Moto GP riders complain F1 cars make tracks too bumpy

2017 F1 season

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Formula One cars are creating problems for Moto GP riders by making circuits too bumpy, according to riders.

The downforce produced by F1 cars has increased due to the new regulations for 2017. The power exerted by the cars on the track can disturb the asphalt in places where peak loads are generated, such as in braking zones. This can create bumps and cause an effect known as ‘washboarding’.

Following its most recent race at Silverstone, which F1 visited in June, Honda’s Dani Pedrosa reported “we have more bumps compared to last year.”

F1’s downforce levels have made tracks bumpier
“It’s a bumpy track and again we will ask to re-asphalt all the circuit because it’s one of the worst on the calendar.”

“Silverstone is a great track but for the future, I remember last year asking, if we continue here, to resurface because it’s really bumpy. We have the problem that we race with Formula One also.”

“It’s necessary to resurface, we were discussing that. But we don’t know how long it will last with a good surface, because we still share the track with Formula One.”

Cal Crutchlow said they also experienced the problem at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria.

“With the downforce of these Formula One cars, Spielberg was a joke,” he said. “You can’t imagine, even on the straight the thing was vibrating and bouncing.”

“It was worse than last year, and on a lot of the off-camber corners it was a lot worse, so it means the Tarmac’s been pushed because of the cars.”

“They’ve resurfaced a couple of corners [at Silverstone] and they were a lot better, so how about we resurface the whole track? It’d be a lot easier for all of us. The problem is that wherever we share a track with F1 the tracks are bumpy within a year, so I understand the concerns of the organisers.”

The premier worldwide series for four and two wheels share five venues on their current calendars: the Circuit of the Americas in the USA, Circuit de Catalunya in Spain, Red Bull Ring in Austria, Silverstone in Britain and Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia. However the latter does not feature on the 2018 F1 calendar.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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30 comments on “Moto GP riders complain F1 cars make tracks too bumpy”

  1. Assuming it’s the planks/skid blocks producing the bumps?

    1. it’s the complete weight of the car with all the downforce, i’m guessing. it’s akin to an articulated lorry pounding about the circuit

      1. Exactly

      2. It’s both the vertical and horizontal forces applied to the surface by the tyres. Imagine pressing your hand onto a bed sheet, a blanket or anything like that and then running your hand in any direction – you will fold that piece of material, right?
        The same happens with the asphalt surface. The cars are literally pushing it to fold. The larger the downward force (due to car weight and downforce), the more horizontal folding force is applied generated by braking the car (pushing the asphalt forward), accelerating the car (pushing the asphalt backward) and the centrifugal force (pushing the asphalt to the outside of the corner when turning).

        With the speed and grip of the cars, asphalt might just be too malleable. Especially the higher the temperature.
        They should either improve the technology or perhaps consider using concrete.

    2. Blah blah. It’s only the old Silverstone they were complaining. Johnny Rea said the new sections are smooth.

  2. I am surprised that an F1 weekend can do that much damage to a track. 3 practice sessions, qualifying and a race multiplied by 20 cars can only be around 5-6,000 laps I would estimate,

    An F1 car plus fuel is a little over 800kg, with downforce that’s an effective load of 2-2.5 tonnes, so about that of a 4×4 or van. I know F1 tyres are stickier, but when you consider the amount of traffic roads see from vehicles placing considerably more load through their surfaces it seems crazy that an F1 weekend can cause so much damage.

    1. @philipgb that’s just static weight. Consider the dynamic portion aswell. A normal road can last years with lorries running over it, but an F1 car does 4 or 5 times that speed.

      Plus, a normal road does not suffer the longitudinal forces of acceleration and braking an F1 car generates. The road gets hot, and it sort of melts. Couple that with those huge forces and you get a sort of “finger-over-donut-dough” kind of thing… Plus you don’t even let the tarmac to rest a little…

      1. a road would have to be engineered to basically hold the vertical weight of a lorry which is pretty simple. Race tracks would have to deal with the cars pushing the asphalt sideways in the turns or pulling or pushing it in the brake zones.

        Still would be surprised if a single weekend would do enough to make a noticeable difference. If an F1 weekend made it unusable, think what a 24hr race with twice and many sports cars. Not as much force individually, but a lot more of them and a lot more laps turned.

        1. Silverstone has one of those as well, plus several sportscar races of substantial length. They’ve mostly increased in downforce too. Cumulative effect is the issue here.

          It doesn’t really explain Spielberg though.

    2. Remember Monaco this year…

    3. with downforce that’s an effective load of 2-2.5 tonnes

      So by basic math, knowing that braking G-forces exceed 6G this year, that’s 12-15 tonnes of longitudonal force applied to the asphalt, right?

  3. Michael Brown (@)
    7th September 2017, 22:57

    Makes me think that there’s a difference in the tarmac or the land it’s placed on, but surely it’s not that (if at all) different from normal roads.

    Though the Shanghai circuit was partially constructed over a swamp, leading to sinking.

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      7th September 2017, 22:58

      Meant for @philipgb

  4. This is a good point, however I wonder if it’s the braking forces going into a corner that are the problem. F1 cars brake with a force of around 5G. This braking force has to be transferred into and through the pavement.

  5. Fine with me, so go race your motogp somewhere else. You wont have the bumps and i won’t have to deal With every track becoming a parkinglot because boohoo gravel is dangerous for bikes. Give me back propper tracklimits and You can keep Phillip Island in all its Glory for yourselves.

    1. You have no clue. It’s 100% the opposite, Motogp wants gravel traps to slow the bikes and riders down when they crash it’s F1 that wants the parking lot for “safety”. You should just stick to being wrong about F1 in the future since Motogp is not your thing.

      1. Well Bart83, motogp don’t want gravel either, they don’t like grave rash, generally, motogp don’t want tracks with chicanes or s shaped corners because of the risk of somebody getting ran over.

          1. Bart83 is correct. MotoGP riders have been asking for gravel traps and runoffs for a long time now. Case in point. Kevin Schwantz was involved with designing Circuit of the Americas….specifically for motorcycle racing. There was a lot of issues with the corners this year due to the damage f1 does to the surface. As for the ignorant comment that MotoGP “go somewhere else”…well, unless you’re going to pay for the overhead it requires to run and maintain a world class track, I suggest you get used to f1 and MotoGP sharing tracks. A track can’t stay open if it limits itself to only a few events a year.

          2. In Austria, Spielberg is the only game in town, but Donington Park was hosting MotoGP quite successfully until Silverstone took it (to enable Donington to make its disastrous attempt to secure the F1 race).

  6. I have noticed over the years is that the quality of the tracks varies widely, there does not seem to be a standard or a policing of a standard. It is expensive to maintain a race track but F1 is a major sporting event as are the GP bikes. I think it only fair that F1 contributes a bit more to improve and maintain the tracks as they would cause more wear and tear than the bikes.

  7. The f1 car is not the problem. Tue problem is the tarmac itself. They need to make it less oily and more stony and hard. Oily asphalt cannot support itself well especially when you dont allow it to age properly before you start running cars on it.

  8. F1 needs to get back to its dirt track roots. And MotoGP needs to get back to its motocross roots. And I need to get back to thinking before posting.

  9. Easier said than done, but such dual-use circuits should probably offer separate tracks for two-wheeled and four-wheeled categories. Not just a shared stretch and a separate bit to shorten the track for bikes, but one inside the other.

    That could mean that the track for cars can go back to having punishing run-offs without worrying about injuring riders.

  10. bloody cyclists..

  11. You should see the braking bumps on motocross tracks ;D

  12. Ooh I thought it was MotoGp who were the tough guys. Appears traction control has made Divas out of them as well. Grow some. or Go somewhere else. #BleatingMillenials

  13. I only watch for the bumpy crashes.

  14. An intersting article

  15. Earlier this year I posted an article where the owner’s of the circuit in Austin said that the F1 cars running after a heavy rain caused the gravel under the circuit to move. Seems the circuit designers need to go back and review their figures.

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