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First Circuit of The Americas track president, Steve Sexton, has died

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The first track president and CEO at Circuit of The Americas, Steve Sexton, has died unexpectedly. Circuit of The Americas announced the news in a social media post on Monday evening.

According to the Associated Press, via the Star Tribune, Sexton died at 57 years old in Texas following a brief illness. According to Sexton’s LinkedIn page, he was most recently the managing partner at Loge in Texas.

In a Facebook post, Circuit of The Americas paid tribute to its first track executive, who oversaw the circuit’s construction and initial races.

“It was with profound sorrow that we received the news that Steve Sexton, former President and CEO of Circuit of The Americas, has passed away. As our first executive, Steve guided the Circuit from concept to reality,” the statement read.

“Many of Steve’s friends are still with COTA and proudly carry on the legacy of what he helped create. Steve will always be a part of this family, and his contributions will continue to bring treasured moments to everyone who enjoys the fruits of his labor, both guests and staff alike.”

Photo: Circuit of The Americas
Photo: Circuit of The Americas

Sexton moved to Circuit of The Americas following a long run at Churchill Downs in Kentucky, where he served as executive vice president/president from 2002 through 2010.

He joined COTA in January 2011, prior to the track’s opening ahead of the 2012 United States Grand Prix.

Sexton stepped down from his role at COTA following the 2013 USGP, handing the reins over to Jason Dial. Dial also no longer works with the circuit.

“This was a tough decision for me to make, but the timing is right,” Sexton said at the time in a release. “Our team’s accomplishments in the last three years have been remarkable, and I am very proud and privileged to have worked with a group of experienced and dedicated individuals, who’ve proven time and again that nothing is impossible. Our just-completed Formula 1 United States Grand Prix is further evidence of the exceptional experience that the COTA can deliver.  And to see the way that the City of Austin, Travis County and the State of Texas have embraced our accomplishments is incredibly rewarding

“We’ve done a considerable amount of heavy lifting the past few years, and the time is right for me to pass the executive torch to Jason Dial, who is well positioned to lead COTA into its next chapter.  The enormous effort required to build and launch an internationally renowned company in a matter of months has left little time for anything but work. I’m looking forward to taking a break and spending time with my family who sacrificed a lot while we were fully focused on opening the circuit and putting COTA on a path for long-term success.  I am so proud of the team we’ve assembled and the impact they’ve had in a short amount of time. Big things are on the horizon for Circuit of The Americas, and I am thrilled to have been here to start the COTA story.”

F1 2017 driver review: Romain Grosjean

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Romain Grosjean

Team: Haas
Car No.: 8
Races: 20
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Best Finish: P6 (Austria)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Points: 28
Championship Position: 13th

After leading Haas’ charge through its debut Formula 1 season in 2016, Romain Grosjean once again stepped up as team leader for the American team through its sophomore campaign despite scoring one point fewer.

Haas did not expect any major step in performance heading into 2017, having dealt with building all-new cars for two different sets of regulations, but the team was able to match its season one points total by the halfway mark this time around.

The big boost was the addition of a second points scoring driver – Kevin Magnussen – to partner Grosjean. Grosjean looked increasingly comfortable at Haas even if the car often presented problems, particularly under braking.

Radio rants were frequent, with Grosjean unable to drive around the issues as Magnussen did. But he was nevertheless able to finish the year as Haas’ top scorer, with his highlight moment being a perfect run to sixth in Austria.

Greater consistency was evident from both Grosjean and Haas through 2017, yet there were still swings in form that need to be ironed out in the future. The team was unable to capitalize on Renault and Toro Rosso’s late season difficulties that could have seen it jump to sixth in the constructors’ championship.

Grosjean once again proved himself to be a very competent and talented racer through 2017, but needs a little more panache – perhaps down to the car more than anything – if he is to put himself in the frame for a top-line drive in the future.

Haas continues to offer a good platform, though, and its third season should be its best yet thanks to the stability in the regulations. It will be a real chance for Grosjean to show what he can do.

Season High: A perfect run to sixth in Austria, leading the midfield cars.

Season Low: Crashing early with Ocon in Brazil, hurting Haas’ constructors’ hopes.