Ahead of Fernando and Stoff taking on the 2017 United States Grand Prix, read all about Formula 1’s first purpose-built racetrack in the United States.
|Track length||5.513km/3.427 (9th longest track of the year – longest: Spa-Francorchamps, shortest: Monaco)|
|2016 pole position||Lewis Hamilton, 1m34.999s|
|2016 fastest lap||Sebastian Vettel, 1m39.877s (lap 55)|
|Lap record||1:39.347s (Sebastian Vettel, 2012)|
|Distance to Turn One||280m/0.174 miles (longest of season: Barcelona 730m/0.454 miles)|
|Longest straight||1090m/0.677 miles, on the approach to Turn 12 (longest of the season: Baku, 2.1km/1.305 miles)|
|Top speed||320km/h/199mph, on the approach to Turn 12 (fastest of season: Monza, 360km/h/224mph)|
|Full throttle||63 per cent (highest of the season: Monza, 75 per cent)|
|Fuel consumption||1.8kg per lap, which is average|
|ERS demands||Medium. ERS is deployed for around 35 per cent of the lap|
|Gear changes||54 per lap/3,024 per race|
The high number of slow corners around the lap pushes car set-up towards maximum downforce. However, it’s important to maintain a competitive top speed because there are two long straights, along which the DRS zones are located. The track is also quite bumpy, which compromises the ride quality.
How to tell when a driver's really on it
The high-speed changes of direction, particularly in Sector One, require smooth and precise steering inputs. That means the fastest laps are often the least spectacular.
Trickiest bits for the driver
Turn One is very demanding. The track climbs steep uphill on the approach, but the corner itself is almost level. That forces the driver to brake and turn in over a crest, so it’s easy to lock a wheel. A clean exit from Turn 11 is also very important because the longest straight on the lap follows.
A compromise between medium and maximum downforce, reflecting the number of slow corners around the lap and the long straights. The asphalt is smooth, but the increasing number of bumps year-on-year forces the engineers to raise the ride-heights.
High. The asphalt was laid in 2012, so it’s still relatively new and grippy. It’s also used regularly during the year, which gives it a base level of rubber that helps improve grip levels.
Purple Ultrasoft (Or pink, this weekend!), red Supersoft and yellow Soft – the eighth time this combination has been used in 2017.
Medium. There are 10 braking zones, but only four of them are significant.
Tips if you're a gamer
You need to be very precise through Sector One because the corners are inter-linked, much like Sector One at Suzuka. However, what makes Turns Two to Nine at COTA unique is that the cars are constantly scrubbing off speed. Each corner is slower than the previous one and that leaves the drivers deftly balancing the cars on the brake pedal. It’s also important not to overdrive through the slower corners on the lap.