Lewis Hamilton is very likely to win the world championship this weekend, and F1 is preparing to reveal more about its future plans for 2021.
Here are this weekend’s talking points.
Hamilton coronationValtteri Bottas could leave Austin still with a chance of winning the championship. But the only likely scenario in which this would happen is if he wins the race and Hamilton retires for some reason.
Hamilton’s 10th victory of the season last weekend means he needs just four points between now and the end of the year to secure his sixth world championship title. And he’s only failed to do that once, in Germany, where he was ninth.
The odds favour a Hamilton coronation this weekend, which would be the second time he’s clinched the title in America, following his 2015 triumph.
The new regulations package for the 2021 F1 season has been debated since Liberty Media took over the sport three years ago. The championship owners are now preparing to publicly reveal for the first time the fine detail of how it intends to overhaul the sport.
RaceFans has already revealed many key details of the proposed changes, including the introduction of a ‘budget cap’ and a radical overhaul of aerodynamics to improve the quality of racing. But will there be more surprises lurking in the finished regulations?
Most importantly of all, have Liberty Media done enough to keep all the current competitors happy, and persuade the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes, Renault and Honda to extend their commitment to the sport beyond the end of next year?
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Haas at home
There’s an irony in the fact home team Haas is planning to run a NASCAR at the Circuit of the Americas on the same day F1 presents its 2021 rules package. Ferrari’s late CEO Sergio Marchionne famously responded to Liberty’s first indications of its plan for the sport by remarking “I don’t want to play NASCAR globally” and hinting Ferrari will walk if it doesn’t like what it see.
For the Haas F1 drivers, getting to play in a Stewart-Haas NASCAR will be a welcome break from the slog in their VF-19, which remains in something close to its Australian Grand Prix form as the team’s efforts to upgrade it went seriously awry and sent them up a blind alley. Mexico was a horror show for the team: Romain Grosjean was beaten by George Russell’s Williams.
Will their home race go any better? This is more like their kind of circuit, particularly as its high-energy sequence of corners at the start of the lap should help them generate energy in the tyres. But they mind also find the finicky car is susceptible to the relatively low temperatures which are forecast.
Racing Point’s late charge
Racing Point have made steady progress since introducing a package of upgrades for their RP19 in the races which immediately followed the summer break. They’ve been chipping away at Renault’s points lead over them – aided, of course, by Racing Point’s successful protest against their Anglo-French rivals in Japan.
The two teams are now separated by nine points and Toro Rosso in a close three-way fight for fifth in the championship. It would be a remarkable achievement for Racing Point if they can steal that away.
If they manage it, they will largely have Sergio Perez to thank, as he is the team’s most consistent points-scorer by far. Lance Stroll has contributed just three of the team’s 33 points since the summer break.
Ferrari’s pole-to-defeat streak
Ferrari’s record in the last three rounds reads as follows: Three pole positions, zero victories. That is an uncommon achievement these days: No other team has done so since 2013.
They won here last year, of course, but there’s no reason why Mercedes and Red Bull shouldn’t be in good shape at this track either. We could have a proper three-way fight this weekend, which will hopefully make up for the championship being all over bar the shouting.
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Are you going to the United States Grand Prix?
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2019 United States Grand Prix
- Austin showed progress Red Bull has made – Horner
- Gasly: Toro Rosso in the hunt for points every weekend
- Drivers’ salaries should be included in budget cap – Brown
- Sainz and Norris ‘within a tenth of a second of each other’ – Seidl
- Bottas says “a few mistakes” stopped him beating Hamilton