McLaren duo Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button express their views on the upcoming United States Grand Prix.
Fernando Alonso: “It’s great to go back to North America – Austin is a really cool place and I’m pleased we’re returning there after a bit of uncertainty following last year’s event. It’s a Grand Prix in which you never really know what to expect, and I would say that last year I had one of my favourite races because, despite having a puncture on lap two, we were able to push and make progress through the field, which was hugely satisfying from behind the wheel. The weather can always give us a few surprises and the track temperature often changes a lot from session to session, so I hope we can find a good set-up early on and improve our pace as the weekend progresses. The Circuit of The Americas is a big challenge for every car – each sector offers something completely different. The first section requires a lot of precision, as it’s a big climb up to the first corner, which you go into blind. The elevation changes put a lot of pressure on the car and it’s important to get good traction out of each corner. It’s a really exhilarating circuit to drive and you need to work hard at every braking point to keep good momentum around the circuit, as the rhythm is constantly changing along with the elevation as you go around the lap.”
Jenson Button: "I’m looking forward to heading back to Austin. I’ve been spending more and more time in the States recently and Austin is a city with passionate fans that really love their racing. The atmosphere downtown is really relaxed and we usually take the opportunity to sample the famous Texan cuisine in one or two of the restaurants over the course of the weekend. I’ve always liked racing at this circuit and we managed to put up a good fight last year despite not having the best outright pace, so I’m hoping for more of the same and a bit of a boost after the disappointment of our result in Japan. COTA is one of the few anti-clockwise circuits on the calendar, and has a bit of everything: fast corners, slow corners and heavy braking zones, so you need a car with good balance, which tends to be one of the strengths of our car. There’s lots of fast, sweeping corners in the first sector, the long straight in the second sector, and then the infield section in the final sector which is tight and twisty with long apexes and high g-forces. You really need to prepare the car for everything! For a driver it’s great fun and I hope we enjoy a better result there than in Suzuka.”