United States GP 2014 Preview: Start Time, TV Times, Weather, Schedule, Odds

Neil James@NeilosJamesFeatured ColumnistOctober 29, 2014

United States GP 2014 Preview: Start Time, TV Times, Weather, Schedule, Odds

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Formula One is in turmoil, and a reduced field of just 18 cars will arrive at Austin, Texas for the 2014 United States Grand Prix.

    Marussia joined Caterham this week in administration, meaning both teams will be absent. The spectre of third cars is looming on the horizon, but they won't be seen in 2014.

    The nine teams that do attend will be greeted by the magnificent Circuit of The Americas, host of the U.S. Grand Prix since 2012. The 20-turn, 5.5-kilometre, purpose-built venue may be one of the new kids on the block, but it already has a strong following among drivers and fans alike.

    Lewis Hamilton takes a 17-point drivers' championship lead into the race, and is one of only two men to have won a grand prix at COTA. Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg will be hoping to add his name to the list on Sunday.

    The title cannot be decided in the States this Sunday, but with only three races to go, every point counts.

    Read on for a full preview of the weekend ahead, including TV times, a circuit map and guide, weather forecast, tyre and DRS information, current standings, odds and session times.

Current Standings

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    Pavel Golovkin/Associated Press

    Lewis Hamilton's cruise to the chequered flag in the dreary Russian Grand Prix saw him extend his world championship lead to 17 points. Nico Rosberg is second, while Daniel Ricciardo remains mathematically in the hunt.

    The current top 10 are:

    PosDriverTeamPoints
    1Lewis HamiltonMercedes291
    2Nico Rosberg Mercedes274
    3Daniel Ricciardo Red Bull199
    4 Valtteri Bottas Williams145
    5Sebastian Vettel Red Bull143
    6Fernando AlonsoFerrari141
    7 Jenson ButtonMcLaren94
    8Nico Hulkenberg Force India76
    9Felipe Massa Williams71
    10Kevin Magnussen McLaren49

    Mercedes clinched the constructors' championship in Russia. Ferrari are in the middle of the best battle herecan they catch Williams, or will McLaren catch them?

    The current standings are:

    PosTeamPoints
    1Mercedes565
    2Red Bull342
    3Williams216
    4Ferrari188
    5McLaren143
    6Force India123
    7 Toro Rosso 29
    8Lotus8
    9Marussia2
    10Sauber0
    11Caterham0

    All data from Formula1.com.

Circuit of The Americas

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    Francesco Betti Sorbelli / Wikimedia Commons

    The Circuit of The Americas is one of the best new tracks of the last 20 years, featuring a wide range of corners along with some quite majestic elevation changes.

    It's a top, top venuebut it's not perfect. The excessive use of red-painted tarmac around the track gives it a rather unattractive quality.

    Perhaps some nice green grass would have been a better choice.

    And the jury remains out on whether the layout is capable of consistently producing good racing.

    One of the grands prix held here was relatively good, with a tense battle for the lead. The other was about as exciting as watching (red) paint dry.

    Hopefully we'll get a good one in 2014.

    Turns 1 and 2

    A lap begins on the pit straight, which immediately begins to slope sharply upwards. At the summit of this 134-foot hill is Turn 1, a very wide and somewhat tricky left-hand hairpin.

    This is one of the two primary overtaking spots on the circuit, but lots of action here is unlikelythe pit straight isn't quite long enough.

    The track drops away steeply at the exit, sweeping downhill through the medium-speed, flat-out right-hander of Turn 2. It then climbs a little at the exit.

    Turns 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9

    The next seven corners link up to form the circuit's best sequence of corners, the exit of each leading into the entry of the next. A mistake in one will result in lost time in the rest, so getting it right here is crucial.

    Turn 3 is a flat-out left-hander taken at around 270 kilometres an hour, before a brief lift through the slightly slower right-hand Turn 4.

    Turn 5, a left, is a touch slower still, and the right-hand Turn 6 is the longest corner in the sequence, requiring a reasonable touch of the brakes as the car heads toward the midway point.

    From there it's back on the throttle, then the brakes again for the sharp but still fairly quick left-hand Turn 7.

    Turn 8 is a much slower right-hander which leads straight into the entry of the quicker Turn 9, another left.

    This in turn sends the cars out onto a short straight.

    At this point, it's worth mentioning for the benefit of circuit geeks (like me) that COTA's opening nine corners are alternating lefts and rights. I can't think of another top level circuit with morecan you?

    Turns 10 and 11

    Heading downhill, the drivers sweep through the flat-out left-hander of Turn 10 and onto another short straight. Overtaking here might be possible if the defending driver got a poor run out of Turn 9, but it's not considered a prime location.

    At the foot of the slope, the track levels out for the braking zone of Turn 11. This left-hand hairpin has an extremely wide entry and brings the cars down to just 75 kilometres an hour.

    This is one of the circuit's most important corners, as it leads out onto the very long back straight.

    Turn 12

    The straight isn't entirely straightit curves ever so slightly to the right all the way along its length—but it's certainly long. 

    The drivers spend a full 13 seconds at full throttle before hitting the brakes for the slow left-hander of Turn 12. Most of the overtaking moves performed in Sunday's race will take place down here, either on the straight or in this heavy braking zone.

    Turns 13, 14 and 15

    The drivers accelerate out of Turn 12 onto a very short straight, then hit the brakes again for another slow corner, this one a right (Turn 13).

    It leads immediately into the quicker right of Turn 14, then the cars pick their line for the very tricky double-left Turn 15. This corner features a quicker first apex followed by a slower second, and we can expect plenty of slightly different approaches through here over the weekend.

    Turns 16, 17 and 18

    A short straight follows, the cars building up speed before swinging into the long, flat-out triple apex right-hander of Turns 16, 17 and 18. Modelled on Turn 8 at Istanbul Park, it isn't quite as impressive as its older brother, but still looks a great corner to drive.

    The track slopes downhill through the third apex, leading out onto a short straight.

    Turns 19 and 20

    Turn 19 is a medium-speed left. It doesn't look like much, but lots of mistakes are made here as the drivers try to shave a tenth or two from their lap times.

    It's very kind in terms of run-off on the outside, so expect the track limits police to be keeping an eye on this corner during qualifying.

    After another short straight comes the final corner, Turn 20. This slow left-hander leads out onto the pit straight, which slopes downhill to the start-finish line and the end of the lap.

    Pit Lane

    The pit lane entry is on the inside at Turn 20, and the exit is on the pit straight before Turn 1.

Tyres and DRS

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    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    The Circuit of The Americas has several long corners which put significant lateral stress through the tyresTurn 6 and the triple-apex corner comprising Turns 16, 17 and 18 stand out.

    Pirelli's race preview picks out the two hairpins, Turns 1 and 11, as also being difficult for the rubber.

    The tyre company is bringing the yellow-marked soft and white-marked medium compound tyres, and expects a two-stop race.

    In previous years the track surface has not been as grippy as one might expect from a permanent facility, but it's now three years old. Pirelli expects noticeable improvements for 2014.

    DRS

    Per the FIA's circuit map, there will be two DRS zones at the United States Grand Prix.

    The first will have its detection point between Turns 10 and 11 and an activation line around a third of the way down the long back straight. It will end with braking for Turn 12.

    The second zone's detection point will be between Turns 18 and 19. The activation point will be just after the exit of Turn 20, and the zone will run the length of the pit straight, ending with braking for Turn 1.

Weather Forecast

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Austin lies in a region with a humid subtropical climate. Summers are hot, winters are mild and rain falls throughout the year. An average late-October day sees temperatures of around 23 degrees Celsius.

    The forecast for the weekend is for broadly average temperatures every day, with a mixture of sunny and partially cloudy conditions.

    Rain is highly unlikely at this stage.

    BBC Weather will have the latest as we get closer to the race.

Odds

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    Mark Thompson/Getty Images

    Lewis Hamilton enters yet another weekend as the favourite. Nico Rosberg is predictably second-favourite, with Valtteri Bottas third.

    Sebastian Vettel's unusually long odds reflect the near-certainty he'll be starting from the pit lane due to a power unit change.

    The Top 10 are:

    Lewis Hamilton11-17
    Nico Rosberg 5-2
    Valtteri Bottas 14-1
    Daniel Ricciardo 18-1
    Felipe Massa 28-1
    Fernando Alonso66-1
    Jenson Button66-1
    Sebastian Vettel 100-1
    Kevin Magnussen 150-1
    Kimi Raikkonen 150-1

    Selected Others

    As Sauber continue to chase their first points of the year, Adrian Sutil is 14-1 to finish in the top 10, with Esteban Gutierrez 16-1. Neither has scored a point in Austin before.

    Both are considered more likely to be first retirement, leading the betting at 8-1. Either of the two Lotus cars is 9-1.

    Lewis Hamilton has scored two hat-tricks (pole, fastest lap and race win) in the last four races, and is 9-4 to repeat the feat this weekend. Nico Rosberg is 17-2, with Valtteri Bottas 66-1.

    And if you're feeling extra lucky, you can get 5,000-1 on any Caterham or Marussia winning the race. They'll be several thousand miles away in the UK when the lights go out on Sunday, so that might be one to skip.

    All odds sourced from Oddschecker.com, and correct at the time of publication.

TV Times and Session Times

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    Elred / Wikimedia Commons

    As always, the United States Grand Prix weekend will consist of three free practice sessions, qualifying and the race.

    Unusually, the weekend will feature a time zone shift, as daylight savings time ends in the United States on Sunday morning. This takes Austin from UTC+5 to UTC+6.

    The session times are as follows:

    SessionDayTime
    Practice OneFriday10 a.m.
    Practice TwoFriday2 p.m.
    Practice ThreeSaturday10 a.m.
    QualifyingSaturday1 p.m.
    RaceSunday2 p.m.

    All times given are Austin local time (CDT, except Sunday which is CST). Formula1.com has a handy one-click tool to convert them to your own time zone.

    TV Times

    In the United Kingdom, live coverage of all sessions will be provided by Sky Sports F1. Their programming times are as follows (all times GMT):

    SessionDaySession StartSky Start
    Practice OneFriday3 p.m.2:45 p.m.
    Practice TwoFriday7 p.m.6:45 p.m.
    Practice ThreeSaturday3 p.m.2:45 p.m.
    QualifyingSaturday6 p.m.5 p.m.
    RaceSunday8 p.m.6:30 p.m.

    The BBC will provide free-to-air highlights (times here).

    In the United States, live coverage of selected sessions will be provided by the NBC Network, with non-live coverage of the others. This marks a break from their usual policy of skipping first and third practices entirely.

    Live coverage of second practice begins at 3 p.m. on Friday (NBCSN), with live qualifying coverage bundled into a broadcast starting at 1 p.m. on NBC (the session starts at 2 p.m.). Live coverage of the race begins with a pre-show from 2 p.m. on NBCSN. This switches to NBC at 2:30 p.m., with the race itself starting at 3 p.m.

    All NBC times given are Eastern Time, and full details of their schedule are available here.

    Enjoy the weekend!

    Follow me on Twitter for occasional updates on new articles, or if you have any F1-related questions or comments.

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