Heikki Kovalainen hopes F1 can put on a good show in Austin while Vitaly Petrov feels it will be “one of the best weekends of the year”
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Heikki Kovalainen: “COTA looks like a great circuit. I’ve spent a day in the simulator preparing for it so I know how it flows and they’ve taken the same approach as we saw in India, adding in up and downhill sections with some really quick corners and a couple of heavy braking zones where it should be possible to pass other cars.
“I think one of the key things to how successful the weekend will be is how the American fans take to the race. We’ve obviously been there before and there’s a lot of other racing that US fans are very passionate about, but F1 has changed since we last raced there and we know what it takes to put on a show so I think it’s going to be really good.
“Aside from the race weekend it’ll be good to go back to the US as I’ve always enjoyed myself there. Quite a few of my golfer friends either live out there or have houses in America so hopefully I can get a round or two in and have a little bit of the lifestyle they enjoy out there. It’s going to be busy as we have quite a few sponsor functions, and I’m taking part in the FOTA Fans Forum on Wednesday evening in downtown Austin, but the only thing I need to make sure is that I don’t put on any weight! The food in the US is really good and I’ve heard they do pretty big steaks in Texas, so my physio will be keeping a close eye on how much I’m enjoying myself off track!”
Vitaly Petrov: “I’m really looking forward to visiting America, both for the race but also because it’s my first ever trip to the USA and it’s always been my dream to go to the States. This time I probably won’t get enough time to have a proper look around but I’m definitely going to make sure that when we come back here I have a few clear days to really see what it’s all about.
“I think all the drivers are excited about getting on track. It’s a new challenge and from what I’ve seen in the simulator it could be a really special track. There’s a lot of elevation changes, a few blind corners where it’s going to be tricky to find the apex and quite a lot of the lap is high speed. From what I’ve seen of our schedule the whole weekend is going to be very busy for us - we have a lot of important sponsors in America so it’ll be pretty intense, on and off track, but I think it’ll be one of the best weekends of the year.”
Alexander Rossi, Caterham F1 Team Test Driver: “First it’s obviously fantastic that COTA is bringing F1 back to the US and as I’m a real F1 fan at heart I’m really excited about the race coming to Austin. COTA have done an amazing job on the track. It’s going to be a great challenge for the drivers and they’ve also made sure the whole weekend is worth staying for, not just the sessions on track but the whole event.
“As our team’s Test Driver I know that the main thing is that Austin is a new circuit and the race drivers need as much time as they can on track to prepare for qualifying and the race - as a race driver I’d want exactly the same in their position. For me the weekend will be a great chance to work with our team’s partners and the fans to show them what my world is like. I’m an ambassador for our Premium Partner GE so I’m going to be bringing their guests right into the heart of F1, as well as taking part in events like the FOTA Fans Forum on Wednesday night at the Hilton Hotel in Austin. It’s going to be an incredible week, in the build up to the race and on race day itself, and I’m going to be working hard to help introduce a lot of very important people to our team and F1 as a whole.”