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Season Review 2012 9

Nigel Roebuck’s highlight of the year

I thought Fernando Alonso’s victory in Valencia (from 11th on the grid) the best of the season, and a particular highlight was his perfectly timed and executed pass of Romain Grosjean’s faster Lotus at the first turn after the restart.

If there were countless memorable moves in 2012, however, for me the highlight of the year was an entire race weekend, and a new one at that. If there was widespread delight that Formula 1 was taking yet another stab at the USA, so it must be said that at different times there had been concerns about the new venue – at one point indeed there were doubts that the Circuit of the Americas would ever be built.

season review 2012  Nigel Roebucks highlight of the year

Once financial and personnel problems had been resolved, however, the project went ahead. In a remarkably short time a state-of-the-art Grand Prix circuit materialised in Austin, Texas, and it’s fair to say that for the F1 world it was love at first sight. For one thing, the track itself was a thing of wonder in an era of bland new autodromes; for another, in avoiding the superficial, in opting to spend money sensibly, rather than wasting it on glitzy, soulless, buildings, the people at COTA succeeded in fashioning an ambience both welcoming and instantly familiar, which found favour with everyone. To many it was somehow redolent of Adelaide, and no higher compliment could have been paid.

As well as that, in every respect the organisation was simply superb, all the more remarkable for the fact that this was a brand-new event. Add in that local enthusiasm for F1’s move to Texas was palpable, that the crowd was of Silverstone proportions, that the late autumn weather was blissful throughout, that we had a gripping lead battle between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, and the picture was complete, the weekend a triumph in every way – not least Pirelli’s inspired decision to go with Stetsons on the podium. Suddenly everyone had a new favourite Grand Prix.

Add your comments

9 comments on Nigel Roebuck’s highlight of the year

  1. Bill, 27 December 2012 09:54

    Ironic that you chose a race wich was decided by your so hated DRS…

  2. Steve W, 27 December 2012 12:38

    Yes, Vettel was passed with the aid of the DRS, but after that, he was in the position to use the DRS himself. But he didn’t. Or couldn’t…

  3. Michael Spitale, 27 December 2012 13:48

    As an American this entire piece makes me smile. This is the first time since Watkins Glen that we have a proper track. As long as Pirelli remembers to bring softer tires next year it will be even better.

  4. Mikey, 27 December 2012 15:04

    A hilight, no doubt. So nice to see a little rise and fall to go with the side to side. Let it be a line in the sand for F1. Nothing less will do.

  5. John B, 27 December 2012 20:47

    I agree totally Mikey – nothing else is good enough.
    Time was a circuit was judged by the black stuff in between all the glitzy buildings. Let us hope that time is soon upon us again.
    Perhaps that line has been drawn in some middle eastern sand!

  6. chris b, 27 December 2012 21:27

    i am very impressed with Austin and want to look at seeing a GP there, probably cheaper than going to Silverstone anyway

  7. Ray T, 28 December 2012 17:47

    Sorry Nigel, but in modern F1, races from the mid-pack to win are not what they used to mean. In the past, these efforts were heroic and rare, but with DRS, all you need is a slightly faster car. Many races this year highlight 8-16 position advances for Alonso and Vettel. F1 is exciting for two laps while we see out-braking and drafting, but once DRS is enabled, it gets boring fast.

    I agree about Austin, it was nice to see a new GP at a new track in a country were people actually showed up to watch it.
    As much as I do not like Luca Montezemolo, his recent comments in the press about Ecclestone just echo the frustration of F1 fans about the state of the sport.

  8. Kjell Karlson, 30 December 2012 16:59

    Yes, the Austin track was real fun to watch. The US GP back on the calender – great – and for once it looks as if Mr Tilke knows what he is doing. Very good! The drives by Mr Alonso was impressive the whole season but what can he do against the combined force of Mr Vettel and Mr Newey? The drive of the year – Mr Raikkonen gets my vote. Wheel to wheel racing with control and overtaking such as the pass of Schumacher into Eau Rouge. Good stuff! Looking forward to the upcoming season and lets hope that McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus all can be on par with Read Bull. I also hope the form of Mr Massa will continue for 2013.

  9. A Remley, 4 January 2013 17:30

    Living less than 1.5 hours from the track and being an F1 fan, this race and the track was fantastic. Sitting in the Turn 12 complex it was amazing to see the breaking duels and seeing the drivers negotiate the turn complex side by side for much of the race was fantaastic. Great driving, great track, great drivers! Loved the race and the drivers were very welcomed guests!

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