The Circuit of the Americas (Cota) has been given the green light to stage this year's United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas, in November. The 5.5km (3.4-mile) track and the pit and paddock buildings were described as "fantastic" as FIA race director Charlie Whiting awarded Cota "Grade One" status, allowing it to stage grands prix.
Alonso's first lap retirement from the race sure changes the complexion of the championship hunt. I had envisioned Alonso continuing to score at least several points per race through the remainder of the season thus requiring Vettel to win these races in order to close the points gap. But following the Japanese GP Vettel's points deficit behind Alonso has now shrunk to just 4 points. It's a whole new season for these two drivers now that a change in fortunes has all but erased Alonso's lead. Weber and Kimi may feel some new hope too. It will be exciting to see what happens next.
Even though I've never been a big Kobayashi admirer in the past, I was very impressed by his Suzuka drive. Talk about stepping up your game when it counts! The Japanese F1 fans enjoyed a very rare and special treat in seeing their countryman stand on the podium at his home venue. And like Massa, some amount of benefit with regard to his future employment prospects may have been achieved by finishing so well. Time will tell on that score but it was an impressive accomplishment for both drivers and their respective teams.
Grosjean involved in another first turn melee? Really? Though this time it seemed the contact recipient Weber may have checked up more quickly than was reasonably predictable. Looking at the in-car video, I'm not sure how much the Frenchman got it wrong this time. In any case he was assessed and served a penalty over the incident regardless! Maybe a case of past actions influencing how the incident was judged by the stewards? In any event said stewards have appeared to be rather busy with the issuance of penalties lately.
It may indeed come down to the final race of the season.