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Romain Grosjean chronicles arrival in Texas for U.S. Grand Prix

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Formula One returns to Austin, Texas this weekend for the fourth United States Grand Prix at the Circuit of the America’s.

The series’ drivers have been arriving in the Lone Star State throughout the week. Among them is Lotus driver Romain Grosjean, who chronicled his arrival in the U.S. and then Texas on Twitter.

Grosjean admits that Austin is the only area of the US that he’s familiar with. That comes from his annual visit for the F1 race. He’ll likely be much more familiar with the country soon as he joins the US based team owned by Gene Haas in 2016.

“(The Circuit of the Americas) looks great and the first time I walked around it in 2012 I thought wow! The gradient up to Turn 1 is really something and it makes for a fun first corner when you’re in the car,” Grosjean said in a release. “It’s a really well-presented facility with an interesting circuit layout. It’s great to be at a race where the local character is very evident and that’s certainly the case in Austin, with the fan reception and the American way of presenting events.”

Grosjean, a native of France, will be competing in his fourth US Grand Prix in Austin, all of which have been with Lotus. In his first three starts, his best finish was second in 2013.

Last year, Grosjean started 16th and improved to 11th by race’s end. Grosjean has finished in the top 10 only once in the last four races. His only podium of the year came in Belgium.

“It’s quite a balanced circuit in that you don’t need one particular thing over another for the car to perform well,” Grosjean said. “In the first year the challenge was finding the level of grip we want and we did see the same for the past two races too.

“Every year so far the race has taken place a little earlier, and that’s good as it generally means warmer weather. This is good for many reasons, but wearing my race driving hat it’s good as it helps with tyre warm-up and grip. Grip is something we’ve struggled with in Austin in the past, so a warmer circuit with a bit more aged track surface should help with that.”

Morris Nunn, former IndyCar and F1 engineer, team owner dies at 79

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Morris Nunn, a former Formula 1 team owner and a prominent fixture in the American Open Wheel Racing scene through the 1990s and the early 2000s, died at 79 on Wednesday after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Nunn’s career in racing spans both sides of the Atlantic. He started in the 1960s as a driver before shifting his attention toward the mechanical side of the sport. He then founded a Formula 1 effort, dubbed Ensign Racing, which competed in over 100 F1 races between 1973 and 1982 – the team had a best result of fourth.

However, Nunn may be best known in the U.S. for his exploits in American Open Wheel Racing. He crossed the pond after closing the Ensign outfit in 1982, and was a part of the Patrick Racing team that won the 1989 Indianapolis 500 with Emerson Fittipaldi.

He moved to Chip Ganassi Racing in the 1990s, where he perhaps achieved the bulk of his success. He worked with Alex Zanardi as both his crew chief and engineer during Zanardi’s tenure from 1996 to 1998, and the combination saw Zanardi take Rookie of the Year Honors in ’96, followed by a pair of championships in ’97 and ’98 in the old CART series.

31 May 1997: Alex Zanardi (left) of Italy talks to Mo Nunn , engineer for the Target Ganassi Racing Team, at The Milwaukee Mile in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Nunn also won the 1999 championship with then CART rookie Juan Pablo Montoya.

In 2000, he formed his own team, Mo Nunn Racing, with driver Tony Kanaan – Bryan Herta also contested a trio of events for Nunn that year after Kanaan suffered an injury – and the outfit grew to two cars in 2001, with Zanardi competing alongside Kanaan.

Nunn also ventured into the series that is now called the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2002, fielding an entry for Felipe Giaffone. They went on to win one race that year (Kentucky Speedway) and Nunn’s outfit won another in 2003, with Alex Barron at Michigan International Speedway.

Nunn was a popular and highly regarded figure in the paddock, and a number of people in the racing world took to social media to offer condolences and tributes.

IndyCar on NBC’s Robin Miller offered this detailed look at Nunn’s life in the sport on RACER.com, covering the origins of his career and the impact he had on such drivers as Zanardi and Montoya.

Nunn was 79 years of age at the time of his passing.

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