United States Grand Prix Betting

Formula One racing returned to the United States in 2012 after a five-year hiatus, reviving the nation’s long history of participation in F1 World Championship events. When the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) organised the very first F1 season in 1950, the United States was part of the seven country rotation and its storied Indianapolis 500 served as the third leg, won by America’s own Johnnie Parsons.

Despite logistical problems in getting vehicles from Europe to the Indianapolis Motor speedway and back, the track served as the home for FIA’s presence in the United States until 1960. During that period, Italy’s great Alberto Ascari became the first European driver to participate, representing Team Ferrari in 1952, and American Bill Vukovich became the first back-to-back winner in 1953~54.

In 1958, the first “United States Grand Prix for Sports Cars” was held in Riverside, California as an unofficial world championship event. Although the podium was crowded with Americans, the race marked the first serious involvement of European constructors in a major U.S. motor sports event, with Team Porsche driver Jean Behra of France finished fourth. The event would be upgraded by FIA to the ninth and final leg of the 1959 F1 season, conducted at Sebring International Raceway in Florida. That made international participation eve easier, and New Zealand’s Bruce McLaren won the race, trailed by France’s Maurice Trintignant and Great Britain’s Tony Brooks.

In 1960, the third U.S. Grand Prix was staged at Riverside and won by Britain’s Stirling Moss. Joining him on the podium were his teammate Innes Ireland as runner-up and McLaren taking third. No American finished higher than sixth that year. That’s when a decision was taken to create a permanent home for the U.S. Grand Prix, and the site chosen was Watkins Glen at the southern tip of Seneca Lake in upstate New York.

The Watkins Glen International Circuit had been around as an open road course since 1948 and it was made over as a permanent asphalt track in 1956. The 3.78-kilometre circuit featured eight turns and it proved to be a big hit with F1 drivers, especially those from Great Britain, who won the first eight Grand Prix races, starting with Ireland in 1961 and followed by three wins each for Jim Clark (1962, 1966~67) and Graham Hill (1963~65). Jackie Stewart added to the British dominance in 1968, and he would win there once more in 1972 before compatriot James Hunt added two wins of his own in 1976~77.

Between 1981 and 1999, only three editions of the United States Grand Prix were conducted, all of them on the temporary 3.8-kilometre Phoenix Street Circuit in Arizona. The first was won in 1989 by France’s Alain Prost, and the next two were taken by Brazil’s Aryton Senna in 1990~91. However, drivers complained mightily about the course and spectator turn-out was sparse, causing the race to be abandoned in 1993.

It was not until the 2000 F1 season that the U.S. Grand Prix returned to the FIA calendar, with a return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. During eight installments there, Germany’s Michael Schumacher dominated, winning five times in 2000 and 2003~06 on the 4.195-kilometre course. The other winners were Finland’s Mika Häkkinen in 2001, Brazil’s Rubens Barrichello in 2002 and Britain’s Lewis Hamilton in 2007. No American driver reached the podium in any of those years, and when no title sponsor could be found for 2009, the race was dropped from FIA’s line-up.

To bring Formula One back to American soil, a new course was created southeast of Austin, Texas for the 2012 season—the Circuit of The Americas (COTA). When it opened in October, it became the first purpose-built F1 facility in the country, ready for any and all classes of racing. Its signature element is a 20-turn, anticlockwise, 5.513-kilometre Grand Prix circuit, designed by Hermann Tilke in collaboration with American architectural firm HKS.

The 2007 winner Hamilton successfully defended his U.S. Grand Prix title on the new course in 2012 before Germany’s Sebastian Vettel took the checkered flag in 2013. The next showdown near the Texas capital is scheduled for 2 November 2014 as the 17th leg of the 19-race F1 season.

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