After a nine-year wait, Formula One makes its much-anticipated return to the United States with the inaugural race at the new Indianapolis circuit this weekend. As the second most experienced driver on the grid, Johnny Herbert has raced in two ...
After a nine-year wait, Formula One makes its much-anticipated return to the United States with the inaugural race at the new Indianapolis circuit this weekend. As the second most experienced driver on the grid, Johnny Herbert has raced in two USGPs, including the last race in Phoenix in 1991, and he can't wait to try out the new track.
"It's really great that F1 is returning to the USA at Indianapolis, the home of the Indy 500, which is a race I want to compete in in the future," he said. "I think it's going to be a really challenging circuit as, with such a long straight, we won't be able to run much wing for the infield section. I'm looking forward to the challenge of the banking and can't wait to get out there and give it a go!"
Team-mate Eddie Irvine has not raced an F1 car in the States, but he's excited by the track's mix of long straights and tight corners. "I am really looking forward to this weekend's race," he said. "It's always good to go to a new venue and Indianapolis looks particularly interesting. Technically, it will throw up a few challenges we haven't seen before in F1. That main straight seems to go on for ever and the banking should be interesting to say the least! The circuit will require a very different set-up to anything we have used elsewhere and tyres will play a very important role. The Americans certainly know a thing or two about putting on a great show and it will be up to us to give them a weekend that makes the spectators want to come back next year."
The unique track design also provides an interesting technical challenge according to technical director Gary Anderson. "Indy is the biggest motor racing spectacle in the world and it's a real privilege to be able to race there," he said. "It's been a long, long time since we've had an F1 race in America and we've never raced on an oval before so it's going to be a big challenge. The hardest part is going to be the straight as it's 1.8kms at full throttle. The longest straights we race on in Europe are up to 1.2kms so this is going to be very high speed. It's new for us all, a fresh start for everyone so we'll see who can get on and do the job!"
Free practice starts 5pm BST Friday September 22.