Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2021

Bumps at COTA don’t affect F1 cars like Moto GP bikes, says circuit chairman

2021 United States Grand Prix

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The bumps at the Circuit of the Americas are not a concern for Formula 1 drivers as they were for Moto GP riders, according to the track’s chairman.

Bobby Epstein told RaceFans he has no concerns over COTA’s surface for this weekend’s F1 race, despite several Moto GP riders complaining about its bumps when they raced at the circuit.

“Those bumps don’t affect the cars,” said Epstein. “They’re in a different racing line and they don’t have the same effect as they do on a short chassis bike. So that’s the first thing, this wouldn’t have affected [F1].

“But there have been changes done since Moto GP in two spots. The FIA came and checked the circuit and said they would prefer that this part of the circuit be modified a little bit.

“So we did some grinding in the two areas that were of concern. And I think you’ll hear from the drivers that the track’s in great shape.”

Epstein doesn’t expect further work will be needed on the track, saying the FIA “haven’t told us anything”. The circuit has dealt with all problems which have been identified previously, he added.

“In 2020 there was concern about the back straight, the longest three-quarters of a mile area, and we resurfaced that,” he explained. “That [old surface] lasted nine years, so I hope in nine years, if we have that same conversation, we’ll fix it then.”

Drivers and team members gave mixed views on the state of the track when they drove it for the first time yesterday. Ferrari’s sporting director Laurent Mekies said the bumps were much worse than when F1 last visited the track in 2019.

However Alfa Romeo team principal Frederic Vasseur said the track condition wasn’t as bad as F1 teams had feared. “Everybody was expecting something very, very bumpy and it was just bumpy,” Vasseur said. “So not too bad.”

Vasseur admitted “after the Moto GP I was a bit more worried” but the repairs conducted since had been effective. Although some bumps remain, Vasseur said they are “not at the same place and not the same bumps”.

But the team’s driver Antonio Giovinazzi said the circuit did not appear to have changed dramatically since F1 last raced at it two years ago.

“I think the bump situation is pretty similar to 2019, still in some corners [it’s] really, really tricky to be comfortable with the car with the bumps,” Giovinazzi said. “But it’s like this and we need to adjust a little bit.”

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Author information

RJ O'Connell
Motorsport has been a lifelong interest for RJ, both virtual and ‘in the carbon’, since childhood. RJ picked up motorsports writing as a hobby...
Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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One comment on “Bumps at COTA don’t affect F1 cars like Moto GP bikes, says circuit chairman”

  1. F1 cars produce a lot more DF & are considerably heavier, though.

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