As Sebastian Vettel prepares for his final United States GP as a Formula 1 driver, plans are being thought up to honour the four-time champ.
Vettel is quickly approaching the end of his Formula 1 career, four rounds remaining before not only the 2022 season comes to a close, but also Vettel’s time as an F1 racer.
The next stop is the United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of The Americas, a venue where Vettel has won once before back in 2013.
And COTA bosses want to make sure that Vettel is given a fitting celebration as the Aston Martin driver heads into action one last time at the venue, which is also marking its 10th anniversary of Formula 1 action.
Another bumper crowd is expected after welcoming a crowd exceeding 400,000 through the gates last season, a new record for the venue.
“We’d love to find a way to celebrate Sebastian (Vettel) and recognise him for his contributions before he retires,” COTA chairman Bobby Epstein said as per RACER.
“We’re talking about that and we’ve got some ideas we’re going to come out with soon.”
It was in the United States where Vettel made his Formula 1 debut, finishing P8 at Indianapolis with BMW Sauber to score a point on the first attempt.
Vettel commented that COTA has its own unique vibe, rather than simply an American one.
“Obviously, I made my debut in Indianapolis five years before that, but I think there’s been a different vibe in Austin right from the get-go,” said the four-time World Champion. “It’s been really exciting because the whole city was happy to have the race and welcomed us.
“Obviously, the interest across the U.S. has grown in the last couple of years. But Austin has always been exceptional. So probably more a question for Austin, how they handle it now with more requests or people. But I also feel that Austin isn’t your ‘typical America’, if such a thing exists.
“So I think for us, it’s been great to go there right from the start. And it’s been a highlight of the season for many years now, for 10 years.”
COTA is one of two American venues on the calendar alongside Miami, while next season that will grow to three with the addition of the Las Vegas Grand Prix.
And Epstein says that this allows COTA, which has signed a new deal to host the United States GP until 2026, to focus on serving as something of a banner event representing the United States in general.
“We always felt like we were going to get a five-year extension because we built this to be here for Formula 1 and I think it’ll be here for a long time,” Epstein stated.
“So we were always invested in the circuit. I think we can just focus on delivering a great experience.
“And also with Miami and Las Vegas each being the destination cities they are, it gives us the chance to focus on being truly the United States Grand Prix, and represent the great things about our whole country… with a little bit of Texas – okay a lot of Texas – thrown in there. But we really want to be the ‘United States Grand Prix.’
“We’re very proud of that, we’re very proud that’s part of our identity and our title. We’ve been that for a decade and we’d like to see that for decades to come.”