I was reading a piece at F1Blog today about the history of the US GP and THAT 2005 race at Indy and felt that I had to make a comment on the recent history of F1 in the USA. It was the first time that I have bought into the hype of combing over the past failed attempts of F1 to break into America and as such I thought that I would share my distinct memories of F1 at the Indy circuit and before that at Phoenix in '90/'91, which are those US GP's which have taken place while I have been watching.
The first US GP to take place that I remember watching was the Season opener in Phoenix in 1990. I may have seen the '89 race but if I did I can't remember it.
Only two distinct memories of the race weekend come to mind when I think back; the first being Jean Alesi showing how brilliantly he could drive a car, the second was the lasting impression of a Minardi on the front row of the grid. This race is probably why I put Alesi down as my favourite driver and Ken Tyrell as one of the great constructors. Rain during qualifying made for a topsy turvey grid which allowed Alesi to put the Tyrell on the second row.
I've found the highlights on youtube which pretty much reflect my memories of the race. It's only 1m30s long but incorporates that moment when Senna, having overtaken Alesi into the corner, arrives at the next corner to find the Tyrell on the inside line retaking the lead. The next lap Senna made the same manoeuvre at the same corner and this time held the lead, just, three corners later.
The video shows a lovely shot of Ken Tyrell chuckling to himself, no doubt thinking how furious Ayrton would have been that Jean would have the temerity to attempt to hold the position. This is Alesi announcing his arrival in F1, much as Monaco in '84 did the same for Senna.