And so begins the true end of the season. The end where ‘minnows’ run out of money, and drivers futures are in question. The coming race, in Austin, Texas at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), takes place over the Halloween weekend. A few things have come to light in the last weeks since Sochi, so I’ll try to address them here.

First on the list is Caterham, who’s physical assets have been confiscated from their factory in Leafield UK. Some older equipment has been removed, as well as what seemed to be some 2014 parts and equipment. The team have been placed in the hands of an administrator, and are hoping for a buyer of some sort.

Second is Marussia, who, although running in second to last place, which will get them certain prize money, has asked to be placed into administration. This is unfortunate as the team has been in a difficult spot since the accident in Suzuka. The owner has poured ~$185 million into the team, and decided that was about enough. While there aren’t people pining to purchase the team, a couple of Brits are close to a potential deal.

Being the second newest track on the F1 calendar, COTA delivers a lot of what the other tracks on the calendar have, but all in one track. A lot of elevation change, and a new slick surface makes for an exciting race. Tyre strategy will come into play this year because they’ve dropped the compounds to medium and soft. Let’s take a look at what Pirelli have to say.

Cota f1friday

Pirelli COTA Preview

As is the case for every automotive manufacturer, America is a key market for Pirelli. So we are very pleased to be heading back to Austin, which is a great city to spend time in as well as a fantastic place to race. With the track surface now three years old, it has become more mature and should theoretically offer better grip than previous years. The medium and soft tyres are expected to put us on track for a two-stop race, although we will have to confirm our projected data after free practice. A lot will depend on the weather. Even though the race takes place in November, warm but variable conditions are still likely, so thermal degradation will be an important factor. How much that influences wear and overall degradation with the new generation of cars this year – and therefore the race strategy – is something we will only find out when we get there. On both previous occasions, the winning strategy has always been a one-stopper: also because the race comes relatively late in the season, by which time most teams have developed a good understanding about how to get the most out of the tyres.Paul Hembery, Pirelli motorsport director
Austin is above all a really exciting circuit for drivers. There are good possibilities to attack and to overtake under braking for Turn 1, and also through the esses, where a number of different lines are possible. Plenty of overtaking opportunities normally ensure a good grand prix; this track is far from boring. The variation in temperatures is another important factor: last 2 years it was definitely cold in the morning, but hot when it came to qualifying. That makes getting the tyre into the right operating window an additional challenge for the drivers and teams in America.Jean Alesi, Pirelli consultant

View of Cota

COTA is a favorite of mine, and I can’t wait to watch the NBCSports coverage. However, it may be bittersweet, considering we are looking at 18 cars on the grid for this race. FOM and the FIA are discussing how the qualifying sessions will work, since Q1 would almost be pointless with 18 cars. I’m interested to find out their solution, and if they make any changes. Join me this weekend with your leftover Halloween candy for the US Grand Prix at COTA.

Track: Circuit of the Americas

About the author

Jeff Trocchio

Apple IIe green screen is whence I came. Where I go, only technology knows. If its Automotive, Mobile, Gaming or Computer tech I'll try my best to give my thoughts on it.