2016 United States Grand Prix previewby Peter Higham on 21st October 2016
Gene Haas’s ambitious new team heads to Austin as the first American owned Formula 1 team to race in a home Grand Prix since 1986. That was at the Detroit GP when both Alan Jones and Eddie Cheever retired Team Haas USA (Carl Haas, no relation) Lola THL2-Fords with wheel drive peg failures. After such a promising start to the campaign, the current Haas has not scored a point since the Austrian GP in July so that is something it will be keen to put right in Texas.
Mercedes-Benz finished 1-2 for the last two seasons with Nico Rosberg qualifying on pole position but being beaten by Lewis Hamilton on the Sunday. The Englishman was crowned world champion 12 months ago and he needs to wrestle the advantage from his team-mate. However, four second-place finishes will be enough to secure Rosberg his first world title.
Sebastian Vettel qualified on pole position for the first two GPs held at Austin (2012 and 2013) and he has always finished in the top 10 in the USA – winning in 2013. Kimi Räikkönen’s second-place finish in 2003 is his only podium finish in the States.
Daniil Kvyat qualified fourth last year – a career best that he achieved three times during 2015. Felipe Nasr was ninth at the finish of that race in what was Sauber’s most recent points score. Jenson Button scored the best result of that unhappy season (sixth) although it is now 75 races since he last won a GP. McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso has always started the US GP in the top 10 except for his debut in 2001.
With four races to go, Ferrari remains the only team to have scored points in every GP of 2016. The Scuderia also holds the record for US GP wins – nine, one ahead of both McLaren and Lotus.