Dallas: Who will fall first? - Driver, Car or the Track
Formula 1 returned to the United States last year with the race being held in Austin. And what a success it was, with an excellent duel between Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel. Both the track layout and the on-track battle was a big and much needed improvement over previous races in the States.
Talking of races held in the USA, not one, not two but as many as nine different tracks- including Austin- have hosted a Formula 1 race. Unfortunately, not even nine of the 40 odd races held there have been close to spectacular.
One lucky circuit among those is Fair Park in Dallas which held one of the most memorable races of all time. The 1984 season had two races in the States- one in Detroit and the other in Dallas. Sadly for the fans in Dallas, that would be the only time they would see F1 cars revving up on the streets of the city.
Now this was not like those other races which would fall off the calendar due to some race fee disagreements or the track being unsafe due to close proximity of the barriers or dangerous corners. This was due to something relatively unheard of- heat. Mind you, no ordinary heat- ambient temperatures searing up to a sizzling 40 degrees celsius. Add the extra 10-15 degrees due to the heat inside the cockpit and the multi-layered racing suits, and it becomes mind-boggling how the drivers managed to keep their cool for 1.5 hours straight in more than 5o degrees Celsius.
Not only did the heat have a detrimental effect on the state of mind of the drivers, it also had an adverse effect on the asphalt. With the temperatures having been high throughout the weekend, on Sunday the track started cracking in various areas seriously compromising the safety of the car and the driver.
There were calls for cancelling the race but as usual, Bernie Ecclestone was having none of that. It all turned out to be a storm in the teacup in the end and the weekend progressed as normal.
Drama was not going to end with only the heat though. With the temperatures having increased from Friday to Saturday, seven drivers opted to not even venture out on Saturday, but did line up on the grid in decent positions. Confused? How come drivers not running on Saturday but still not relegated to the back of the grid?