The Formula One cars and all the equipment and gear have all arrived at The Circuit of the Americas outside Austin TX, preparing for the upcoming United States Grand Prix. Everything was flown in to a nearby general airport and trucked to the track. Monday the teams were beginning to set up their garages. Not many of the shipping crates had been yet opened, and there weren’t that many crews visibly working.
The weather was absolutely beautiful – sunny and warm, with clear blue skies and but a gentle breeze. It was nice to enjoy while it lasted, as dire weather forecasts are being heard. A real cold front, with freezing temperatures and winds are due as early as Tuesday and it could get worse as the weekend progresses. There had been a big storm a week ago and while the track itself was spared, there were evidences of the flooding outside the track.
There has been interesting news this week regarding F1 drivers. The most discussed is the suddenly-scheduled back surgery Lotus driver, KIMI RAIKKONEN is having this week. While there has been talk of the team’s reserve driver, DAVIDE VALSECCHI-2012 GP2 Champion, filling in for the last two 2013 races, a Lotus crew member said the team hasn’t been told who will be the driver. He joked that the media would probably know before the team. It could be of concern, as there would be seats to fit and adjustments to be made. Interestingly enough, Raikkonen’s name is still above the garage.
Two other reserve drivers are slated to be on track this weekend: Caterham’s ALEXANDER ROSSI – the only American F1 reserve or test driver; and Toro Rosso’s DANIIL KVYAT. Rossi was set to run the first Friday F1 practice last year, but the team then determined that both Lotus drivers needed all the track time they could get on the new circuit.
Kvyat has already been named to replace DANIEL RICCARDO at Toro Rosso, who is moving from the junior to senior Red Bull team, to run with 2013 F1 World Drivers Champion, SEBASTIAN VETTEL. Kvyat will replace Riccardo in the USGP Friday practice, and then in Brazil, he will replace 2014 teammate, JEAN-ERIC VERGNE. Kvyat just qualified for his FIA Super Licence.
The Williams F1 team announced its 2014 driver lineup. Pairing with VALTERI BOTTAS will be FELIPE MASSA, who was not renewed by Ferrari for next year. This leaves current Williams driver, PASTOR MALDONADO odd man out, with or without his Venezuelan money.
As the game of musical chairs continues, expect more announcements. Silly Season is far from over.