Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Silverstone, 2018

Silverstone may need another new surface to fix F1’s “micro-bumps” problem

2018 British Grand Prix

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Silverstone may have to be resurfaced again to ease the bumps which several Formula 1 drivers complained about during last weekend’s British Grand Prix.

A new surface was laid at the circuit ahead of this year’s race following complaints from Moto GP riders that the surface had become too bumpy. However several F1 drivers claimed the new surface had made the problem worse.

Lewis Hamilton said “the people they hired did the worst job ever” after driving the track on Friday and compared the surface to the Nurburgring Nordschleife. While Fernando Alonso claimed the track was no worse than last year, most drivers commented on the severity of the bumps.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting said he passed their remarks on to Silverstone and said the track’s “unusual” surface may require some attention.

“You can see lots of little patches on the Hangar straight, for example, where you can see cars have been bottoming. It’s quite unusual. They’re small, they seem like micro-bumps, almost, but there are lots of them.”

The high downforce produced by F1 cars can worsen bumps in a track’s surface. The sets FIA rules determining how smooth a track must be. Any bumps must not exceed a maximum of 3mm of deviation per 4m of track. Silverstone will be inspected again before F1’s next race, said Whiting.

“It needs to be checked to see exactly what the situation is,” said Whiting. “If it needs doing then it will have to be resurfaced I would think. But then it’s up to the circuit to do that.”

However car and bike racers who drove the circuit prior to last weekend’s race did not report any problems, Whiting added.

“Everyone that’s driven on the track, according to the guys here at Silverstone, has said the surface appears to be fine. One of the Moto GP riders rode on it, Cal Crutchlow I believe, [and] he said it was much better than it was before. Bearing in mind that it was done for Moto GP because they didn’t want to race here again if it wasn’t resurfaced.”

Silverstone’s Moto GP race takes place on August 26th.

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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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  • 19 comments on “Silverstone may need another new surface to fix F1’s “micro-bumps” problem”

    1. Interesting. I ran the track in May, and also the previous two Mays, and it didn’t seem to be any bumpier this year than on the other two occasions. Of course, runners and F1 drivers notice the bumps differently…

      1. Sush meerkat
        12th July 2018, 12:56

        How much downforce do your Nike Air Jordan’s generate?

        1. They’re going to have to weld the manhole covers down for the next London Marathon.

      2. Which shoe compound were you using?

      3. Did you bottom out on the straights?

    2. Why dont they acknowledge the bumps as a unique challenge of the track for drivers? Have the drivers become so specialized that they can only race one way?

      1. Jonathan Parkin
        12th July 2018, 12:52

        Yes probably!

        It’s also the reason possibly why Monaco has got rather soporific lately. Apparently according to something I read, they’ve been taking out the ‘street’ part of street circuit over the last several years

    3. Just deal with the bumps. Raise the ride height and compromise on performance, or don’t. So much pampering. We’re not talking Dallas here. Absolute garbage, get on and drive to the circuit that’s given to you.

      1. Agreed @john-h

        Kinda like “these tires are destroyed!”. How about making more pit stops?

        1. What do you mean not every race is a 1stopper?

    4. Very sensible move. I hate watching racing cars moving about and stuff. Very very sensible.

      Excitement is so overated.

    5. They ought to try racing somewhere like Sebring if they think that Silverstone is too bumpy!

    6. I’d say resurface it only if it causes actual problems for Moto GP. And let the F1 drivers cope with the track – we keep hearing of how these cars have improved mechanical and aero grip, so stray bumps should only be viewed as part of the natural counterbalance.

    7. How’s that gonna work money-wise? Surely resurfacing a track must cost a fortune and if you have to do it twice in two years knowing that it’s going to get ruined again anyway after next year’s race, how’s that going to affect the organizers?

      In a way, i don’t get why can’t teams and drivers deal with the bumps. A racing car should be able to cope with every condition… It wasn’t long ago that drivers didn’t even have power steering and had a lot less forgiving suspensions and worse tracks. Surely these guys would be up to the task.

    8. Every road construction worker would tell that resurfacing was not solution of bumpy road. It’s about soil mechanics. They need to enforced the very bottom of track structure.

      1. @ruliemaulana: That’s very good news. Liberty is keen on the race to the bottom.

    9. I walked the track after the race on Sunday and some of the track was coming up especially at Village. There was lots of loose chipping exactly where Lewis came off and the road was damaged. Took some a couple photos.

    10. It is interesting to note that Will Power the current Indy 500 champion recently said that he likes to compete on a bumpy track because the bumps are one more challenge to which the drivers must adjust with the better drivers adjusting better .
      F1 drivers seem to want easy tracks with their cars pinned to the track so that the car does the bulk of the work .
      This does seem to point out a major difference between the two circuits . F1 dominated and controlled by the constructors’ skill and ( mostly ) budget and Indycar dominated and controlled more by the drivers’ skill and determination.
      This gives the viewers a choice : car or driver .
      There is no question but, that F1 cars are more impressive but, it seems more clear each day that the Indycar drivers are as good or better than their F1 counterparts and the Indycar drivers need to work harder ,compete more and certainly risk more while ,for the most part, getting paid less .
      To paraphrase : “… don’t let your children grow up to be Indycar drivers … “.

    11. Heartlys suspension collapse could have been attributed to a bump causing the suspension to shatter under load and hitting a bump. Surely the smother the track the less chance of a car experiencing any for of problem, no good locking the door when the horse has bolted.

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