F1 hopes for happy US return
BORN IN THE USA: Work continues at the Circuit of the Americas race track, ahead of the 2012 November 18 race.
AUSTIN, Texas - The eyes of the motor racing world will be on Texas as Formula 1 makes its return to the USA. It's unclear if Americans will be watching, even with a driver's championship on the line.
The stage has been set for a November 18 race of high-drama worthy of a Hollywood Western as Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari's Fernando Alonso engage in a motorsport version of the gunfight at the OK Corral.
The penultimate race in 2012, could well be decided at the new R3.5-billion Circuit of the Americas in Texas. F1 will try to establish a presence in the US following a five-year absence.
'BEST F1 IN A LONG TIME'
Vettel, who will be making his 100th career start in Austin, will have an opportunity to complete a hat-trick of titles at the US Grand Prix and join Juan Manuel Fangio and Michael Schumacher as the only drivers to win three titles in a row.
Vettel said: "I think we were not always fast enough this year but for the last couple of races we were, so looking forward to the next two races.
"The fans got the best F1 for a long time. I personally would have loved it to be a little bit more boring at some stages. The tyres keep results up in the air until the very last metres of the race. When you are in the hunt you still can turn it around - and when you are in the lead you can still lose it."
A 27th career win in his Red Bull would tie Vettel with Jackie Stewart on the all-time wins list but it still may not be enough to clinch a championship.
Vettel, who tops the standings with 255 points to Alonso's 245, must finish the race with 15 more points than his rival, which can be produced by any combinations of results.
A sixth victory of the season would give Vettel the title if Alonso places outside the top four. Should Alonso fail to score a point, Vettel must still finish in third.
Alonso has stood on the top step of the podium three times in 2012 and will be determined to take the championship down to the final race in Brazil. Alonso could tie for fourth on the all-time win list alongside former-champion Nigel Mansell by notching his 31st career victory.
Alonso said: "I am confident, we will fight until the end. We are not fast enough, this is true and we are honest with ourselves, we know this. We need to accept this.
"We have some strong points which we will try to use," he said.
NASCAR IS KING
For many Americans, Vettel and Alonso could be involved in any sport and there's a good reason their names are not familiar.
There has not been an F1 race in the US since 2007 (Indianapolis Motor Speedway) and there will be no Americans on the starting grid.
While the November 18 race could be the pinnacle of the F1 season, Americans motorsport fans do not view the US Grand Prix with as much anticipation.
In Texas, Nascar is king and it is likely more eyeballs and television remotes will be focused on Homestead, Florida where the Chase championship will also be decided.