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!” – Mario Isola, Pirelli’s Motorsport Director, explained in Pirelli’s official preview of the United States Grand Prix.
THE TYRES ON TRACK
- Pirelli confirm that the middle three compounds have been nominated for Circuit of the Americas (COTA): C2 as the P Zero White hard, C3 as the P Zero Yellow medium, and C4 as the P Zero Red soft
- The uneven track surface could make it necessary to run a higher ride height, influencing bouncing and aerodynamic performance. The F1 teams will therefore have to evaluate 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.
- 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.