The Formula 1 world championship has arrived at the Austin Circuit in the Americas, the home of the United States Grand Prix, the 19th and fifth last round of the season.

For the first time in its history, it will also host the sprint-race (scheduled for Saturday at midnight, Italian time, editor’s note, the GP will start at 9.00pm Sunday), which will be preceded by only one hour of free practice and the Shootout qualifying.

Pirelli, which has available to the teams the C2-C3 and C4 compounds, has drawn the attention to the asphalt detached from the track which could cause problems of anomalous overheating of the tyres. One more variable to be considered in the strategies.

With the drivers’ and the constructors’ titles in the hands of Max Verstappen and Red Bull respectively, all the attention is focussed on the duels between Mercedes-Ferrari and Aston Martin-McLaren. Amongst the four the team from Woking is the one passing through the best moment and is only twenty-one points from fourth place. An objective that is not so hard to reach also considering that Aston Martin is fighting with only one driver, Fernando Alonso.

Ferrari will not bring anything new, having decided to block the development t of the SF-23. The direct challenge with Hamilton and Russell must be based solely on the strategies and the correct set up of the car.

In recent days the rumours about the future of Sergio Perez have taken the stage. Currently the Mexican is not experiencing one of his best moments, but the results on the track do not represent his true potential.

He must find his peace of mind and the statements by Helmut Marko have certainly not helped him in this sense. At the moment second place in the world championship does not seem to be at risk, but he will have to be careful not to make mistakes. From here to Abu Dhabi there are still many points at stake and Lewis Hamilton is only 30 points away. Losing second place would be the equivalent of a debacle.

Gian Carlo Minardi