They say everything is bigger in Texas and the upcoming US Grand Prix looks to be one of the biggest ever. More than 100,000 fans are expected at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin – the first US track purpose-built for Formula 1, now entering its fourth consecutive season hosting the event since its 2012 revival. But as the 2015 F1 season enters its final straight, who will star in the Lone Star State?
Flying the flag for the hosts will be California’s Alexander Rossi, a 23-year old newcomer to the F1 scene sliding into Roberto Mehri’s Manor Marussia car for five of the season’s final seven races. Rossi, who debuted at September’s Singapore Grand Prix, is the first American to compete in Formula 1 since the departure of Scott Speed in 2007 and will hope to eclipse his predecessor by steering himself into the points. As it stands, America’s drought for a home-grown winner stretches way back to 1958, when another Californian, Chuck Daigh, took the honours in his home state.
From a driver perspective, the 2015 season has seen the UK and Germany continue to exert their dominance of the scene; with the Mercedes duo of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel hoovering up the full set of pole positions and race wins between them. As such, it is difficult to look beyond one of these three topping the podium in the Texan cultural capital.
Victory for two-time World champion Hamilton will all but confirm a third F1 championship for the 30-year old, as well as earning him the distinction of becoming the first British driver to win four separate US Grand Prix titles. The sole racer to have won US GPs on two different circuits, Hamilton currently sits alongside the great Graham Hill and Jim Clark, who each achieved a hat-trick of triumphs on American tarmac during the 1960s. Registering wins in Japan, Italy, Belgium and now Russia since his Silverstone triumph of July, Hamilton also came up trumps in his last North American race (June’s Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal) and is a favourite to repeat this success in the US.
Hot on Hamilton’s wheels, rival Rosberg bagged back-to-back race wins in Spain and Monaco during the month of May, before successfully defending his Austrian Grand Prix title the following weeks later. Surrendering pole to the Englishman in Japan, Rosberg’s record outside of Europe has paled to that of his Mercedes stable mate and for the German to maximise his slender chance of derailing Hamilton’s championship charge, a full 25 points in America can be seen as a must.
Finally, and with his World championship flame on the cusp of being extinguished for another year, four-time F1 kingpin Vettel (who chalked up a record nine consecutive victories across the 2013 season) will be battling to add to his resume of 42 career wins in Formula 1, ahead of a renewed tilt at title glory. Vettel has spoken in the media about “making the impossible possible” and certainly holds the credentials to achieve such a feat; though the present points gulf may prove a gap too far for the winner of this year’s Malaysian, Hungarian and Singapore Grand Prix.
Elsewhere on the grid, and with more F1 races under his belt than any other British driver, McLaren’s Jenson Button will hope for a strong showing in America to set up a successful 2016. Meanwhile, the likes of Finland’s Kimi Raikonnen, Brazil’s Felipe Massa and Australia’s Daniel Ricciardo will vie for a podium finish in this, one of the season’s most high-profile meetings. As the great and good of Formula 1 roar into America’s largest state, it remains to be seen who will go big and who will merely go home. However, what is certain is the kind of spectacle that only Formula 1 can deliver; with Kitbag.com stocking a range of team merchandise, from Mercedes and McLaren to Ferrari and Red Bull; ideal for supporting your driver of choice on US Grand Prix weekend.
The 2015 United States Grand Prix takes place on Sunday 25th October (7pm BST), with qualifying rounds commencing two days prior.
Kitbag’s range of Formula 1 products can be found here.