cota f1

F1 US Grand Prix finally back! Three outlines before the start

Contrary to all predictions, the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix was a strategic race, rather than a game-changer due to the massive tensions. The Circuit of the Americas is coming to rectify the situation after Istanbul Park! The epic battle for the Formula 1 title continues in Austin, with the 2021 F1 US Grand Prix taking place over 56 laps on the 5.513 kilometer. With an iconic turn 1 and huge overtaking opportunities at turn 12, the COTA is rightly a modern classic in Formula 1. Towards the end of the racing season, the uncertainty surrounding the World Championship title continues to fuel the already tense atmosphere. While Formula 1 CEO and President Stefano Domenicali has already decided on the plans for the F1 calendar 2022, too many questions remain unanswered.

#1. The power of the home of the Haas Team on Formula 1 US Grand Prix.

Home support is not only forcing Haas F1 to perform at its best, it is also making his team-mates nervous! It’s no secret that Gene Haas’s team has a huge American fan base that has supported the team since joining Formula 1 in 2016. Organizers expect an incredible crowd this weekend: over 100,000 fans will attend COTA on race day! The entire Haas F1 team simply cannot fall into the muck at the home race. To bring its performance to the most dignified level, the brave Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin will go into battle.

The relationship between Mick Schumacher and Nikita Mazepin is not going smoothly. Haas Team Principal Guenther Steiner has worked hard throughout the 2021 Formula 1 season to keep the conflict behind closed doors. As wisdom has it, “sooner or later secrets will become widely known.” Perhaps no one would forget the behavior outside the paddock club in Mazepin Instagram story. At the same time, Nikita manages to create something on the Formula 1 circuit that makes everyone in the team blush. Last race, he blocked Lewis Hamilton’s pass at the Turkish Grand Prix.

The Haas F1 Team cannot compete for points in the top ten because it has concentrated all its efforts for Formula 1 2022. Even if the top five drivers know they should overtake Mazepin more carefully, Mik Schumacher is the Russian’s main competitor in the field. And that’s what it’s all about!

Uncontrolled tension within the team.

When Gunther Steiner signed Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher, he could hardly have imagined that both would compete against each other and not against Williams drivers George Russell and Nicholas Latifi. One of the obvious shame, but not the last, was the Grand Prix at Zandvoort. Russian driver has received a lot of criticism in the past for dangerous driving. F1 2021 season is coming to an end, but Nikita is still receiving criticism from racing experts.

Confident Mazepin creates a picture of a person that not everyone likes to see, but does not care. He is the complete opposite of the humble Mick Schumacher. If the German came to Formula 1 to destroy stereotypes, but Mazepin is the proof of all predictions. Formula 1 fans make their opinions about drivers through race results and successes, not through the image on social media. So Mick Schumacher has respect and support from most of the Haas fans while Mazepin feels alone in his start in Formula 1.

Today at the F1 US Grand Prix, Mick Shumacher feels relaxed, while Nikita Mazepin appears nervous and gives interviews trying to convey that he does not care about critics. Believe it or not, driving in sight of 100,000 Haas F1 fans is really hard not to be wrong, especially when almost half of them are betting on Mick Schumacher. F1 US Grand Prix will be a test of nerves for both drivers and Gunther Steiner.

Haas F1 Cota
Haas F1, photo by F1 official

#2. McLaren vs Ferrari: a duel of equals.

F1 Constructor Standings
F1 Constructor Standings, McLaren vs Ferrari

The Mclaren F1 Team has been dreaming of a return to the st place in constructors’ standings since 1998. They have worked hard over the last five years, especially with Fernando Alonso 2015-2019. Not many people could have imagined that this dream had come a step closer with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo. Even fewer people could have predicted that the legendary 2021 F1 team would be fighting for third place in the constructors’ standings with the no less legendary Scuderia Ferrari! In addition, both teams have the same status: their drivers are strong and motivated, both teams have worked hard with F1 cars and both are getting the restructuring.

Scuderia Ferrari lost a lot of time at the beginning of the season, and a recent improvement in performance seems to have brought them a clear step forward. Carlos Sainz and Charles Leclerc are now ready to fight back. The Turkish Grand Prix showed the new power of prancing horses, the drivers fought their way out of the back field successfully. At the same time, Mclaren is more flexible, the team is making progress, two really strong races are clear proof of that. Only 7.5 points gaps between McLaren and Ferrari in the constructors’ standings ahead of the F1 US Grand Prix. The last three races will provide a clear view as to whether the Scuderia Ferrari is really as fast as it looked on the Istanbul Park, or whether Mclaren will get the deserved third place.

#3. Lewis Hamilton vs Max Verstappen: still close – still not enough.

According to all forecasts, the weather and the asphalt of the Istanbul Park track should be a decisive challenge. Unfortunately, nobody could imagine that the race in Turkey would be seen as an important tactical test for the team, but not as an exciting Grand Prix. Mercedes and Red Bull both acted defensively. It was important not to lose too many points to each other, but to risk. Lewis Hamilton received 10 penalty points and missed the chance to win in Istanbul Park. Meanwhile, there is still no complete answer to the question “Who is the 2021 Formula 1 World Champion?.”

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen were very close during the 2021 F1 season, swapping positions, but it was still not enough to win the title. It is no secret that Red Bull team bosses and pundits have predicted that Mercedes F1 cars will be faster than Red Bull in the next three races. But, in fact, such claims do not include the other factors that may be crucial before the race at the Circuit of Americas.

Red Bull Team – united by tactical strategy.

Sergio Perez and Max Verstappen seem more united and interested in the progress of the team. The Mexican works within the framework of a contract and knows exactly what to do and how to do it. Sergio is primarily interested in this. Otherwise, the entire Formula 1 Paddock knows that Red Bull is not accustomed to “goodbuy” ceremonies with the drivers. Conversely, the situation at Mercedes is the same: Valtteri Bottas already has a contract and joins Alfa Romeo F1 team in 2022. The Finn drives the last three races for Mercedes. Current Williams F1 driver George Russell will change suits for Mercedes next season, which is not as positive news for the team motivation as it should be. Despite Mercedes having a good points gap to Red Bull, Lewis Hamilton looks a little lonely fighting Red Bull and Max Verstappen, and that is the point.

The conflict of interest ahead of the F1 US Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen came to the United States Grand Prix as the most popular F1 driver in the world! He fights with passion, he has nothing to lose and is calm. Lewis Hamilton seems a bit nervous about it. The last five laps of the Grnad Prix in Turkey and two previous collisions in between are the best evidence of such a view. Before Max Verstappen gets behind the wheel of the winning Red Bull on COTA, he is six points ahead of Hamilton in the championship. Lewis Hamilton must therefore collect plus points and save his world title, which will be awarded for the eighth time.

The opposite mental state for Max, he has never been world champion and acts as if it were just another attempt. Red Bull not only gives Verstappen wings, but also the enormous support in the media. Team Principal Christian Horner therefore calls the driver a worthy rival of Lewis Hamilton. Helmuts Marko also notes the best qualities of Verstappen. Mercedes team Principal Toto Wolff is more reserved and lets us know that team has already proven everything.

Max Verstappen, for example, despite the more refined Mercedes and the strong advantages of Lewis Hamilton’s car, filled up with more positives and does not feel the same pressure. His world title is in the interest of the entire team. Should the Red Bull driver prevail at COTA, this would be a great help to gain advantages for Mexico and Brazil against Lewis Hamilton.

F1 US Grand Prix

F1 US Grand Prix schedule

THURSDAY 21st OCTOBER  
Formula 1Press Conference12:30 – 16:00
Formula 1Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps15:05 – 15:35
   
FRIDAY 22nd OCTOBER  
W SeriesFirst Practice Session10:20 – 10:50
Formula 1Practice 111:30 – 12:30
Formula 1Nascar Demo12:35 – 12:45
FIA Formula 4Practice Session12:55 – 13:25
Formula 1Press Conference13:00 – 14:00
Formula 1Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps14:00 – 14:30
Formula 1Practice 215:00 – 16:00
W Series Second Practice Session16:30 – 17:00
   
SATURDAY 23rd OCTOBER  
FIA Formula 4Qualifying Session10:05 – 10:25
Formula 1NASCAR Demo10:35 – 10:50
W SeriesQualifying Session11:10 – 11:40
Formula 1Team Pit Stop Practice11:45 – 12:15
Formula 1Practice 313:00 – 14:00
FIA Formula 4First Race (10 Laps or 25 Mins +1 Lap)14:25 – 14:55
Formula 1Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps15:05 – 15:30
Formula 1Qualifying16:00 – 17:00
Formula 1Press Conference17:00 – 18:00
W SeriesFirst Race (30 Mins +1 Lap)17:25 – 18:00
   
SUNDAY 24th OCTOBER  
Formula 1NASCAR Demo08:50 – 09:10
Formula 1Safety Car Hot Laps09:25 – 09:35
FIA Formula 4Second Race (10 Laps or 25 Mins +1 Lap)10:00 – 10:30
W SeriesSecond Race (30 Mins +1 Lap)11:05 – 11:40
Formula 1Formula 1 Pirelli Hot Laps11:50 – 12:10
Formula 1Drivers’ Parade12:20 – 12:50
Formula 1‘We Race As One’ Gesture13:43 – 13:44
Formula 1National Anthem13:44 – 13:46
Formula 1Grand Prix (56 Laps or 120 Mins)14:00 – 16:00
* Please note that this timetable is subject to amendments, local time noted

Sum.

We expect Mercedes to have an undeniable advantage, but Red Bull’s team tactics will not allow the opponent to relax. Despite Lewis Hamilton’s track record at the Circuit of the Americas in the past, Max Verstappen is more relaxed and does not succumb to the same stress. Haas is practically heading home where the drivers should be doing their best in front of a huge crowd of fans, but if we can rely on Mick Schumacher, then Mazepin’s condition will once again be a mystery.