Cumulative results heading into fifth USGP at COTA

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Hard as it is to believe, this year marks the fifth United States Grand Prix at Austin’s Circuit of The Americas.

Lewis Hamilton heads into the weekend needing to secure his fourth win here in five years, having only lost in 2013 when Sebastian Vettel won for Red Bull.

Hamilton, then of McLaren, made a famous pass of Vettel to win in 2012, and then has done the same on Mercedes AMG Petronas teammate Nico Rosberg each of the last two years to win in 2014 and 2015.

Last year’s win sealed his third World Championship. Twelve months later, Hamilton heads to Austin down 33 points to Rosberg with four races remaining – even if he wins out, Rosberg would still win the title if he finished second in each race.

Hamilton has not scored a pole here though. Rosberg’s won the last two, Vettel the first two before the change in formula prior to 2014.

Vettel was in the record books for the furthest back to start at COTA to make it to the points; he came from the pit lane (18th) to seventh for Red Bull in 2014. Last year though, Carlos Sainz Jr. beat that mark by coming from 20th to seventh in the water-logged and heavy attrition race.

Only 10 drivers have competed in every USGP at COTA. They are, with their best finish:

  • Lewis Hamilton (three wins)
  • Nico Rosberg (two second-places)
  • Sebastian Vettel (one win)
  • Felipe Massa (two fourth-places)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (one third-place)
  • Sergio Perez (one fifth-place)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (one sixth-place)
  • Fernando Alonso (one third-place)
  • Jenson Button (one fifth-place)
  • Romain Grosjean (one second-place)

Here’s been the podiums the first four years:

  • 2015: 1-Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2-Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 3-Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari)
  • 2014: 1-Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes), 2-Nico Rosberg (Mercedes), 3-Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull)
  • 2013: 1-Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 2-Romain Grosjean (Lotus), 3-Mark Webber (Red Bull)
  • 2012: 1-Lewis Hamilton (McLaren), 2-Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), 3-Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)

Here’s the cumulative results of all drivers competing in this year’s United States Grand Prix with their records at Circuit of The Americas. Hamilton, of note, also has a win at the previous USGP site in Indianapolis in 2007, a race where Vettel made his Grand Prix debut and scored a point by finishing eighth for BMW Sauber.

Hamilton and Vettel are the only two drivers, additionally, who have scored in every USGP at COTA.

Three drivers – Jolyon Palmer, Esteban Ocon and Pascal Wehrlein – make their USGP debuts.

The grid is ordered below based on 2015 Constructor’s Championship standings, by team.

2015 2014 2013 2012
1 44 Lewis Hamilton GB Mercedes 2 1 2 1 5 4 2 1
2 6 Nico Rosberg GER Mercedes 1 2 1 2 12 9 17 13
3 5 Sebastian Vettel GER Ferrari 13 3 PL 7 1 1 1 2
4 7 Kimi Raikkonen FIN Ferrari 18 16-R 8 13 DNP DNP 4 6
5 19 Felipe Massa BRZ Williams 7 17-R 4 4 13 12 11 4
6 77 Valtteri Bottas FIN Williams 16 19-R 3 5 9 8
7 3 Daniel Ricciardo AUS Red Bull 3 10 5 3 10 11 18 12
8 33 Max Verstappen NED Red Bull 8 4
9 11 Sergio Perez MEX Force India 5 5 11 17-R 7 7 15 11
10 27 Nico Hulkenberg GER Force India 6 14-R 13 16-R 4 6 6 8
11 20 Kevin Magnussen DEN Renault 7 8
12 30 Jolyon Palmer GB Renault First USGP
13 26 Daniil Kvyat RUS Toro Rosso 4 13-R 17 15
14 55 Carlos Sainz Jr. SPN Toro Rosso 20 7
15 9 Marcus Ericsson SWE Sauber 14 15-R DNP DNP
16 12 Felipe Nasr BRZ Sauber 15 9
17 14 Fernando Alonso SPN McLaren 9 11 6 6 6 5 7 3
18 22 Jenson Button GB McLaren 11 6 12 12 15 10 12 5
19 31 Esteban Ocon FRA Manor First USGP
20 94 Pascal Wehrlein GER Manor First USGP
21 8 Romain Grosjean FRA Haas 10 18-R 16 11 3 2 8 7
22 21 Esteban Gutierrez MEX Haas 15 14 20 13

Key: ST-Started, FIN-Finished, R-Retired, PL-Pit Lane, DNP-Did Not Participate but was active in that season

Here’s the team breakdown of every USGP result at COTA since 2012. Haas, of course, makes its debut this year.

Eight of 10 teams scored here last year, the only exceptions being Williams and Manor. This race also marks Sauber’s most recent points scoring appearance, with Felipe Nasr having come ninth last year.

A funny statistical quirk is that the grid size has not been the same in successive USGPs at COTA since it started. There were 24 cars in 2012, then 22 in 2013, down to 18 in 2014 with Manor and Caterham absent, then back to 20 last year with Manor’s return, and back to 22 this year with Haas’ arrival.

Teams that have scored at the USGP at COTA every year are:

  • Ferrari
  • Red Bull
  • Renault (as Lotus)
  • McLaren

Finishing results are below:

2015 2014 2013 2012
Car 1 Car 2 Car 1 Car 2 Car 1 Car 2 Car 1 Car 2
Mercedes 1 2 1 2 4 9 13 16
Ferrari 3 16-R 6 13 5 12 3 4
Williams 17-R 19-R 4 5 8 17 9 10
Red Bull 10 13-R 3 7 1 3 2 23-R
Force India 5 14-R 16-R 17-R 15 22-R 8 15
Renault 8 18-R 9 11 2 14 6 7
Toro Rosso 7 13-R 10 15 11 16 12 24-R
Sauber 9 15-R 14 18-R 6 13 11 14
McLaren 6 11 8 12 7 10 1 5
Manor 12 20-R DNP DNP 18 21 19 20

Ford Mustang GT3 test has Austin Cindric dreaming of Daytona: ‘I want to drive that car’

Cindric Ford GT3 test
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Austin Cindric wasn’t the “mystery” test driver behind the wheel of the new Ford Mustang GT3 at Sebring International Raceway, but the Team Penske driver desperately wanted to be.

Ford CEO Jim Farley, an amateur sports car driver himself, made the big reveal via a Tuesday tweet that provided the first video evidence of the GT3 Mustang on track.

“I’ve watched the video in question about a million times,” Cindric said Wednesday during a Ford Performance Zoom news conference to promote NASCAR’s first road course weekend of the season at Circuit of the Americas. “Definitely exciting times for sure. I want to drive that car. It suits my experience level and also the relationships that I have.”

Ford will enter the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next season with its GT3 Mustang, entering a two-car factory effort (that will be managed by Multimatic) in GTD Pro and making customer cars available in the GT Daytona category.

That increases the likelihood of seeing more NASCAR drivers crossing over to IMSA. Cindric has been the only full-time Cup driver in the Rolex 24 at Daytona the past two years, but Ford Performance global director Mark Rushbrook has said the GT3 Mustang will provide more opportunities.

Ford has used its GT4 Mustang as a NASCAR driver development tool in the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge with Harrison Burton and Zane Smith combining to win the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in January.

“We’re excited about the Next Gen car and the new architecture there and the similarities between that car and GT3 and even GT4 cars,” Rushbrook said at the announcement of the Ford GT3 program in January 2022 at Daytona. “We think it’s a great opportunity and to do be able to do that in a 24-hour race and get NASCAR drivers even more time is something we need to consider taking advantage of that opportunity.”

Given his sports car background, Cindric probably still would be in the Rolex 24 regardless. He has eight IMSA starts since the 2017 season opener at Daytona, racing a Lexus RCF GT3 and Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT category. The 2022 Daytona 500 winner made his second LMP2 start this year with Rick Ware Racing.

But Cindric’s preference naturally would be in a Ford, particularly with sports car racing enjoying convergence and crossovers in both GT and prototype racing.

“It’s an exciting time in GT racing, just as it is now for prototype racing with a lot of new regulations and manufacturers building new GT3 cars,” he said. “And also the opportunity with WEC (the World Endurance Championship) and Le Mans and how that all lines up for that category of car. It’s definitely an exciting time. I want to be as much of a part of that as possible.”

Though those odds seemingly will increase with multiple Ford entries in the Rolex 24 field next year, Cindric said NASCAR drivers still have to put in the networking to land rides as he has in recent years.

“Now how (the GT3 Mustang) relates to specifically NASCAR drivers and how often they want to be in the Rolex, could it be an influence? Absolutely, as far as the tie-in with the manufacturer,” Cindric said. “But the challenge and the drive and the logistics of getting an opportunity for a race like the Rolex 24 will be just as challenging as it always is to find your one-off ride for the race. At least from my experience, that’s what I still anticipate.”

It turned out the “mystery” test driver wasn’t from NASCAR (Farley revealed the driver to be 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Joey Hand after a fan asked whether it was Joey Logano).

But Cindric believes there could be more Cup drivers — and perhaps himself — behind the wheel of Mustang GT3s in the future.

“There’s definitely more of a pathway than I think there would be before as far as Ford drivers are concerned,” he said. “Hopefully, I’ll get the opportunity to drive that thing. It’s obviously a great looking car. That’s the first box you’ve got to check. And it’s cool (to have) a guy like Jim Farley, no doubt he’s a racer just as much as he is steering the ship for Ford. It’s cool to see he’s just as excited as the rest of us about it.”