Formula 1 kicks off its Americas leg with the 2023 United States Grand Prix, with a second consecutive sprint weekend at an Austin track that’s already produced plenty of classic races since joining the calendar in 2012.
It’s going to be another hot weekend at the Circuit of the Americas, but one that will almost certainly feel mild after the searing conditions of the Qatar GP just a fortnight ago.
Temperatures are set to hit at least 32 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) on all three days, but despite wind speed in the double-figures across the weekend drivers shouldn’t face anything like the gusty problems they faced at the Losail International Circuit.
Though Max Verstappen and Red Bull have wrapped up both championships there’s still plenty to play for with the race for second still on, a podium fight involving up to half the grid and the return of adopted home driver Daniel Ricciardo from injury.
Friday: Practice 1 & Qualifying
Temperatures will actually peak on Friday, at 34°C when qualifying starts. However, humidity is going to be below 30% throughout track time,
The ridiculously sized Texas state flag has become an icon of the grand prix and fans should have plenty of chance to admire it, with winds of above 10 mph for most of the day.
Though the track’s most memorable feature is the Everest-like ascent to turn 1, the surrounding land is flat so the wind really gusts in across the plains so expect to see drivers caught out especially given they’ll only have an hour of free practice before qualifying.
But will any of this stop Max Verstappen taking his 11th pole position of the season? Probably not, qualifying starts at 4pm local time.
Saturday: Sprint Shootout & Sprint
It’s unusual to see the Circuit of the Americas not bathed in sunlight when F1‘s in town, but that’ll likely be the case for at least parts of Saturday, with cloud predicted for much of the afternoon.
The sprint shootout starting just after midday will take place in positive Baltic temperatures of ‘only’ 27°C, while that number will have risen by five or so come the sprint race later at 5pm.
Aside from that, wind speed will have picked up slightly but humidity remains low despite the cloud cover.
The sun should be back come lights out at 2pm, with temperatures again set to hit 90 Fahrenheit. Wind speed will have picked up again, but by this point drivers will have had four sessions to figure out the Circuit of Americas and ironed out any issues.
Humidity could be up to 50% but still nothing on Singapore-levels, so it’s really the perfect conditions for fans in the grandstands to work on their tans for one of the last times before winter hits.
There’s been five different winners in ten races in Austin (bonus points if you can name them all), will we see a new victor this weekend? And most importantly, will the podium Stetsons return?