Stewart smiles in the States

By Jim Vertuno, AP, 17 November 2012
© Sutton Images/Corbis/AP Images

Count former three-time F1 champion Jackie Stewart among those impressed by the new Circuit of The Americas built for the return of the United States Grand Prix.

"It looks great," Stewart said as he walked the paddock area while wearing a blue plaid cap that matched his plaid pants.

Stewart said he had toured only the track with an elevated view from a helicopter, but said he planned to get a ride around the course on Saturday.

Stewart compared some of the rolling topography and the challenging nature of the course to sections of the old Nurburgring in Germany. The first turn at the Circuit of the Americas is a hairpin left at the top of a 133-foot (41-meter) rise. Two-time defending champion Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull has called the circuit a "fun track."

The Circuit of the Americas is the first facility in the U.S. designed specifically for F1, and the track has won high praise from officials and drivers all week.

"It's the first time the U.S. has had something like this. I'm very impressed," Stewart said.

Stewart said the return of the U.S. Grand Prix makes him optimistic for the future of the sport in the country it left for five years.

"It's a great thing for Austin and for the U.S.," Stewart said.


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