state on Sunday, dragging down much cooler air from the mid-west. Today was dry and sunny at the circuit as preparations continue, but temperatures are going to stay on the low side for the next couple of days. Tonight will be the coldest conditions of the week as the mercury plunges to one or two clicks above freezing. Sunshine and mainly stable weather will continue through the midweek period and daytime temperatures will slowly climb day by day, eventually reaching 20 Celsius by Thursday.

Early Forecast

The race weekend is looking a good bit better as the mercury continues to climb gradually. Friday practice is set to be a dry affair with plenty of sunshine as the drivers get their first taste of the new circuit. Air temperature will top out at 21 Celsius, with a minimum of approximately eight degrees at night.

On Saturday the trend continues for final practice and qualifying. It will be mainly sunny for the two important sessions with some patches of cloud around the skyline. Air temperature will improve to 22 Celsius, while race day will be similar with a high of 23 degrees for the COTA’s first event.

One or two early mainstream forecasts have painted a potentially showery picture with a low chance of rain affecting Sunday’s race. It doesn’t look that way to me at this stage given the latest maps so we should be good for a dry weekend as the battle for the title reaches the penultimate round.

Wrap up well in the current swathe of cold air through the rest of Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday and Thursday will deliver a decent improvement, by which time I will be back to take a detailed look at Friday’s forecast, as the build-up to the first grand prix at the Circuit of the Americas continues.