Following the first lap at New Circuit of the Americas circuit former F1 world champion Mario Andretti says that the impression is absolutely fantastic.
1978 Formula One World Champion Mario Andretti took the primary full lap in the new Circuit of the Americas on Sunday.
The opening U.S. Grand Prix officially scheduled on November 18, it was the first U.S. Grand Prix since Indianapolis in 2007.
“It’s very green, as you could expect,” Mario Andretti told Reuters.
“You get offline a bit – it’s a bit slippery. But that’s normal for a new circuit. Overall, my impression is absolutely fantastic.”
Andretti, a Circuit of the Americas ambassador, ceremonially cut a ribbon of checkered flags from a Lotus 79 Cosworth racing car and then zoomed up a steep hill toward the hairpin Turn 1.
“That’s my designated signature corner,” said Andretti, who had initially been scheduled to drive a Lotus R30 Formula 1 car before that plan was aborted because of a mechanical problem.
“I think that’s going to invite quite a bit of action there, a lot of overtaking for sure.”
“So you’re going to push the envelope, If you’re going to challenge, that’s the time you’re going to do it. The track seems to be, in many of the braking areas, wide enough to invite that. Andretti said.
“If you somehow misjudge a situation, I think you can get out of it because of the width. I think you’re going to see a lot of action because of that, and that’s what it’s all about.”
“Everything is ready for hosting a race,” Circuit of the Americas spokeswoman Ali Putnam said.
2013 opening Grand Prix of America in New Jersey will be delayed to 2014 because local organisers need more time to prepare, Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone said on Friday.
Andretti said he had spoken with some of those involved in the New Jersey race.
“They just have a few issues here and there, which I think pushed the project back, but they’re still very much just going for it, I know there potentially were some negative comments and so forth going on, but you know, they’re pressing on.” Andretti said.
“To me, the more the merrier,” he added. “If there’s going to be any country that would host two races and justify it, in my opinion, I think it would be the U.S.”